Whether or not you’re aware of the function of the amino acid L-arginine, it is time to sit up and pay attention. One of the most important and least focused upon bodily functions related to your health is the ability for blood vessels to stay open and provide the proper support to your cells. A necessary amino acid known as L-arginine. This is an essential component in that function. So, it is obvious that there also are L-arginine benefits.
In this article, we’ll take a look at the L-arginine benefits as well as the effects, dosage and precautions connected to supplementation with this amino acid. Before we go into those benefits, let’s familiarize ourselves a little bit more with L-arginine.
What Is L-arginine?
L-arginine is an amino acid that must be present in the lining of blood vessels (endothelium) in order to create nitric oxide (not to be confused with nitrous oxide, which is anesthetic). Nitric oxide is a gas which carries signals between cells within your blood stream. The discovery of its role in the human body was documented in research which earned three scientists a Nobel Prize in 1998. Briefly, these are the primary functions nitric oxide performs:
- Enhances the circulation of blood throughout your body;
- Supports and maintains healthy blood pressure levels within the normal range;
- It is a signal molecule between your immune system and your brain.
As you age, there is a decrease in nitric oxide production in the endothelium. This is due to a deficiency in the presence of L-arginine. L-arginine deficiency is not typically an issue in younger persons unless they fail to eat enough of the proteins where L-arginine is present. Supplementation of L-arginine can help restore and enhance nitric oxide production. Enhanced nitric oxide production is primary among the L-arginine benefits and leads to the other subsequent health benefits.
10 L-arginine Benefits You Can Enjoy
Improved Cardiovascular Health
One of the most attention-grabbing among the L-arginine benefits is improved cardiovascular health. The effects of L-arginine together with exercise were significant, according to research conducted by German scientists.
Healthy Renal Function
Further German studies also indicated that healthy renal function is another among the many L-arginine benefits. L-arginine showed a great deal of potential in those suffering from renal failure and was significant in kidney transplant patients.
Though it is not a life threatening condition another of the top L-arginine benefits is healthier skin. Studies at Penn State University indicated that aged patients found increased benefits from cutaneous (surface) vasodilatation from the effects of L-arginine in the production of nitric oxide.
Boosting immunity is another of the impressive L-arginine benefits. Myloid suppressor cells (MSC) associate with the pathologies of infectious diseases and cancer. They also show a tendency to deplete L-arginine in the blood stream. L-arginine supplementation can help reverse these effects according to a University of Pittsburg study.
Another of the L-arginine benefits can be found in helping you breathe better. Japanese studies indicated that the endothelial dysfunction through long-term L-arginine supplementation improved, among other issues, respiratory function.
Healthy Blood Pressure Levels
Italian researchers report that another of the most significant L-arginine benefits can be found in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Angina patients in the study saw reduced severity of angina as well as a decrease in systolic blood pressure at rest following L-arginine supplementation.
Not surprisingly, better circulation is among the most prevalent of the L-arginine benefits. An article in published in Circulation from the American Heart Association claims that:
Long-term l-Arginine Supplementation Improves Small-Vessel Coronary Endothelial Function.
The Ministry of Science & Technology in Egypt indicate yet another of the excellent L-arginine benefits in their study of its effects on aging and longevity. The study concluded that there were a wide number of positive aging benefits to supplementation with L-arginine.
Both men and women can enjoy the L-arginine benefits of better sex. According to a Smart Publications article with references to the Journal of the American Medical Association, sexual dysfunction and decreased libido can both be effected by taking L-arginine.
French research indicates a connection between L-arginine and decreased pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are a part of the inflammatory response in our bodies. Therefore, reduced inflammation can also be added to our list of L-arginine benefits.
A Note of Caution
With all nutrients and supplements, even if you properly dose and administer L-arginine can have its negative side effects. The side effects are infrequent. But it is necessary to be aware of them before using this supplement. Among the negative side effects are:
- Infrequently reported nausea and diarrhea;
- Bitter taste in your mouth at high dosages;
- Because it is a vasodilator, it can contribute to hypotension (low blood pressure);
- Intravenous (IV) preparations have a high chloride content and increase the risk of metabolic acidosis.
There have been no reported side effects in relation to pregnant or nursing mothers who are taking L-arginine. But be certain to maintain a proper dosage amount.
L-arginine has few adverse interactions with other drugs. But it also does have unpredictable effects when taken along with insulin and cholesterol-lowering agents. L-arginine causes the effects of isosorbide mononitrate, glyceryl trinitrate and sodium nitroprusside to multiply in potency. So it is probably a good idea not to be taking both the supplement and any of those medications at the same time.
The common oral dosages of L-arginine are from 6 to 30 g daily in order to treat a variety of different conditions without too great of a risk of the infrequent side effects which you have seen above. For intense therapeutic usage of L-arginine for more serious health conditions, it is best to consult a health care professional for advice on dosage. They will also advise you on potential interactions with other prescription medications.
The list of L-arginine benefits above should motivate you to consider adding this supplement to your daily health regimen. With few adverse side effects or drug interactions, proper daily doses of L-arginine, especially if you are beyond age 50, can help prevent a number of major health conditions which might come with aging.
Give L-arginine a try! Then, don’t forget to come tell us about your success stories and add to our list of L-arginine benefits.