L-Arginine’s Role in the Body
What you will learn...
L-arginine is a chemical building block known as amino acid. It is mostly obtained from the diet and is necessary for the body to make proteins.
L-arginine is naturally found in red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. However, it can also be made in a laboratory and used as drugs.
Uses or Roles of L-Arginine
L-arginine is used for heart and blood vessel conditions. Such conditions include congestive heart failure, chest pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart attack and heart surgery, recovery after a heart transplant, and coronary artery disease.
L-arginine is also used for persistent pain in the legs due to blocked arteries, decreased mental capacity in the elderly, erectile dysfunction (ED), altitude sickness, nitrate tolerance, diabetes and diabetic nerve pain, kidney toxicity and disease, tuberculosis, critical illness, head and neck cancer, obesity, ovary disease, pressure ulcers, respiratory infections, sickle cell disease, stress, and infertility.
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Reasons Why People Use L-Arginine
Some other groups of people use L-arginine for preventing the common cold, improving kidney function, checking high blood pressure during pregnancy and improving athletic performance.
It is still used in boosting the immune system and preventing inflammation and tissue death of the digestive tract in premature infants.
Also used in preventing slowing of growth of the baby within the uterus.
L-arginine can also be used in combination with a number of over-the-counter and prescription medications for various health conditions. It is used along with ibuprofen for migraine headaches, and with conventional chemotherapy drugs for treating breast cancer.
It is combined with other amino acids for treating weight loss in people with AIDS, and with fish oil and other supplements for reducing infections, improving wound healing, and shortening recovery time following a surgery.
Some people apply L-arginine to the skin to speed wound healing, and for increasing blood flow to cold hands and feet, especially in people with diabetes.
It has also been used as a cream for sexual problems in both men and women.
L-Arginine Supplements Safety
L-arginine is generally well tolerated for short-term use when taken orally and used as directed. Dosages of L-arginine vary and dosage guidelines are yet to be established.
If you have been diagnosed with a medical condition or are taking prescription or over-the-counter medications, then it is important to check with a physician before taking L-arginine or other amino acids.
L-arginine supplementation may lead to interactions with different medications, and dosage guidelines may differ based on manufacturer and brand, as well as age, weight and overall health and wellness of individuals.
Dosage and Interactions
Dosages between 6 and 20 g have been used daily by bodybuilders, and those wishing to increase physical performance, muscular endurance and stamina.
Between 3 and 6 g of L-arginine has been used for chest pain caused by coronary artery disease, and between 6 and 20 g of L-arginine has been taken daily for congestive heart failure.
Always speak with a specialist or family physician before using L-arginine for any medical condition.
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use this supplement because its safety for this group of people has not been established.
L-arginine supplements may interact and interfere with the efficacy of medications for hypertension, nitrates, or erectile dysfunction medications.
Avoid using L-arginine in cases involving a recent heart attack, allergies, asthma, low blood pressure and herpes attack.
Be sure to speak with your doctor before supplementing with L-arginine to understand what it does and to help prevent severe side effects.
In summary, a concise rundown of the roles and the benefits of L-arginine is shown below:
- L-arginine helps reduce blood pressure and improve blood flow
- L-arginine supplementation helps reduce risk of heart disease
- L-arginine supplementation helps reduce risk of type 2 diabetes
- L-arginine works as an antioxidant in type 2 diabetic patients
- L-arginine helps in treating diabetes
- L-arginine works to reduce fat mass and triglycerides in diabetics
- L-arginine helps increase immune response
- L-arginine and l-lysine supplementations help reduce anxiety
- L-arginine supplementation increases stamina
- L-arginine improves wound healing
- L-arginine may be important in maintaining memory during aging
- L-arginine supplementation helps increase fertility
- L-arginine supplementation fights aging
Possible Negative Effects of L-Arginine Supplementation:
- Too much l-arginine may encourage an autoimmune response
- L-arginine can act as a laxative when taken on an empty stomach