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L-Arginine Benefits, Uses, Side Effects and Functions

Discover the Function, Sources and Benefits of the Health Supplement Ingredient L-Arginine, or 2-amino-5-(diaminomethylidene amino)pentanoic acid

L-arginine, also known by the chemical name 2-amino-5-(diaminomethylidene amino)pentanoic acid, is an amino acid. Arginine is normally produced by the body and is found in protein-rich foods. L-arginine is also available in natural dietary supplements, including health and bodybuilding supplements such as Somatropinne HGH and CytoSport Whey Protein.

Functions of L-Arginine

The human body synthesizes L-arginine into nitric oxide, which serves as a vasodilator – meaning that it helps widen blood vessels to improve blood flow. It also triggers the release of human growth hormone (HGH) and insulin, and is used by the body to make proteins.

Sources of L-Arginine

Common dietary sources of L-arginine are red meat, fish, chicken and dairy. Other sources include nuts and seeds (almonds, peanuts, cashews, pecans, walnuts, Brazil nuts, filberts, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds); grains and cereals (corn, oats, buckwheat, brown rice and barley); coconut; raisins; chocolate; and gelatin. L-arginine can also be taken orally as part of a natural dietary supplement.

L-Arginine Benefits and Uses

Because L-arginine functions as a vasodilator, it is often used to treat such conditions as heart disease, congestive heart failure, chest pain, clogged arteries, peripheral vascular disease, high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction, as well as headaches caused by swollen blood vessels. Due to its role in stimulating the production of proteins, L-arginine may help promote wound healing, prevent illness-related tissue degeneration, boost sperm production, support the immune system, and enhance bodybuilding and athletic performance.

Side Effects of L-Arginine and Potential Interactions

Oral L-arginine supplements are generally considered safe for most adults when taken in doses similar to the levels normally found in food. Individuals with arginine allergies or sensitivity might experience itching, rashes or shortness of breath. Since L-arginine increases blood flow and may reduce blood pressure, it can interact with nitrates, antihypertensive drugs and sildenafil; accordingly, patients with low blood pressure or bleeding disorders, those who have had a recent heart attack or surgery, and men taking erectile dysfunction medication should exercise caution when taking L-arginine supplements. More detailed safety information on L-arginine side effects and interactions can be found on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) MedlinePlus website. As with any medication or health supplement, it is best to consult your physician before taking L-arginine.

L-Arginine Research and Studies

Numerous studies have been conducted concerning the use and benefits of L-arginine. For example, in a report published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, researchers found that arginine supplements increase growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 serum levels in strength-trained athletes following heavy-resistance exercise. In the Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics, another group of researchers asserted that L-arginine has been shown to play a role “in numerous physiological processes including nitrogen detoxification, immunocompetence, growth hormone (GH) secretion and insulin secretion” and determined that it can improve vascular function in some patients. For additional research related to L-arginine, refer to the PubMed site sponsored by the NIH.

HGH.com Supplements With L-Arginine

Those seeking to harness the positive effects of L-arginine can find this amino acid in several natural health and bodybuilding supplements from HGH.com:

Somatropinne HGH – In addition to a proprietary blend of fruit, plant, seed and tuber extracts, Somatropinne HGH contains 10mg of L-arginine per serving. As an over-the-counter human growth hormone (HGH) supplement, Somatropinne can help athletes build lean muscle. It also provides weight-loss and anti-aging benefits, and is recommended for those who wish to enhance their biceps, pectorals, abdominals and obliques.

CytoSport Vanilla Whey Protein – Each serving of CytoSport Vanilla Whey contains many beneficial ingredients, including 3g of L-arginine. This low-fat, low-lactose powder mixes easily and is biologically complete, providing the high-quality protein needed to develop tight, toned muscle. It also helps improve recovery from intense training and workouts.

Multi-Pro Chocolate Whey Protein – One scoop of Multi-Pro Chocolate Whey provides 24 grams of protein, including 477mg of L-arginine. It is fortified with vitamins and minerals to provide a complete protein supplement for individuals looking to lose weight or gain muscle.


References (Function, Sources, Benefits/Uses and Side Effects/Interactions):

Mayo Clinic and The National Standard Research Collaboration. “Drugs and Supplements: Arginine”; National Standard Patient Monograph; last updated November 1, 2013. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/arginine/background/hrb-20058733>

U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. “L-arginine”; MedlinePlus website; last reviewed March 21, 2012. <http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/875.html>

Research Sources:

Zając, Adam; Poprzęcki, Stanisław; et al. “Arginine and Ornithine Supplementation Increases Growth Hormone and Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 Serum Levels After Heavy-Resistance Exercise in Strength-Trained Athletes”; Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research; April 2010. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20300016>

Heffernan, Kevin S.; Fahs, Christopher A.; et al. “Review Article: L-Arginine as a Nutritional Prophylaxis Against Vascular Endothelial Dysfunction With Aging”; Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology and Therapeutics; March 2010. <http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20053922>




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