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What is arginine? Why do we need it?
Arginine is an essential amino acid produced naturally by
the body. It plays several roles in the body, including an
increase in protein synthesis (which promotes wound healing);
removal of excess ammonia; stimulation of the immune system;
and promoting the secretion of several hormones, including
glucagon, insulin and human growth hormone.
Arginine is also
a precursor to nitric oxide, which keeps blood vessels dilated
and allows the heart to receive an adequate oxygen supply.
Several tests have been conducted on arginines properties.
Large amounts of arginine help wounds heal faster in both
animals and humans. Some studies of men with low sperm counts
have experience an increase in the number of sperm while taking
arginine supplements. There is also preliminary evidence that
arginine reduces angina pain and may help regulate blood cholesterol
How much arginine should I take?
Normally, the body makes enough arginine, even when it is
lacking in the diet. Most studies on arginine have used between
2-30 grams per day. Arginine is also sometimes combined with
arginine prior to physical activity.
What are some good sources of arginine?
What forms are available?
Dairy products, meat, poultry and dish are all excellent
sources of arginine. Many nuts and chocolate also contain
significant amounts of arginine. It is available in powder,
tablet or capsule form, and is sold either alone or in conjunction
with other amino acids.
What can happen if I dont
get enough arginine? What can happen if I take too much? Are
there any side-effects I should be aware of?
Because arginine is produced naturally by the body, most
people do not need to take extra supplements. However, during
times of unusual stress or injury, the body may not be able
to produce the necessary amount of arginine. Patients with
such conditions should consult with a qualified health care
practitioner about arginine supplements.
Individuals with kidney or liver disease should consult with
a health care provider before taking arginine supplements.
Patients with herpes should not take arginine because it may
stimulate replication of the virus.
Large amounts of arginine may both promote and/or interfere
with the growth of cancer. While preliminary research has
shown that arginine stimulates the immune system, a high intake
(>30 grams per day) has also bee associated with increased
cancer cell growth in humans. As of this writing, it remains
unclear whether arginine is helpful or harmful for people
As of this writing, there are no known drug interactions
Other Resources :
More You Know About arginine
Articles on arginine
- Ehrén I, Lundberg JO, Adolfsson J. Effects of
L-arginine treatment on symptoms and bladder nitric oxide
levels in patients with interstitial cystitis. Urology
- Korting GE, Smith SD, Wheeler MA, et al.
A randomized double-blind trial of oral L-arginine for treatment
of interstitial cystitis. J Urol 1999;161:55865.
- Marcell TJ, Taaffe DR, Hawkins SA, et
al. Oral arginine does not stimulate basal or augment exercise-induced
GH secretion in either young or old adults. J Gerontol
A Biol Sci Med Sci 1999;54:M3959.
- Smith SD, Wheeler MA, Foster HE Jr, Weiss
RM. Improvement in interstitial cystitis symptom scores
during treatment with oral L-arginine. J Urol 1997;158:7038.
- Wolf A, Zalpour C, Theilmeier G, et al.
Dietary L-arginine supplementation normalizes platelet aggregation
in hypercholesterolemic humans. J Am Coll Cardiol