Taking supplements has become a rather common practice today.
With growing awareness and work hours, today’s generation has no option but to take herbal and nutritional supplements to maintain optimal health. There’s a pill for everything—heart health, brain development and what not. But what if I tell you that there is a magic pill for weight loss too?
Curious? Read on to know more about this miracle pill—L-arginine!
Arginine, also known as L-Arginine, is a non-essential amino acid. It means that a significant amount of arginine is generated within the human body, and need not be obtained through diet only.
Then why is there a supplement for L-arginine?
While being a non-essential amino acid, there are times and situations where the body isn’t able to produce the required amount of arginine, like when you are sick. Also, the amount produced is highly dependent on your age, gender, lifestyle, smoking and drinking habits, inflammation level, body and heart condition, diet, as well as genetics. Small kids and infants are unable to sufficiently produce this acid and its production decreases with age. This is why arginine supplement is often suggested to the elderly.
Arginine is of prime importance in maintaining the health of the liver and in boosting the immune system. It also enhances the production of collagen in the body which expedites the process of healing of wounds. Arginine is also essential for muscle metabolism and boosts weight loss by reducing body fat. It has also been used in the treatment of male infertility.
That’s not all.
There are a number of other skin, hair, and health conditions where L-arginine supplement has proven to be super-effective. Let’s get to that directly. C’mon!
Why Should You Use L-Arginine
- A Healthy Heart
- Helps Maintain Blood Pressure
- Enhances libido
- Controls Bladder Inflammation
- Aids Weight Loss
- Strengthens Immune System
- Detoxifies Our System
- Boosts Exercise Performance
- Prevents Cancer
- Provides Relief From Migraine
Skin Benefits Of Arginine
L-arginine is like an elixir for our skin health. Find out how:
1. Anti-Aging Properties
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 the skin.
Arginine is said to be an HGH enhancer (1). It stimulates our body to release anti-aging HGH (human growth hormone), which helps to slow down the aging process.
So consult your doctor today and get a prescription for this magic pill!
2. Quickens The Wound Healing Process
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. Arginine helps form L-proline, a compound essential for the formation of collagen, thus helping speedy recovery of wounds (2).
It also eases pain and swelling, thanks to the unhindered blood flow in the system.
3. Repairs And Rejuvenates Skin
Certain skin care products with arginine also contain anti-bacterial compounds (3). These compounds, along with anti-oxidizing agents, fix any damage caused to the skin due to environmental factors or aging and helps to restore the youthful look.
Hair Benefits Of Arginine
Arginine also benefits our hair in a number of ways. Have a look:
4. Curbs Hair Fall
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 hair growth.
5. Prevents Hair From Damage
Good news for those who like to color their hair often! Arginine helps protect our hair from the harmful chemicals and harsh heat (4). This is one of the reasons why it is found in most of the hair coloring products.
Health Benefits Of Arginine
Arginine benefits the overall health in the following ways:
6. 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. This non-essential amino acid thus improves the flow of blood to the heart, which in turn helps to alleviate chest pain, clogged arteries, and other such cardiovascular ailments (5).
Arginine is also useful in the treatment of conditions like angina, 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. Doctors advise an external dose of two to three grams a day of arginine supplement for the treatment of angina.
7. Helps Maintain Blood Pressure
Arginine plays a significant role in regulating the blood pressure, thereby easing the ill-effects of high blood pressure.
An elevation in blood pressure may cause cramps in the legs and fatigue, a confused state and rapid increase in heartbeat.
8. Enhances libido
One of the most obvious L-Arginine benefits is to increase the libido in both men and women.
This non-essential amino acid is vital for optimal male sexual health. Arginine supplements, when taken by men suffering from low sperm count or poor sperm motility is said to improve fertility. The intake of arginine helps dilate the blood vessels, hence increasing the blood flow to the genitals. All these factors assist in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (6).
9. 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.
10. Aids Weight Loss
Now comes the most exciting use of arginine pills. Weight loss! Intake of arginine supplements reduces body fat and increases the mass of lean muscles. Several studies have shown that L-arginine supplementation increases the plasma insulin in the system, leading to a good muscle build-up even when you are resting (7). These hormonal changes help create a stronger metabolism, an important part of weight loss. What can be better than that? A weight loss regime without actually working out! Not that I’m supporting that.
11. Strengthens Immune System
Arginine is very efficient in fighting disease-causing inflammation and protecting our body from any foreign body invasion.
This non-essential amino acid contains high anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties, helping in the scavenging of the free radicals. When used in combination with vitamin C and omega-3 supplements, arginine is useful in preventing a number of chronic diseases (8).
Arginine also positively affects the Central Nervous System as the Nitrogen Oxide in the brain acts as a neurotransmitter and helps provide protection to our body from the foreign threats.
12. Detoxifies Our System
Say hello to our natural detoxifier!
Arginine helps lower the presence of ammonia in the blood, directly part of the detoxification process (9). This is why this supplement is often suggested in the treatment of a number of metabolic problems. Ammonia is a by-product of the protein breakdown in the system and is known to cause cellular destruction.
13. Boosts Exercise Performance
Trust arginine to help increase your stamina. Really!
As explained earlier, this amino acid boosts blood circulation in the system, providing each and ever muscle cell with essential nutrients and oxygen. This, in a way, can increase your strength and stamina without causing any pain.
Arginine has also proven to be beneficial in the treatment of intermittent claudication, a condition where fat deposition causes the narrowing of blood vessels in the legs and the feet. Having this supplement is shown to improve the walking tendency and muscle pains in these patients.
14. Prevents Cancer
An arginine deficiency is a known condition among people battling cancer.
Research shows that some immune system suppressor cells (MSCs) are the main culprits behind this deficiency. And this is important because our immune system is largely dependent on arginine for the production and working of lymphocytes and T-cells (10).
This is the main reason why arginine supplements are prescribed to those undergoing chemotherapy.
15. Provides Relief From Migraine
Migraines are troublesome. This type of headache doesn’t come alone but with accompanying conditions like nausea, visual and noise sensitivity and oh that heavy white pain!
Don’t worry, taking arginine can help you get rid of this condition!
L-arginine, when taken with ibuprofen, are known to relieve even the worst of migraines (11). But don’t forget to consult your doctor if the condition worsens.
Food Sources Of L-Arginine
Good news for those reluctant to use the arginine supplement!
This non-essential amino acid can easily be found in a number of sources, like nuts and fishes. Having complete proteins is definitely a better choice as apart from the arginine, these food sources also provide you with a number of other acids essential for a proper muscle and tissue function.
Some of the best sources of this amino acid are:
- Dairy products—yogurt, kefir and cheese
- Beef and chicken liver
- Wild caught fish—they also provide you with essential omega-3 fatty acids that are great for heart health.
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sesame seeds
- Sunflower seeds
- Sea vegetables
Recommended Doses Of L-Arginine
Just like several other supplements and nutrients, the dose of L-arginine is highly dependent on the age, gender, and the condition of the user. Here are the recommended doses for a few cases:
Cardiovascular Diseases—3 to 6 grams, divided into two parts—mornings and evenings
Erectile dysfunction—3 to 6 grams, divided into two parts—mornings and evenings
Exercise Performance—5 to 9 grams once a day
Inflammation—1000 milligrams a day
A Word Of Caution
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.
A few short-term side-effects are seen in those who are healthy and on a daily dose of one gram L-arginine supplement. These side-effects include bloating, abdominal pain, allergies, asthma, and a low blood pressure.
Consulting your physician is best in any of these cases. Don’t play the doctor!
L-Arginine helps cure migraines, improves blood pressure, shortens the healing time of wounds, reduce post-operative recovery time, treat fertility issues, etc. So what are you waiting for, speak to your family physician and start using it today! Do tell us your experience.
Stay fit, stay healthy!
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