If you want to stay healthy through the aging process, you should consume more arginine. Likewise, if you are working on muscle mass or concerned about fertility or reproductive health, L-arginine might be a good supplement to look at. Fortunately, this organic protein component may be found in a variety of foods and supplement options. Taking a look at how you can up your intake of L-arginine will be good for your health in the long run. Here are some of the health advantages arginine is credited with and some information on supplementing your diet with it to promote optimal health.
What is L-arginine?
L-Arginine is a chemical that occurs in some plants and animals, including humans. L-Arginine is a nitrogenous base similar to the amino acid arginine, which is an important component of several bodily functions. L-Arginine is made from citrulline via the kidneys. L-Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that when certain circumstances exist such as stress, the body’s ability to make enough L-arginine falls short and it must be obtained through food sources.
L-arginine has antioxidant properties that may help to protect against oxidative stress, which is a risk factor in cell damage and several health problems. L-arginine is also used in numerous metabolic pathways to generate active components such as the amino acids creatine and glutamate as well as nitric oxide, which are all molecules involved in various metabolic processes. Nitric oxide synthases (NOSs) convert arginine into nitric oxide, which can be a neurotransmitter in the brain, an immune system messenger, and a vasodilator for cardiovascular vessel integrity.
What foods contain arginine?
L-arginine is present in numerous protein-rich meals and dietary supplements. Arginine is found in the following foods:
Animal Proteins (meats)
Certain plant proteins (peanuts, soy, rice)
Nuts & Seeds
Contrary to popular belief as a general rule grains and dairy (milk, cheese) do not contain a high level of arginine.
Did you know that the average North American diet includes about five grams of L-arginine each day, accounting for only 5 to 7 percent of the total daily amino acid intake?
Some benefits of L-arginine
Approximately 60 percent of the arginine consumed is metabolized by the gastrointestinal tract, with only 40% circulating throughout the body. As a result, L-arginine supplements are frequently required to boost levels in the body. There is no established daily requirement for L-arginine as a conditionally essential amino acid. Scientific research has looked at the effects of L-arginine supplementation, which include such health advantages as increasing blood flow and improving circulation (artery dilation).
L-arginine and Aging
Aging is a complex process that involves the loss of numerous bodily processes. L-arginine may help you live longer and healthier as you get older, owing to its wide range of physiological consequences. Arginine, for example, has been shown to stimulate the thymus and boost the production of certain Immune cells, which can help your immune function. Furthermore, l-arginine has been found to improve cognitive performance in dementia patients.
L-arginine and Blood Pressure
Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid found in numerous species of plants and animals, where it’s used to make nitric oxide, a signaling molecule that helps dilate blood vessels and lower vascular resistance. A meta-study revealed that arginine supplements with an average daily dose of 9 g over a four-week period were linked to a 5.39 mmHg drop in systolic pressure and 2.66 mmHg fall in diastolic pressure, which was comparable to the benefits of certain dietary and exercise programs.
L-arginine and Exercise
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of male soccer players, a 45-day L-arginine supplementation was linked to improved sport performance when compared to a placebo. Other studies have shown that L-arginine administration for purposes of supporting a weight lifting exercise program can boost muscle mass and strength. L-arginine may enhance exercise performance by increasing growth hormone output as well as creatine and nitric oxide production.
L-arginine and Glucose Metabolism
L-arginine supplementation improved insulin secretion, oxidative stress, and diabetes incidence in individuals with impaired glucose tolerance over an 18-month period of time. These findings indicate that L-arginine supplementation may delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.
L-arginine and Fertility
Arginine may help support female fertility by increasing blood flow in the endometrium (uterus lining). However, there was no link between L-arginine and pregnancy rate in arginine trials for infertile women. Arginine has been found to improve sperm motility and count in males suffering from infertility, which is attributed to increased nitric oxide production.
L-arginine and Lipid Profile
Cardiovascular disease is the biggest cause of death worldwide. Having dyslipidemia, which is an abnormal blood lipid profile characterized by low levels of HDL cholesterol and high levels of triglycerides, is a major risk factor for heart disease. According to a systematic review and meta-analysis of L-arginine supplementation on blood lipids, this amino acid may significantly lower triglyceride concentrations with enough evidence to suggest changes in cholesterol levels. Additional controlled trials in people with dyslipidemia are needed to help define L-arginine doses.
L-arginine and Mood
Low levels of arginine have been linked to an increased risk of major depressive illness. Low arginine levels might limit nitric oxide formation and increase oxidative stress in the brain, according to researchers. However, intervention trials are required to see whether arginine supplementation helps people with depression.
L-arginine and Wound Healing
L-arginine has the ability to increase collagen, a structural protein, in the injured areas. A meta-analysis of clinical trials evaluated the influence of L-arginine supplementation on wound healing in elders taking oral nutrition supplements (a combination of macronutrients and micronutrients). When compared to oral nutrition supplementation alone, L-arginine combined with nutritional supplement had a beneficial effect on wound healing and wound size reduction.
What are side effects of L-arginine?
L-arginine is a nonessential amino acid that has been used for decades. Supplemental doses of three to eight grams per day are typically considered safe. L-arginine side effects such as stomach discomfort, nausea, and diarrhea have been observed with higher than nine gram supplementary L-arginine intake on a daily basis. Long-term high dose L-arginine supplementation can also result in electrolyte imbalances in the blood. Dividing your doses throughout the day may help reduce the risk of these side effects of l-arginine.
The bottom line on L-arginine
L-Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that can be obtained from food or supplements. Arginine supplementation has been shown to help with a number of illnesses, including heart disease, neurodegenerative diseases, and metabolism problems. If you’re considering arginine supplementation as a patient, please consult your integrative healthcare practitioner for personalized advice.