What is L-arginine?
Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that helps the body build a protein. As you know, protein is the building material for all tissues. This amino acid is produced by the body itself from the resulting food, but can not always fully satisfy its needs. Moreover, after 35 years of age, the body begins to produce a lesser amount of this substance.
Therefore, it is advisable to consider the possibility of obtaining arginine through additives. It is important to choose the best L-arginine supplements to achieve the best result. In addition, during stress or during illness, the need for this amino acid increases. In this case, taking L-arginine supplements will be a useful step and may help.
What does arginine do?
Arginine is essential for the body to function properly as it interacts with other amino acids. For example, with valine, glutamine, forming compounds that most beneficially affect the appearance and general well-being. Its deficiency leads to the development of various pathological processes. This amino acid plays a key role in the creation of protein and serves as a building material for all organs of the body.
Arginine has many useful properties. It is used both for prevention and in the complex treatment of various diseases, such as viral hepatitis, cholecystitis, atherosclerosis, arthritis. This substance plays a key role in the synthesis of many proteins (ornithine, creatine) and is the main source of production of NO (nitric oxide) – a neurotransmitter and a powerful vasodilating factor.
This was proved by studies conducted in 2007. The results show that arginine, due to its vasodilating effect, improves the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Currently, it is often used in the treatment of diseases of the circulatory system and the cardiovascular system.
Helps to lose weight
Arginine-based supplements help burn fat. A double-blind study conducted among obese persons of both sexes aged 30 to 64 years, suffering from type 2 diabetes. Subjects took part in a 21-day weight loss program that included a low-calorie diet and exercise. After that, they were divided into two groups, one of which received arginine, and the other a placebo.
The study showed the following results. In the experimental group, a more accelerated weight loss and a decrease in waist volume were observed. An improved response to oxidative stress was also noted. For this reason, this amino acid is used in diabetes because it stimulates the production of insulin and increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin.
Beneficial effects for athletes
Taking L-arginine supplements is very popular among athletes due to the ability of nitric oxide to relax arteries. Nitric oxide relaxes the arteries and, therefore, more blood enters the muscles and therefore more nutrients can enter the muscles. The greatest effect of increasing muscle mass is achieved when used in combination with testosterone. The ability of arginine to cleanse the body of toxins accumulated in the body as a result of protein metabolism makes it an extremely useful supplement.
Arginine also enhances blood flow, prevents and to some extent reduces the manifestations of atherosclerosis. Some scientific studies have shown its ability to enhance cerebral circulation. In 2004, scientists conducted a study of elderly patients aged 63 years and over with risk factors for cardiovascular disease. As a result, it was found that after injections of L-arginine, the average cerebral blood flow velocity in all participants increased.
Fights the Effects of Aging
Scientists nowadays are researching the effects of amino acids on aging. L-arginine provides the production of the sex hormone testosterone, the hormone-insulin-like growth factor and effecting the regeneration of body tissue growth hormone. With the onset of old age, the generation of these hormones by the organs of the body decreases. This makes it clear that eating foods that contain this amino acid has a positive effect on rejuvenation – skin condition improves, unnecessary fat is burned, muscles grow, and sexual desire increases.
It was found that L-arginine has an outstanding ability to capture free radicals, due to its effect on the enzyme superoxide dismutase (SOD) and other antioxidant mechanisms. Often it is used in combination with vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids, which can slow down the aging process and prevent many chronic diseases.
For women’s health
For women, arginine is an indispensable supplement for PMS. It improves mood, improves performance and helps to get out of depression. An amino acid for women is important in that, by breaking down fats, it helps to lose weight and improves implantation. Therefore, often with diets, it is prescribed as a means for losing weight. It also promotes skin rejuvenation due to enhanced collagen synthesis. Based on it, arginine gel, peeling, shampoos, etc.
For men’s health
In many cases, L-arginine supplements can be considered as an acceptable alternative to drugs for ED and to improve spermatogenesis. The property of this amino acid to naturally expand blood vessels by releasing nitric oxide into the blood is used to eliminate male potency problems.
L-arginine, used for potency, improves blood flow in the genitals, as well as in other parts of the body. As you know, sperm consists of protein, so its quality improves. In one study, young men took 500 mg of arginine per day. As a result, a noticeable increase in sperm count and motility was noted in their semen.
In addition to the above beneficial properties, additional arginine also enhances immunity, promotes the rapid healing of wounds, and excretes decay products in the urine. This amino acid is also responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses and their activity.
What foods contain arginine?
A sufficient amount of arginine can be obtained from food. Its highest concentration is observed in chicken breast and turkey, fish, eggs, red meat (beef) and dairy products.
For those who don’t eat meat, lentils, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, cottage cheese, soybeans, nuts, and pumpkin seeds are recommended.
It is worth noting that after heat treatment, the level of amino acids in food decreases. In order for arginine to enter the body in sufficient quantities, such products must be consumed in large quantities. For example, you need to consume six eggs per day or 350 grams of pork. It is not always possible to follow such a nutrition plan. The menu, of course, needs to be diversified. This is especially true for athletes who adhere to sports nutrition. It is advisable for them to include special supplements in the diet in the form of pure arginine, or in combination with other amino acids.
In addition to the above beneficial properties, Arginine supplements also enhance immunity, promotes the rapid healing of wounds, and excretes decay products in the urine. This amino acid is also responsible for the transmission of nerve impulses and their activity. It is recommended to take supplements before bedtime for a deeper night’s sleep and activation of the synthesis and regulation of growth hormone.
Since arginine is a natural substance that the body is able to produce on its own, then it cannot harm through food intake. However, when it comes to supplements, there are some contraindications. It is not recommended to take it:
- Pregnant women and nursing mothers;
- Persons with individual intolerance to the drug;
- Persons suffering from hypotension;
- Children in the period of active growth.
Arginine is not fully understood by science, so on the Internet, you can find many different opinions about the benefits and harms of this amino acid. In any case, before you start taking L-arginine supplements, consult your doctor. Exceeding the dose can lead to negative consequences and cause nausea, abdominal pain, weakness, and malaise, lowering blood pressure. In rare cases, allergic reactions are possible. With prolonged use of the supplement in high doses, the following can be observed:
- Tissue densification;
- Cartilage and joint deformation;
- Weakened immunity;
- Disruption of the hormonal background.