Have you ever heard of l-arginine? If not, you’ve likely heard of amino acids — and l-arginine just happens to be an amino acid you can get through either your diet or supplements.
There’s solid scientific evidence showing it could help your health in many different ways.
Here’s some information on how this amino acid works, and why you need more of it in your body.
How it Works
First, your body converts l-arginine into nitric oxide, which helps the blood vessels relax. This, in turn, makes it easier for blood to circulate throughout the body.1
You can get l-arginine from many high-protein foods (such as dairy products and fish) as well as from arginine supplements. And, as long as you can sustain a good supply of l-arginine, your body should continue to have an ample supply of nitric oxide as well.
Why is this important? Well, as you’ll see, this mighty amino acid is associated with a wide range of health benefits.
Here are just five of the most important.
1. Cardiovascular Health
There is evidence that l-arginine could help people who suffer from angina – a condition that leads to severe chest pain. There is also evidence that taking arginine supplements could help lower blood pressure in healthy people and also in those suffering from a condition known as pulmonary hypertension. This is a form of high blood pressure that affects the right side of the heart as well as lung arteries.
2. Reducing Inflammation
L-arginine helps reduce inflammation as well as the amount of ammonia in the blood.3 This is very important because ammonia is a contributing factor to not only inflammation but also cell death.4
3. Increasing Exercise Efficiency
L-arginine supplements might also play a key role in the production of human growth hormone, or HGH. If you have an HGH deficiency, you might be susceptible to an increase in body fat as well as a decrease in muscle mass. You may also be at risk for bone weakness.
According to research, l-arginine supplementation can increase HGH levels by 100 percent, even while your body’s at rest. It can also raise levels by up to 500 percent during exercise. This is important because HGH helps support a healthy body weight and strong muscles.6
4. Supporting Immune System Health
This powerful amino acid helps boost the strength of T cells, which are key to helping support a strong immune system. T cells help fight harmful viruses and bacteria. According to one study, when the level of l-arginine is increased, it can help re-energize T cells and also help them live longer.7
5. Boosting Reproductive Health in Men and Women
Researchers studied the effect of l-arginine on erectile difficulties. A group of 40 men participated. By the end of the three-month study, more than 90 percent of the participants who received arginine supplements in combination with pine bark extract showed substantial improvement in their conditions.8
According to the results of another study, the combination of l-arginine with several herbs helped to improve pregnancy rates in women who were having trouble conceiving.9
The Bottom Line
So you can see there’s a substantial amount of evidence suggesting that l-arginine may provide major benefits to the body.
However, you should never start taking amino acid supplements without first having a detailed discussion with your doctor. He or she will let you know if it will be safe for you to do so after looking at your medical history, as well as any medications you may be taking.
And, if you do receive permission from your doctor, talk to her about how much of the amino acid you need to get each day.
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