Arginine / L-Arginine

nitric oxide induced circulation benefits both men and women

Arginine provides many health benefits by improving blood circulation

L-arginine (often simply shortened to “Arginine“) is a very important semi-essential amino acid.

That means and can be produced by the body, but is often needed in larger quantities so the body relies on extra supplementation via the diet.

The most important characteristic of Arginine is that it is the only reactant for the molecule NO (nitric oxide), which is a vasodilator. One of the characteristics of NO is to regulate vascular tone, ensuring, so to say, the flexibility of blood vessels and a healthy cardiovascular system.

One of the most well-known properties of Arginine is improving the erections of men, who suffer from vascular erectile dysfunction.

Arginine – The Important Facts

Arginine is important for the regulation of blood vessels. It is therefore used to:

  • combat arteriosclerosis (calcification of the vessels)
  • treat erectile dysfunction
  • encourage healthy muscle growth
  • strengthen the immune system
  • improve insulin resistance in cases of diabetes
  • improve the blood flow in capillaries (e.g. in cases of tinnitus or hair loss)

L-arginine can be found in large quantities in nuts such as walnuts and pine nuts. Smaller amounts are found in milk, cheese as well as raw porc and chicken. Some of the Arginine will be washed out during the cooking process.

L-arginine is probably the most important amino acid when it comes to supporting a healthy body. This amino acid is the sole precursor for NO (nitric oxide), making it critical for supporting optimal blood circulation and healthy blood pressure. It’s virtually impossible to overdose on this amino acid. Even extreme doses of 30,000 mg a day are considered safe, causing minor side effects such as stomach upsets and diarrhoea.

Although it may be hard to overdose on L-arginine, it’s important to take the correct dosage to achieve the desired clinical benefits. Always select a quality brand, one that’s locally manufactured and subjected to strict quality control measures. This will ensure that you receive the maximum benefits from the supplement.

L-arginine should be taken continuously for a lasting effect. After approximately four to eight weeks you can expect to experience positive health changes. It can take this long to replenish this amino acid and improve overall health. So do not be discouraged if after a week or two the effect is only slight noticeable.

While single doses larger than 15,000 mg are possible, two to three 1,000 – 2,000 mg doses per day are preferable.  L-arginine should be taken with a glass of water.

The following doses are recommended for various medical treatments:

L-arginine as an immunostimulant
Take 3,000 mg to 5,000 mg daily. In severe catabolic states, take 10,000 mg to 20,000 mg, together with omega-3 fatty acids.

L-arginine to lower blood pressure
To lower blood pressure 3,000 mg is recommended initially, later increasing to 5,000-8,000 mg per day.

L-arginine to safeguard against atherosclerosis
To prevent hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) generally 5,000 mg to 9,000 mg per day is recommended. This also reduces the risk of clumping of platelets.

L-arginine for erectile dysfunction
Continual dosages of between 3,000 mg to 5,000 mg per day is recommended. In some cases the dosage may be increased to 10,000 mg.*

L-arginine to increase male fertility
If treating poor sperm mobility and/or poor quality sperm, 3,000 mg to 5,000 mg per day is recommended. Within two to three months, fertility should be substantially improved.

L-arginine in diabetes
Low doses of 3, 000 mg daily can be very effective at lowering blood sugar levels.

L-arginine as an Artherosclerosis treatment: 

3,000 mg – 5,000 mg

L-arginine as a treatment for Tinnitus:

3,000 mg

L-arginine as an aid for Muscle growth

2,000 mg – 5,000 mg in combination with other amino acids, especially BCAAs.

L-arginine as a treatment for Hair loss

500mg Arginine per day in combination with a comprehensive nutritional programme.

*It’s very important to note that L-arginine can enhance the effects of prescription medications. If you’re taking PDE-5 inhibitors or any other medications, make sure you consult a physician prior to taking L-arginine.

The dosage recommendations stem from standard works that are consistent with medical studies.

Arginine is not known to cause any side effects up a daily dose of 15,000 mg. Blood pressure has been observed to slightly improve in individuals with hypertension. The overall immune system also improves.

Please be aware of the following:

  • Arginine should not be consumed by individuals with acute herpes simplex.
  • Split the daily dose into morning and evenings to get the stomach used to the pure Arginine. Consider starting with the a lower dose and aim to gradually increase it.
  • Consult your doctor if you are regularly taking prescriptive drugs.
  • Particular care should be taken when taking Arginine in combination with well known PDE-5 inhibitors. Arginine will greatly increase the effect of these virility enhancers. Never buy PDE-5-Inhibitors online, but only with a prescription at a pharmacy that you can trust.

Pharmacies sell several specialist products based on Arginine, which you may consider:

  • Artherosclerosis: Telcor® Arginin is a well known and reliable product for general vascular issues.
  • Erectile dysfunction: the most well-known brands for the dietary treatment of erectile dysfunction are M forte, VIGARIN and ArginMax. M forte and VIGARIN have the best value for money ratio due to their optimal daily dose of 3,000mg pharmaceutical grade L-arginine, equal to the quantity recommended by Nobel Prize winning pharmacologist Dr Louis Ignarro. M forte or VIGARIN are therefore most recommended for the natural treatment of erectile dysfunction.
  • Hair Loss: Of the dozen or so products on the UK market for hereditary hair loss (androgenic alopecia) in the UK, only Hair Plus contains L-arginine.
  • Male Fertility: There is a number of male fertility supplements with varying daily L-arginine dosages on the UK market. These include Wellman Conception (10mg), Pregnapure (150mg), Vitamen (200mg), Profertil and Fertilman (both 250mg) and fertilsan M (500mg). Please click here for a comparison of male fertility supplements.
  • Tinnitus: Clear Tinnitus is the most popular treatment for tinnitus in the UK.

 

Arginine is needed for the pituitary gland (in the brain) to function properly and works together with some other amino acids, such as L-Ornithine and phenylalanine, to synthesise and distribute growth hormones. These contribute not only to the prompt regeneration of tissue such as nerves and muscle, but also help to maintain the health of many organs and epithelia.

Additionally, Arginine has a positive effect on the human immune system by supporting the production of disease-fighting antibodies and stimulating the thymus gland (an organ which processes these antibodies).

 

Summary: Arginine Benefits

In summary, the most well-known medical benefits of L-arginine are:

  • as a natural virility remedy for the treatment of erectile disorders (erectile dysfunction)
  • to contribute significantly to the health of the overall vascular system lowering the risk of strokes and heart attack
  • encourage healthy muscle growth
  • to lower hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • to strengthen the immune system
  • to improve insulin resistance in cases of diabetes
  • helps to maintain fats and cholesterols at healthy levels
  • as an accompanying treatment for arteriosclerosis (vascular calcification)
  • to improve the blood flow in capillaries (e.g. in cases of tinnitus or hair loss)
  • prevent unwanted blood clotting such as in heart attacks
  • to facilitate and restore memory and learning

In 1998 the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was won by Luis Ignarro, Robert Furchgott and Ferid Murad for their research on the benefits of Nitric Oxide (NO) and its primary reactant (building block) Arginine.

Here is a video of Dr Ignarro explaining the various health benefits gained from Arginine supplementation:

It is therefore particularly necessary among those with a heightened susceptibility of infection or suffering from serious illnesses to ensure the maintenance of sufficient levels of key amino acids such as Arginine through nutrition or supplements. Otherwise serious deficiencies and malfunctions can develop in the body.

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A particularly well-balanced diet is also advised during the natural growth period (i.e. childhood and adolescence) to cover the daily requirement, which can be complemented by additional supplements as needed.

Today, it very often happens that our diets are not varied enough and the body doesn’t get enough of particular vital substances. Metabolic diseases can also result in organisms no longer being able to completely absorb these substances during digestion, which leads to a deficiency.

Foods Containing Large Amounts of Arginine

Walnuts are a major source of the most important amino acid L-Arginine

In the bodily process of urea exchange, a certain amount of Arginine is naturally synthesised; this amount is, however, insufficient to cover the minimum daily requirement of around 2 to 5g completely. Especially during adolescence, in cases of severe injuries or after serious operations, the body requires a continuous supply of amino acids through food or relevant supplements, as the body will not produce enough amino acids for its own needs by a long way.

Stress and a wide range of other conditions, such as arteriosclerosis or high blood pressure, can increase an individual’s requirements, which is why Arginine is now seen as one of the essential amino acids by leading nutritionists.

Some conditions are seen automatically as a sign that supplements of this valuable amino acid are needed, for example heart and liver failure, coronary diseases, angina pectoris (chest pains) and growth hormone deficiency. In cases such as these, a doctor should be consulted to discuss the possibility of complementing the diet with nutritional supplements.

Cashew nuts are a major source of amino acids

Raw pork and chicken breasts contain a particularly large amount of Arginine (both around 1.4g per 100g), but these foods have to be cooked thoroughly before consumption to kill any possible germs. During this process, the original concentration of essential amino acids decreases, which is why other foods need to be consumed as well to meet the daily requirement. Nuts, above all walnuts and cashew nuts, are particularly rich in Arginine.

For women who are not pregnant and all other people not undergoing treatment with immunosuppressives for an existing condition, the consumption of raw salmon is suitable for a high supply of Arginine, as it contains around 1.2g per 100g, and is very healthy in other respects too. Chicken eggs and cow’s milk (0.8 and 0.1g per 100g respectively) can also be used as sources, although it must be noted that it is relatively difficult for the body to extract amino acids from animal products. For this reason, pine nuts (around 2.4g per 100g) and walnuts (around 2.2g per 100g) can also be adopted into the dietary plan.

Changes to the diet are, however, nowhere near as effective as using specially-designed products which contain plenty of Arginine.

Arginine Benefits Elaborated

 

Arginine performs many vital functions within the body and can, because of its structure, be utilised in a variety of areas. As it is used to form the neurotransmitter nitric oxide (NO), it has a significant effect on the regulation of the tone of blood vessels, as well as influencing several neural processes. Arginine is responsible not only for the conduction of stimuli, but also for the processing of these stimuli and the activity of the nerve cells. Blood flow is improved by the release of nitrogen in the endothelial cells of the arteries, as this causes the blood vessels to widen and enables a better cardiac output. In this way Arginine protects the body from specific conditions, such as arteriosclerosis and even heart attacks, as the increased diameter of the arteries means it takes longer for them to become blocked up by deposits.

L-Arginine has many great benefitsA further function of Arginine is protein synthesis within the body, during which process poisonous ammonia is disposed of. Amino acids can turn ammonia into urea, preventing it from entering the circulatory system, which would lead to severe brain damage. Limited liver functioning in particular can cause this to happen; thus, in cases of cirrhosis of the liver or types of hepatitis, suitable supplements should be taken to prevent this occurring. When the level of ammonia is too high, this can lead further to problems falling asleep or insomnia, so special nutritional supplements are best taken in the evening.

As Arginine also encourages the release of the growth hormones prolactin and glucagon, it indirectly increases muscle building and inhibits at the same time the uncontrolled accumulation of fat. Furthermore, it works to support the breakdown of lipids and can therefore support the body during dieting and attempts to lose weight.

At the same time, Arginine also participates in the biosynthesis of creatine, which plays an important role in the energy metabolism of cells. It leads to an improved burning of food stuff like fats and proteins, and increases through this process the energy turnover of the body. As Arginine also supports the release and effect of insulin, it can contribute to the regulation of blood sugar and blood fat levels.

 

Arginine and its Medical Uses

Erectile Dysfunction

Amino acids can restore virilityThe logical consequence of Arginine’s various roles in metabolic processes is the possibility of using amino acids to combat certain illnesses and malfunctions in the body. Hundreds of studies to this end have already been carried out, which have proven the remedial potential of amino acids.

Erectile dysfunction is the proper medical term for the common disruption of normal erectile function in males (often more generally referred to as impotence). It is almost as impossible to imagine the treatment of erectile dysfunction without Arginine as it would be to imagine it without the most famous remedy, Viagra.

erection physiologyFrom the mid- to late-1990s, the phenomenon was treated relatively ineffectively with a range of plant extracts (including yohimbine, muira puama and maca). The effects of these remedies as an aphrodisiac or as a treatment for impotence have been often publicised, but have never been proven in rigorous scientific studies, and have actually often been refuted.

A wide range of research into the molecule NO (nitric oxide or nitrogen monoxide) then took place, which earned the researchers Ignarro Furchgott and Murad a Nobel Prize for Medicine. They proved that the molecule NO infiltrates into blood vessel walls and regulates vascular tone.

Arginine is the only reactant for this molecule (NO). When the signal from the brain for an erection reaches the sex organ, the body has to build NO out of Arginine in the blood. This neurotransmitter then enters the blood, relaxing blood vessels and muscles, enabling an erection to occur.

Initial research into the effects of Arginine in cases of erectile dysfunction in the 1990s with a dose of 5,000 mg produced dissatisfactory results. Furthermore, there can be side effects with this dosage1.

More recent research has found that a dose of 3,000mg Arginine per day in combination with 80mg of the NO-Booster Pine Bark Extract is able to cure more than 90%2of men suffering from erectile function problems.

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Arteriosclerosis

Amino acids are an important nutrient for muscle growth

The use of Arginine to combat coronary conditions, connected to myodial infarctions (heart attacks) and strokes, is particularly widespread. As it can block a certain substance (asymmetric dimethylarginine, or ADMA), therefore moderating the level of homocysteine in the blood, it simultaneously neutralises two risk factors in cardiovascular conditions, which in turn can help to prevent heart attacks and strokes. Studies by Stühlinger et al. 3 and Bednarz et al. 4 have shown that Arginine leads to a decrease in clinical cases of these conditions and should therefore be specifically included in the dietary treatment of patients with cardiovascular conditions or with an increased risk of cardiovascular problems.

Diabetes Mellitus

Amino acids are an important ally in the treatment of diabetes

Furthermore, essential amino acids can be used very effectively in the treatment of diabetes mellitus (Type II), as it stimulates the secretion of insulin and prevents the continued destruction of beta cells in the pancreas. 5. Nutritional supplements containing Arginine, alongside other vitamins, antioxidants and minerals, are recommended.

Minimising Stress

Arginine has also been used successfully to combat anxiety disorders in the past few years, as it improves the ability to cope with stress by raising levels of the hormone cortisol as well as reducing the occurrence of psychological tension. 6.

Male Fertility

Arginine improves male fertility

  1. directly by improving sperm volume, count and motility (progressive forward movement)78
  2. indirectly by improving erectile function. This makes successful intercourse more likely, increasing the chance of successful conception.

Please watch the following video on how Arginine and other nutrients from food can improve the quality of sperm naturally.

READ MORE about fertility-boosting with L-Arginine

Conclusion

Arginine has changed from being a semi-essential to an essential amino acid for good reason; it has a decisive impact on numerous vital processes. Not only the production of growth hormones, but also the formation of insulin and antibodies are heavily dependent on Arginine. This means that an insufficient intake of Arginine can lead to severe symptoms of deficiency. To counter this before any serious damage is done, it is recommended that, alongside a well-balanced diet, specially designed nutritional supplements are used. These can be especially helpful in the recovery process after operations or accidents.

Today, various symptoms can be reduced with the help of Arginine, which is why it is no longer possible to imagine orthomolecular medicine without this vital substance and it is increasingly finding its way into modern medical practices.

 

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Studies on Arginine include:

  1. u.a. Chen, J., Wollman, Y., Chernichovsky, T. et al: Effect of administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor Arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. BJU International 83, 269-273, 1999. Zorgniotti, A.W., Lizza, E.F.: Effect of large doses of the nitric oxide precursor Arginine on erectile dysfunction. Int J Impotence Res 6, 33-36, 1994
  2. “Stanislavov, R., et al, ”Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and L -arginine “, J Sex Marital Ther 2003 May-Jun, 29 (3 ), pp. 207-213”
  3. Stühlinger & Stanger: Asymmetric DimethyL-arginine (ADMA): A possible link between homocyst(e)ine and endothelial dysfunction. Current Drug Metabolism, 2005, 6, 3-14 ”
  4. “Bednarz B et al.: Efficacy and safety of oral Arginine in acute myocardial infarction. Results of multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled ARAMI pilot trial. Kardiol. Pol.. 2005, 62, 421-26 ”
  5. Krause M et al.: Arginine is essential for pancreatic beta-cell functional integrity, metabolism and defence from inflammatory challenge; J Endocrinol. 2011 Jul 22
  6. z.B. bei Shaheen E Lakhan, Karen F Vieira et al.: Nutritional and herbal supplements for anxiety and anxiety-related disorders: systematic review; Lakhan and Vieira Nutrition Journal 2010, 9: 42
  7. “Schachter, A., et al.; Treatment of Oligospermia with the amino acid L-Arginine; Journal of Urology, 110 (3); 310-313; 1973″
  8. “http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7701414”