Arginine: Definition and Science-Based Benefits

Arginine is a natural amino acid. Arginine occurrence in mammalian protein was discovered by Hedin in 1895. We will discuss Arginine Definition and Science-Based Benefits in this article.

What is Arginine

Arginine is an amino acid, a building block of protein. It is traditionally considered a non-essential amino acid; however, it can be conditionally essential, meaning that few individuals don’t produce it or its requirement increases in certain conditions.

Did you know?

Amino acids can occur in L- and D-forms, but only L-forms are manufactured in cells and incorporated into proteins.

Science-Based Benefits of Arginine

Arginine is involved in creatine formation and in the removal of ammonia from the body. Arginine is a crucial part of the nitric oxide pathway and can have an influence on the cardiovascular system through nitric oxide production. It also helps fuel muscle cells and is involved in muscle protein synthesis.

Arginine Chemical Structure

May help in Erectile Dysfunction

Being a precursor of nitric oxide, it has been shown to have benefits in cases of Erectile Dysfunction. Nitric oxide is a molecule in the body that helps maintain blood vessel tone. This relaxes the muscle surrounding the blood vessels supplying the penis. Thus, there is an improvement in the blood flow towards the penis and it helps maintain proper erectile function.

This benefit has also been studied by the researchers. One such study measured the levels of L-Arginine and L-Citrulline in people with a similar kind of problem. It was observed that a group of men with erectile dysfunction had lower levels of amino acids as compared to the non-ED group. (Barassi et. al, 2017)

Thus, because of its ability to help maintain blood vessel tone, arginine is frequently included as an ingredient in men’s and women’s sexual health supplements.

L-Arginine enhances Energy Performance

Nitric oxide supports blood flow to skeletal muscles, which is why it is often talked about in relation to pre-workout supplements. When nitric oxide is created by the body, blood vessels expand, allowing more oxygen and nutrient-rich blood to surge to cells. Increased blood flow to muscles may support recovery by delivering nutrients to muscles.

L-Arginine may help lower the Blood Pressure

Few of the studies have shown the beneficial effect of L-arginine supplementation on people suffering from high blood pressure. Studies have shown that exogenous L-arginine can help lower systolic and diastolic pressure when given to healthy people with high BP problem. (Mohamed Z., 2010)

L-Arginine involved in removing Toxic Ammonia

Being a natural amino acid, L-arginine is involved in many metabolic pathways within the human body. It not only serves as a precursor for protein, but also urea (a waste product), olyamines, proline, glutamate, creatine, and agmatine. As part of this, l-arginine plays an essential component of the urea cycle, the only pathway in humans that allows the elimination of toxic ammonia from the body.

L-Arginine and Insulin Sensitivity

High Blood Sugar or Type-2 Diabetes is also connected with low levels of L-Arginine in your body. Evidence suggests that arginine supplementation may be an effective way to improve endothelial function in individuals with diabetes mellitus(DM). A double-blind trial found oral arginine supplementation (3 g three time/day, 1 month) significantly improved, but did not completely normalize blood sugar levels. (Piatti PM, 2001)

How safe is it to consume L-Arginine?

It is considered to be safe for human consumption. There is no recommended dosage to date, but it depends on various factors like age, gender, activity, etc. Always consider asking your doctor/dietician before taking any supplements.

As per studies, the dose of L-arginine for Erectile Dysfunction has been between 1 – 5 gms per day, whereas L-arginine dosage for the high blood pressure may vary from 6 – 30 gms for 2 to 24 weeks.

Being an amino acid, it is recommended to consume L-Arginine between meals. Always speak to your doctor/dietician to get personalized advice.

References:

  • Natural Standard. Natural Standard Herb & Supplement Guide – E-Book An Evidence-Based Reference. St Louis: Elsevier Health Sciences; 2016.
  • Barassi A, Corsi romanelli MM, Pezzilli R, et al. Levels of l-arginine and l-citrulline in patients with erectile dysfunction of different etiology. Andrology. 2017;5(2):256-261.
  • M. Piatti, L.D. Monti, G. Valsecchi, F. Magni, E. Setola, F. Marchesi, et al.Long-term oral l-arginine administration improves peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetes Care, 24 (5) (2001), pp. 875-880.
  • Gad, Mohamed. (2010). Anti-aging effects of L-arginine. Journal of Advanced Research. 1. 169-177.
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