Arginine is a naturally-produced amino acid that plays several important roles inside the body. The primary uses of arginine include maintaining the body’s hormone levels, ridding the body of waste, and helping the body to heal itself. In addition to these functions, research has indicated that there might be a connection between arginine and weight loss. Specifically, arginine might be effective in reducing body fat while increasing a user’s lean muscle mass. To safely increase arginine intake, users should follow all dosage instructions, be aware of certain side effects, and note important drug interactions.
Studies testing the connection between arginine and weight loss have shown that increased arginine consumption may decrease body fat. In studies conducted on both rats and pigs, arginine increased lean muscle mass while decreasing the animals’ body percentage fat. Studies involving humans produced similar results.
There are several theories regarding the link between arginine and weight loss. Arginine is essential in the production of nitric oxide, a compound that acts as a vasodilator. This compound plays a part in metabolizing both glucose and fat. Research has shown that increased levels of nitric oxide might increase the body’s breakdown of fat, which could explain arginine’s effectiveness.
Arginine might also increase insulin sensitivity and promote the synthesis of muscle protein. This means that a significant portion of a person’s caloric intake will go to the formation of muscle, instead of being stored as fat. An increase in lean muscle mass will also increase metabolic function, which might help reduce body fat even further. It is, however, important to understand that studies have not shown a specific link between arginine and weight loss. It would be more accurate to say that research has indicated that arginine might positively affect one’s body composition, primarily the ratio of fat to lean muscle mass.
People who want to increase their intake of arginine can do so by altering their diet or by taking dietary supplements. Red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, nuts, whole grains, and chocolate are all good sources of arginine. Supplements containing arginine can also be purchased from many vitamin suppliers and health food stores. While no optimal arginine dose has been established, studies have used doses of anywhere from 2 to 30 grams. If a person decides to take arginine supplements, he or she should take the supplement as directed on the label.
Before increasing arginine intake, users should be aware of certain side effects and arginine interactions. Arginine might interact with medications that help the heart, lower blood pressure, and work against for erectile dysfunction. Users should also be aware of the possible side effects of arginine like stomach pain, diarrhea, gout and bloating. Arginine should not be taken by children or people who suffer from asthma or bleeding disorders. As with any supplement, users who have questions regarding the safety of arginine should consult their physician before beginning supplementation.