If you’ve been looking for an inexpensive and all-natural health boost, then look no further than l-arginine.
L-arginine is a non-essential amino acid: most of the time your body is able to produce enough of the substance by itself, without diet or supplementation.
However, there have been dozens of studies performed over a variety of fields that conclude getting extra l-arginine (or “Arg” as it’s called in the field) can have multiple benefits for your body.
The Top 5 L-Arginine Benefits
1. Promotes muscle development and tone
You probably already know that in order to increase muscle mass and tone, it’s best to take a protein supplement shortly after exercise. One of the main reasons for this is that protein contains l-arginine.
L-arginine benefits muscles in two ways. First, arginine is a “precursor,” or building block, for many other essential substances in the body like creatine and nitric oxide. With an adequate supply of arginine, your body can produce a good supply of creatine, naturally.
You may recognize creatine as a body building supplement, but when taken in moderate amounts, it has been shown to improve the maximum force a muscle can produce. This increases muscle mass over time while training.
Second, l-arginine decreases recovery time and helps wounds heal faster. When you train with weights, you’re essentially tearing muscle, and when it heals, it is stronger. With an adequate supply of arginine, you’ll find that your recovery time after hard exercise is much shorter.
2. Helps high blood pressure
Once in your bloodstream, l-arginine is converted into nitric oxide (NO), a powerful neurotransmitter that increases blood circulation and helps blood vessels relax. It also acts as a vasodilator, helping treat the symptoms of high blood pressure.
In an analysis of 11 studies on the effects of arginine on blood pressure, it was concluded that arginine can significantly lower systolic blood pressure by 5.39 mm/Hg and diastolic by 2.66 mm/Hg.
It can also help treat other conditions associated with poor heart function or low blood circulation, like atherosclerosis (clogging of the arteries), angina, heart disease and heart failure.
3. Boosts male sexual health
L-arginine benefits male sexual health in a variety of ways. The amino acid’s ability to enhance protein creation also increases sperm production. The vasodilation properties increase blood flow, and may help treat erectile dysfunction.
A 2003 study published in the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy studied the effects 1.7 grams of l-arginine combined with 40mg of Pycnogenol–an extract from pine tree bark which increases nitric oxide function–in men between 25 and 45 years old. Remarkably, by the end of the 3-month study, 92.5% of the men had their sexual ability restored.
4. Heals damaged liver cells
A French study published in the journal Therapie showed that the salt of l-arginine has beneficial effects on patients with alcoholic hepatitis and advanced liver cirrhosis.
5. Stimulates growth hormone secretion
You’ve probably heard all the rage about human growth hormone… how it can make you lose weight, increase your energy, and reverse the signs of aging. You may know that levels of HGH drastically drop off after about age 20. L-arginine can help.
L-arginine’s effect on human growth hormone secretion was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism in 1988. Arg inhibits the production of somatostatin, or the growth hormone-inhibiting hormone (GHIH). So, by countering the effects of somatostatin, l-arginine indirectly allows more HGH to be secreted.
This increase in HGH also allows l-arginine to boost immune function.
L-Arginine Side Effects and Contraindications
As is true with most supplements, there may be some side effects for certain people.
- If you have asthma, you should not accidentally inhale an l-arginine supplement. It could increase lung inflammation and may worsen asthma.
- If you have high blood pressure, you should consult your doctor before supplementing with l-arginine. Its vasodilation properties may interfere with high blood pressure medications. However, l-arginine could be a good substitute or complement to a lower dosage of medication.
- Other minor side effects can include bloating, diarrhea, abdominal discomfort, and gout.
While there is no current suggested daily intake established, l-arginine is considered highly safe. Therapeutic dosages as high as 400mg to 6,000mg are considered safe.
3 Ways to Enjoy L-Arginine Benefits Now
Even though l-arginine is a non-essential amino acid, you can see from the health benefits listed above that it’s worth ensuring you get enough of it. Fortunately, l-arginine is readily available in many foods and forms:
1. Animal proteins
Foods from animals, including meats and products, all contain l-arginine. This includes beef, pork, poultry, and seafood, as well as dairy products like cheese and yogurt.
2. Plant sources
Vegetarian? No problem. You can still get all these l-arginine benefits in the foods you eat every day. Plant sources of l-arginine include nuts, oatmeal, chick peas, cooked soybeans and wheat. Chocolate, raisins and brown rice are also good sources.
As is true with supplements, some are better than others. L-arginine supplements are no different. A good rule of thumb is to find a supplement that is potent, bioavailable and gets into the bloodstream fast.
You can find the benefits of l-arginine along with six more important HGH precursors in our top-selling ThinMistâ„¢ supplement. Delivered as a potent, bioavailable oral spray, the amino acids are delivered to your bloodstream in a remarkable 23 seconds.
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Alba-Roth, J. Arginine stimulates growth hormone secretion by suppressing endogenous somatostatin secretion. Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism. 1988 Dec;67(6):1186-9.
Arginine: Dosing. Mayo Clinic. 1 Oct. 2011.
Berg, JM. Biochemistry. New York: W.H. Freeman; 2002. Section 24.4.
Dong, JY. Effect of oral l-arginine supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. American Heart Journal. 2011 Dec;162(6):959-65.
Maddox, T. Arginine: Health Benefits and Side Effects. WebMD. 29 Jun. 2012.
Stanislavov, R. Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and l-arginine. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy. 2003 May/Jun;29(3):207-13.
Tissot-Favre, A. Therapeutic effects of arginine malate in alcoholic cirrhosis. Therapie. 1970 May-June;25(3):629-33.