What You Should Know
L-Arginine is a natural amino acid. The body produces L-arginine, so supplementation is not needed in most cases. Dairy products, meats and certain plants provide additional sources of L-arginine in the diet. L-arginine is produced in the body from arginine and ornithine. Most dietary supplements claim L-arginine promotes nitric oxide production and decreases recovery time between workouts. These claims are based on the natural function of L-arginine, but supplementation is not necessarily going to facilitate these processes. There are clinical studies supporting the fact that arginine promotes growth hormone production in humans.
List of Ingredients
L-arginine supplements promote a long list of potential benefits. These are associated with the natural function of L-arginine in the body. Most people produce enough L-arginine, but extreme athletes and burn victims may benefit from supplementation. Recovering from burns and injuries, specifically those involving bone, may reduce the amount of arginine so supplementation helps increase arginine levels for healing.
L-arginine has some negative side effects, including reducing blood pressure and increasing blood glucose. Diabetics should never take supplemental L-arginine and people taking medications to fight hypertension may see an unsafe drop in blood pressure associated with L-arginine.
Bodybuilders typically take L-arginine supplements because it is converted to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide forces blood vessels to expand, increasing blood flow to muscles. Increased blood flow also helps move other supplement ingredients to muscles, which could be the reason L-arginine is used in muscle building supplements.
L-arginine is also needed in the urea cycle. Urea moves ammonia out of the body during urination. If L-arginine levels are too low, the urea cycle cannot work properly and waste / toxins are trapped in the body.
People with a lower than normal level of L-arginine may suffer from constipation, prolonged healing and fatty deposits on the liver.
L-arginine can be purchased as a standalone supplement or as part of a supplement created with a combination of ingredients. Consumers can expect to pay between $9 and $30 per standalone supplement. Combination supplements sell for much more, in most cases.
- L-arginine may lower blood pressure.
- May help increase blood flow.
- Aids in healing in burns and bone injuries.
- Relatively inexpensive.
- The body naturally produces enough L-arginine for most people.
- May increase blood glucose.
- May reduce blood pressure, not safe for patients taking blood pressure medications.
- Should not be consumed after a heart attack.
- Found in many food sources.
L-arginine may have a good place in bodybuilding and healing, but the average dieter does not need supplementation. L-arginine has no weight loss benefits. The ingredient, when taken in combination with other proven weight loss ingredients, may help active ingredients move faster because L-arginine dilates blood vessels.