While the benefits of L-arginine claim to be many, researchers are still studying what constitutes a safe dosage for those who want to take it daily.
What Is L Arginine?
L-Arginine is a non-essential amino acid; non-essential because the body can produce it. The reason many people believe supplementation is best for this particular amino acid is that the body does not produce it very efficiently. For those who prefer not to take supplements, L-arginine is also available through a variety of foods.
Foods Containing L Arginine
L-Arginine is available through foods rich in protein including:
- Brazil nuts
- Milk products
- Oat and wheat cereals
Functions of L Arginine
Amino acids play an important role in how the body functions. L-arginine performs a variety of tasks such as a:
- Component of collagen
- Component of enzymes
- Component of ejaculate
- Component of hormones
- Component of skin and connective tissues
- Plays an important part in the synthesis of protein molecules like creatine and insulin
- Precursor of nitric oxide and other metabolites
Symptoms Associated with L Arginine Deficiency
Now that you see the various roles L-arginine plays in bodily functions, you'll be better able to understand why L-arginine deficiencies may contribute to a postponement in sexual maturity. Other symptoms associated with L-arginine deficiencies include:
- Glucose tolerance
- Impairment of the production of insulin
- Liver lipid metabolism
Benefits of L Arginine
While the benefits of L-arginine supplementation are debated, those who cite its positive effects state that L-arginine, coverts to nitric oxide in the system and dilates or enlarges the blood vessels. This effect encourages better circulation and is one of the reason L-arginine is used to treat erectile dysfunction. The positive results are due to the fact that this amino acid helps blood to reach the extremities including genitalia. L-arginine is also a major element in the production of seminal fluid and sperm so it also aids in the production of a healthy quantity of ejaculate and is used in the treatment of sterility in males. This is just one benefit cited when taking L-arginine. Other claims include:
- Aids in building muscle
- Boosts energy
- Helps maintain blood sugar levels
- Increases fertility in women
- Increases immune function
- Improves flood flow and reduces clogged arteries
- Improves sperm count
- Liver detoxification
- Maintenance of nitrogen balance
- Promotes burning of body fat
- Promotes improved bone density
- Provides antioxidant properties
- Reduction of alcohol toxicity effects
- Reduction of blood pressure
- Reduction of vascular and heart disease, stroke and cholesterol risks
- Reduction of body fat
- Removal of excess ammonia
- Wounds heal faster
L Arginine and Heart Disease
While claims state that people whose family have a history of heart may also benefit from L-arginine, it is important not to try to treat yourself for symptoms associated with congestive heart failure. Talk with your doctor before you begin taking any supplements, because not all researchers agree on the benefits of taking L-arginine in relation to heart disease. However it is recommended by some as a preventative measure for people who have experienced a blood clot in the past. Taking L-arginine by such individuals is believed to reduce the risk of the formation of another clot.
Anti Aging Properties
One last benefit worth mentioning is that L-arginine stimulates the body's production of growth hormone, testosterone, and IGF. As the body ages, the production of these hormones diminishes which plays a direct role in the aging process. The production of these hormones helps keep skin elastic, reduces body fat, and increases sexual stamina. Your body won't revert to that of a 17 year-old, but the supplement is said to make you look and feel younger.
The National Research Council's Food and Nutrition Board has not set a recommended dietary allowance for L-arginine. Each individual's needs are unique based on factors like diet and age as well as what condition you are treating.
More Research Is Needed
While not everyone agrees on the health benefits associated with L-arginine, it is worth talking to your doctor about it to get the latest information available. More research is needed to confirm the extent of the benefits listed here, and your doctor is better equipped to determine whether this supplement can help you.