Arginine, also known as L-Arginine, is a non-essential amino acid. It means that a large amount of arginine is generated within the human body, and need not be obtained through diet only. It is of prime importance in maintaining the health of liver and in boosting the immune system.
It is a known fact that the largest organ in our body, skin, tends to lose its elasticity and suppleness with age. Intake of this amino acid either through daily diet or supplements is known to sustain the beauty and vitality of skin. Arginine enhances the production of collagen in the body which expedites the process of healing of wounds. It is essential for muscle metabolism and boosts weight loss by reducing body fat. It has also has been used in the treatment of male infertility.
Arginine benefits the overall health in the following ways:
1. A healthy heart:
Arginine converts itself to nitric oxide (NO) in our body. This acts as a neurotransmitter, which helps the blood vessels to relax, thereby improving blood circulation. Arginine improves the flow of blood to the heart, which in turn helps to alleviate chest pain, clogged arteries and other such cardiovascular ailments.
2. Maintains blood pressure:
An elevation in blood pressure may cause cramps in the legs and fatigue. Arginine plays a significant role in regulating the blood pressure, thereby easing the ill-effects of high blood pressure.
[ Read: Iodine Benefits ]
3. Enhanced libido:
One of the most known L-Arginine benefits is to increase the libido in both men and women. Arginine supplements, when taken by men suffering from low sperm count or poor sperm motility is said to improve fertility.
Arginine is vital for optimal male sexual health. The intake of arginine when increased is beneficial for the treatment of certain disorders like erectile dysfunction in men.
4. Controls bladder inflammation:
Arginine can control inflammation of the bladder. This acid also relieves leg cramps and assists in the functioning of the kidneys in transplant patients.
[ Read: Potassium Deficiency Diseases ]
5. Treatment of angina:
Angina is a signal that the heart is not getting sufficient flow of blood. It can occur when the body is undergoing physical stress like during exercises. Arginine dilates the blood vessels and thus, improves blood flow within the body.
6. Optimal body weight:
Intake of arginine supplements reduces body fat and increases the mass of lean muscles.
[ Read: Sources of Phosphorus ]
7. Anti-aging properties:
Arginine is said to be an HGH enhancer. It stimulates our body to release anti-aging HGH (human growth hormone), which helps to slow down the aging process.
8. Quick healing of wounds:
Arginine is said to shorten the healing time of wounds.. Protein is essential for the healing process of wounds and arginine aids in the production of this compound thereby speeding up the healing process.
[ Read: High Sodium Foods ]
9. Skin benefits:
Certain skin care products with arginine also contain anti-bacterial compounds. These compounds along with anti-oxidizing agents repair any damage caused to the skin due to environmental factors or aging, and helps to restore the youthful look.
10. Hair benefits:
This amino acid produced by our body, relaxes the blood vessels and improves the flow of blood to the scalp and the base of hair follicles. Hair care products with arginine in them are known to curb factors which cause poor development of hair follicles or weaken the hair shaft, thereby promoting growth of thick, healthy tresses.
A word of caution:
Though arginine helps to cure migraines, improve blood pressure, shorten the healing time of wounds, reduce post-operative recovery time, treat fertility issues etc, this amino acid when taken in excess can lead to unstable blood pressure, diabetes, chemical imbalances in blood or increase the risk of bleeding in pregnant women.
L-arginine, when jointly taken with birth control pills, painkillers or with some medicines like those to control blood pressure, heartburn or diabetes, may generate certain side effects like nausea, diarrhea, asthma, abdominal cramps etc. Arginine supplements should not be consumed by pregnant women, lactating mothers or infants.
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