There is some preliminary indication, that certain supplements, including L-arginine, may slightly improve your weight-loss results when used in conjunction with a reduced-calorie diet and exercise.
L-arginine is popularly consumed by athletes for building muscle mass, as it is known to elevate nitric oxide activity in the body.
Nitric oxide on its own, is a gas that carries out various biological functions such as improving blood flow, aiding in the functioning of the nervous system, and serving as a neurotransmitter.
Here is what arginine does in our body:
- It helps kidneys in excretion.
- Improves blood flow through the activation of nitric oxide.
- Reduces repair time of damaged tissues and wounds.
- Increases growth hormone output.
- Boosts immune defenses, and
- Enhances antioxidant properties of the body.
As a result of all these functions, Arginine is used in the treatment of heart disease, cholesterol, and blood pressure.
It is also used to treat sexual dysfunction, male and female infertility, and to reduce insulin resistance in diabetes.
L-Arginine and Weight Loss
L-arginine is an amino acid, which is one of the building blocks for proteins in the body.
Thus, it may help to prioritize muscle-building over fat deposits and limit weight and fat gains due to a high-fat diet.
This is according to an animal study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 2009.
A review article published in 2010 came to a similar conclusion, noting that L-arginine may help make the body more likely to burn fat and minimize the addition of new body fat in both people and animals, helping to encourage weight loss.
The mechanisms are not totally clear, and further research is necessary to verify these results and determine the best dosage for those looking to improve their weight-loss results.
Clinical trials prove that arginine supplementation increases muscle mass and muscle strength in the elderly and post-menopausal women.
Combining arginine and ornithine supplements is effective in increasing muscle mass and exercise performance.
Also, in one randomized, placebo-controlled study of obese males suffering from type II diabetes, L-arginine was combined with exercise and a calorie-restricted diet.
It was observed that there was increased overall weight and fat loss compared to a calorie-restricted diet and exercise alone.
L-Arginine Helps Get Rid of Stubborn Belly Fat
One of the best benefits associated with arginine supplementation is that it effectively targets belly fat and gets rid of it.
In a clinical trial assessing the efficacy of arginine supplementation on abdominal fat in 20 obese individuals, who were given 3g of the supplement every day for 12 weeks.
The result showed that waist circumference decreased by 4 cm on an average and weight reduction of around 3kg was observed.
Also on statistical grounds, the results greatly suggested that this effect was due to arginine supplements only, and no side effects were recorded.
L-Arginine and Growth Hormone
L-Arginine has been seen to increase human growth hormone (HGH) levels, but only at very high dosages.
A University in Michigan notes that L-arginine has been observed in increase HGH levels when taken at dosages of 250 mg per 2.2 lbs. of body weight.
Boosting your HGH levels is effective for growing muscles and losing fat, and it also helps improve your energy levels, well-being, and cognitive abilities.
The growth hormone is not a well-understood hormone and taking synthetic versions of it is still controversial.
Arginine is one of the natural ways one can boost growth hormone secretion.
There is a medical opinion that oral supplementation of arginine increases HGH levels by about 100 percent.
However, you should note that l-arginine inhibits the growth of HGH when combined with exercise.
Exercise can boost HGH levels up to 500 percent, while it only increases by 200 percent when combined with l-arginine.
This study suggests that you should avoid the arginine in your pre-workout supplementation for bodybuilding, and use it in exercise recovery or for cardiovascular workouts.
The Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates oral L-arginine supplement as “Possibly Safe” for short-term use.
Studies lasting up to 3 months have reported only minor side effects like bloating and loose stools. However, the long-term effects of oral L-arginine supplementation are yet to be known.
Potential Contraindications and Side Effects of L-Arginine
Supplementing with L-arginine can cause side effects, including diarrhea, bloating, low blood pressure, a worsening of asthma symptoms, and pain in the abdomen.
They may also interact with medications used for high cholesterol and high blood pressure as well as blood clotting medications, like nitrates, Viagra, diuretics, and others.
People with kidney disease, asthma, or herpes or those who have recently had a heart attack shouldn’t take L-arginine, as it may increase the risk for high potassium levels in people with kidney or liver problems.
Always check with your doctor to see if supplements incorporating L-arginine are safe for you.