Arginine is a type of amino acid that has a variety of vital functions in the body. Nitric oxide and immunity are just two examples of how arginine enhances blood flow and circulation. Read on to learn whether arginine is important to your health and, if so, whether you should be taking supplements.
What Is L-Arginine And How Does It Work?
L-arginine is a necessary but conditionally important amino acid that performs a variety of duties in the body. Because healthy persons can obtain adequate amounts from their diet and synthesize it via their kidneys, it is considered conditionally essential.
Almost every protein-containing food contains arginine, with the exception of gelatin. Fish and especially walnuts are high in L-arginine, which accounts for up to 15% of the amino acids. L-Arginine can also be manufactured from citrulline via proximal tubule cells in the kidneys.
L-arginine is required for the synthesis of creatine and ornithine, as well as ammonia metabolism into less harmful urea. A minor amount is utilized to produce nitric oxide (NO), a substance that dilates blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and promotes cardiovascular health.
Supplemental L-arginine is primarily used to produce nitric oxide through the conversion of this amino acid. Nitric oxide helps blood vessels relax and dilate, promoting cardiovascular health.
Arginine is Likely Effective for:
The body’s cells create nitric oxide to lower blood pressure and stimulate blood flow. It activates and relaxes blood vessels, allowing them to avoid clogging. Supplemental L-arginine, an amino acid that is the precursor for this transformation, may be useful.
L-arginine promotes nitric oxide synthesis and inhibits its breakdown. L-arginine supplementation may help to reduce blood pressure. This lowers the chances of developing hypertension and stroke.
L-arginine supplements helped to lower blood pressure in several clinical trials, as summarized in 2 meta-analyses of research on people with high blood pressure and pregnant women.
Another possible way arginine benefits may help is with erectile dysfunction, as seen in a clinical study of 30 men.
Although L-arginine tablets are not approved by the FDA, there is evidence that they can improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure, suggesting that they may help prevent heart disease. If you’re considering it as a supplementary treatment, talk to your doctor about whether it might benefit you.
Possibly Effective for:
Reducing Diabetes Risk and Complications
In a study on 28 individuals with diabetes, L-arginine levels were lower and metabolic pathways of this amino acid were disrupted. Another research on 40 people with type 2 diabetes found that they generated less insulin in response to both sugar and L-arginine.
In a long-term follow-up of 144 people with metabolic syndrome, supplementing with L-arginine was linked to a decreased chance of developing type 2 diabetes.
In rats, L-arginine administration stimulated the production of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.
Another way Arginine benefits us is that supplementation can help decrease oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients by producing nitric oxide and boosting antioxidant enzymes such as SOD, according to three clinical trials on over 100 participants. This may assist prevent diabetic problems.
Insulin resistance prevents the formation of nitric oxide from L-arginine in people with type 2 diabetes, raising their risk of heart disease. In four clinical trials on 50 diabetics, L-arginine supplementation improved blood vessel function and reduced oxidative damage, resulting in enhanced blood flow and a lower risk of heart disease.
L-Arginine supplementation decreased fat mass and blood triglyceride levels in diabetic rats by promoting fatty acid breakdown in the liver.
According to the limited evidence, arginine benefits may include helping to prevent type 2 diabetes and its complications (particularly heart disease). If you have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of developing it, you may talk to your doctor about whether taking L-arginine supplements might be beneficial for you. It’s also critical not to substitute L-arginine for what your doctor recommends or instructs you to take (e.g., other medications).
More studies are needed to determine the benefits of using this amino acid for diabetes prevention and/or treatment.
Boosting Immune System Functionality
Nitric oxide promotes the immune system’s response to and destruction of pathogens. L-Arginine supplementation may improve immunity, especially in individuals with a weakened immune system, by increasing production.
Another one of Arginines Benefits (alone or in combination with RNA and omega 3 fatty acids) has been shown to have immunomodulating effects in several studies before and after surgical treatments. L-arginine boosted immune cell counts, altered cytokine levels, and improved patient survival and decreased complications after surgeries.
In 4 clinical trials on 130 critically injured or burned patients, infused formulas with L-arginine improved immune response, decreased infections, and shortened ICU stay.
In two studies, arginine benefits Included improved immune function (lymphocyte activity and response, neutrophil migration to infection sites, and antibody levels) in 59 elderly individuals. Natural killer lymphocytes and antibodies were increased in people with recurrent infections.
L-arginine increased lymphocyte production in the only clinical trial done on healthy, non-elderly people (36 non-smoking volunteers).
Again, there’s little data to suggest that L-arginine might aid immune function recovery in those who have just undergone surgery or a significant injury. If L-arginine is used as an additional component of your treatment program, you may ask your doctor if it would be useful. Learn more about the side effects of L-arginine.
To Sum It Up:
- Arginine benefits us in many ways.
- Arginine can be used to treat diabetes, heart disease, support the immune system and prevent some cancers.
- Arginine is particularly helpful in supporting cardiovascular function, decreasing insulin resistance (preventing type 2 diabetes) and preventing or treating metabolic syndrome.
- Arginine may be able to help with erectile dysfunction because it increases nitric oxide production in the body, which relaxes blood vessels allowing them to widen and improve blood flow throughout your body.
- Arginine also boosts growth hormone levels (a sort of fat loss hormone) when taken before bedtime on an empty stomach; this makes it useful for weight reduction purposes as well.
- Arginines ability to decrease inflammation helps speed up healing time after injuries by preventing swelling and promoting tissue repair.
- Arginine can be taken orally, topically or inhaled for many of its benefits.
- Arginine is well tolerated and widely researched for its multiple benefits.
- Arginine is a safe nutrient that can be taken by almost anyone at any time of the day.