Arginine and L-Arginine

L-Arginine helps to increase nitric oxideArginine is an amino acid.  It’s L-form is one of the 20 most common naturally formed amino acids.  While arginine is considered to be “semi-essential” because it can be manufactured in the human body, not everyone creates enough for their needs.  It is still necessary to eat foods rich in this amino acid.  One of the main things L-arginine is needed for is the creation of nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide, considered to be the “miracle molecule” is essential to a healthy lifestyle.  Its main job is to signal the blood vessels to relax and expand.  When the blood vessels dilate, they allow more blood, oxygen and nutrients to flow to the organs and muscles.  Vasodilation also allows for the efficient removal of waste products.  Both the in-flow of nutrients and the out-flow of wastes are critical to maintain good health.  Nitric oxide has been shown to help reduce blood pressure, increase mental acuity, improve overall circulation, help with erectile dysfunction, increase muscle growth and improve endurance.

To increase nitric oxide in the body, many people eat foods rich in arginine like, spinach, kale, collard greens, eggs, nuts , fish, red meats, and certain dairy products.  In addition to these types of food, many athletes take nutritional supplements containing arginine.

Besides increasing nitric oxide, arginine also has been shown to reduce healing time of injuries and improve tissue healing.  It also can help reduce high blood pressure.  It is also used in toothpastes designed to strengthen the dentin.  Additional research has shown arginine to be effective in stimulating the increased release of human growth hormone  (HGH) as well as helping to alleviate the symptoms associated with anxiety.

This powerful supplement should not be taken lightly.  One can take too much.  Side effects include nausea, headache, dry mouth and other discomforts.  Extreme doses may cause heart palpitations.  Also, arginine should not be used by people who have suffered a heart attack.  It does not appear to be effective in improving the heart’s ability to pump blood.

You can find arginine supplements online at Bodybuilding.com, the world’s #1 Sports Nutrition E-Retailer or House of Nutrition.