Arginine is a replaceable amino acid that is important in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. It has anti-ischemic, anti-atherogenic, antiplatelet properties. Also, as a dietary supplement, it has found its application as a substance that stimulates erectile function in men. It is ingested with food or created from other amino acids.
Arginine was first isolated from the horn of an animal in 1880. Now this substance is known for its numerous positive properties.
Perhaps the most important characteristic of arginine is that it is the only reagent for the nitric oxide molecule, which regulates vascular tone, provides them with flexibility and has a strengthening effect on the entire cardiac system. Due to its ability to increase the level of nitric oxide, arginine is considered useful in cardiovascular diseases, sickle cell anemia. Nitric oxide is produced in different cells of the human body and is involved in many physiological processes.
Strengthens the immune system, regulates hormone levels, as well as blood sugar. Enhances male fertility. Studies show that this amino acid is able to improve blood circulation, therefore, so important for the treatment of heart disease and impotence.
Due to the neutralization of ammonia and other toxins, promotes liver detoxification. Laboratory experiments have shown that arginine is able to reduce fat reserves, speed up metabolism and promote intensive weight loss.
High concentrations of arginine are found in the skin, connective tissue and muscles. And due to the property to renew damaged tissue, it is useful for athletes and people suffering from arthritis. It also promotes rapid regeneration, including nerve, muscle cells and epithelium.
Arginine is an important substance for the proper functioning of the brain (pituitary). In particular, together with ornithine and phenylalanine contributes to the production of growth hormone.
Arginine for treatment and prevention
Arginine is classified as a replaceable amino acid, but in some circumstances it becomes an indispensable substance for the body. The need for arginine is extremely high during the period of intensive growth and pregnancy. It is also important to monitor the consumption of foods rich in amino acids, people with liver ailments, cancer, sepsis, as well as poor wound healing. The results of some studies have shown that consuming arginine reduces the risk of necrotizing enterocolitis in premature babies, has a positive effect on intestinal motility and protects it from inflammation. In addition, there is an assumption that the use of arginine in pregnant women helps to increase the weight of the fetus.
Intravenous amino acids (calculated from 50 to 250 mg per 1 kg of weight), according to some scientists, can increase the chances of survival in people after a heart attack or stroke. For diabetics, arginine is useful due to its ability to stimulate insulin secretion and exacerbate the sensitivity of the liver to the hormone.
Consumption of this amino acid has a beneficial effect on the condition of people with tuberculosis or HIV: helps to increase weight, reduces cough. There is also an assumption that this substance prevents infectious complications in individuals after surgical operations.
Benefits for the body
Arginine is able to process ammonia into urea, thus preventing toxins from entering the blood and brain, protecting against cirrhosis and various types of hepatitis.
Also, a high level of ammonia in the body leads to insomnia. Therefore, it is important for people with sleep disorders to take care of an adequate level of arginine in the body.
Stimulating the production of glucagon and prolactin hormones, arginine promotes muscle building and, conversely, prevents the accumulation of fat. And raising cortisol levels, relieves emotional tension and minimizes the effects of stress.
Thus, the therapeutic benefits of arginine lie in the possibilities:
- strengthen the cardiovascular system;
- treat erectile dysfunction;
- relieve anemia;
- act as a growth promoter in children and adolescents;
- improve bodybuilder performance;
- promote muscle growth and development;
- reduce the risk of strokes and heart attacks;
- reduce blood pressure;
- strengthen the immune system;
- maintain normal cholesterol levels;
- promote proper blood flow, in particular in the smallest vessels;
- prevent excessive blood coagulation in certain disease states;
- strengthen memory and increase learning ability;
- increase insulin resistance;
- prevent and treat atherosclerosis and vascular calcification.
It is believed that in the body of a healthy person should be from 50 to 150 μmol arginine. This portion is easily obtained from protein products of animal origin. Approximately 5,5 g of amino acid per day is consumed by people in whose diet there is a sufficient amount of fish and meat. Vegetarians, by contrast, should take care of additional sources of amino acids.
By experiments, an approximate daily dose of arginine was established. However, the dosage depends on many subjective factors and varies between 6-30 and substance per day. However, the most common recommendation is to take about 6 g of the substance to adults, children – about 4.
Arginine is sometimes called a semi-essential amino acid, since, although the body produces a substance, there are times when additional sources may be required (food rich in arginine, supplements). In the increased portions of amino acids, first of all, people with severe illnesses and injuries, as well as children, need. In addition, the body of newborns during the first months is also not able to produce its own reserves of arginine, so this amino acid is also indispensable for babies. After 35 years, the production of an amino acid in the body also slows down.
Recent studies have shown that arginine is extremely useful for people with diseases that suppress the immune system (oncology, AIDS, and others). But in these cases, as well as during the period of intensive growth, it is sometimes difficult to “cover” the daily rate of amino acids exclusively from food and the body. At this time, you can resort to the use of dietary supplements.
Contraindications for use
Science is not yet aware of cases that could cause a categorical contraindication to receive the amino acid arginine. Meanwhile, the drug is not recommended for people after acute heart attack, as well as undesirable taking supplements during pregnancy or lactation.
Arginine side effects
Arginine can rarely cause side effects. However, although in isolated cases, diarrhea and nausea were recorded against the background of intake of bioadditives. Taking the drug in high doses may cause a bitter taste in the mouth. And given that the amino acid has vasodilating properties, lowering of blood pressure is possible. Arginine in the form of intravenous injections contains a high concentration of chlorides, which is fraught with the development of metabolic acidosis. In patients with renal or hepatic insufficiency while taking an amino acid (taken in extremely high doses), hyperkalemia and an increase in the level of urea are possible.
You should not get too carried away with the substance of patients with malignant tumors, persons with amino acid intolerance or systemic lupus erythematosus.
Risks of shortage and excess
The minimum daily requirement for arginine is from 2 to 5.
Stress, atherosclerosis, hypertension and other factors can increase the body’s requirements for amino acids. Signals of acute arginine deficiency can be heart failure, coronary heart disease, angina pectoris, stunting, liver problems. Other symptoms: high blood pressure, impaired hormonal metabolism and obesity, early aging, poor brain function.
Excess substance can cause allergic rashes, urticaria, trembling in the hands and feet, and on the psycho-emotional level – nervousness and aggressiveness.
The best sources of arginine are protein-containing products: meat, milk, soybeans, nuts (peanuts, walnuts, cedar, almonds), pumpkin seeds, eggs, snails, peas.
Arginine Rich Foods
|Product (100 g)||Arginine (g)|
Meanwhile, it is important to know that the heat treatment of foods significantly reduces the level of arginine in food. Therefore, whenever possible it is necessary to focus on raw foods. This may be walnuts or cashews, which contain a very high concentration of the substance.
Arginine in the form of a dietary supplement is usually a natural product, created as a result of chemical or enzymatic hydrolysis of proteins. Under laboratory conditions, arginine is “extracted” from gelatin or synthesized from ornithine and cyanamide with the participation of barium.
Interaction with other substances
Arginine affects the activity of insulin, can reduce cholesterol levels.
Arginine has a decisive influence on many vital processes in the human body. The production of hormones, the formation of insulin and antibodies are heavily dependent on this amino acid. This means that insufficient intake of a substance leads to serious disorders in the body. And to prevent the effects of arginine deficiency, doctors recommend taking care of a well-balanced diet. It is important to pay special attention to the menu during severe illnesses and during the recovery period.