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What are Arginine Benefits?

Mandi Rogier
Mandi Rogier

Arginine is a shortened name for L-arginine. This is an amino acid in the body that performs many essential functions. Arginine benefits the body in many ways as it produces creatine and urea, and can be transformed into nitric oxide, glycogen, or glucose.

The production of urea is one of many arginine benefits. Urea helps the body to remove ammonia. Ammonia is a waste product that occurs in the body and must be removed on a consistent basis.

Arginine supplements.
Arginine supplements.

Arginine can be transformed into nitric acid, which is essential for cardiovascular health. Nitric acid helps dilate blood vessels and increase blood flow. Individuals who suffer from heart disease may be able to benefit from increased doses of arginine in the body. Those considering this type of treatment should consult a doctor, however, as a dose of arginine after a heart attack can be dangerous.

A doctor should be consulted before taking any new supplements.
A doctor should be consulted before taking any new supplements.

Other arginine benefits include its role in vasodilation (the relaxation of blood vessels), which makes it beneficial for many other ailments as well. Erectile dysfunction can be treated with daily doses of L-arginine. Vascular headaches, caused by swollen blood vessels, can also be eased with this amino acid.

The production of protein and L-proline is triggered by arginine. These elements aid in the healing process. Though there is no conclusive evidence, it is suspected that another of the many arginine benefits may be its ability to speed the healing process.

L-arginine can help body builders gain muscle mass and increase muscle definition.
L-arginine can help body builders gain muscle mass and increase muscle definition.

Despite these myriad benefits of arginine, this amino acid can have some negative side effects if produced in excess. Too much arginine will increase the amount of stomach acids present. This can cause nausea, heartburn, and other digestive ailments. Although headaches can be treated with arginine, too much of this amino acid can cause a headache as well.

Blood sugar levels can be affected by arginine, making this a problematic supplement for those with diabetes. Individuals who are watching their blood sugar for any reason should take care to consult a doctor before increasing this amino acid. Potassium levels are increased by arginine as well, which can be dangerous for those with any form of liver disease.

Arginine is naturally produced by the body and most people have enough of this essential amino acid without the use of supplements. Some ailments can result in an arginine deficiency, such as infections, injuries, burns, or excessive production of ammonia. Those who need additional arginine can obtain it through a supplement. It is also present naturally in many food products including soy, dairy, fish, poultry, and nuts.

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Discussion Comments

stoneMason

I'm not sure if erectile dysfunction can be treated with l-arginine but I agree that l-arginine has benefits for sexual function. I have experienced them personally. It improves blood circulation and delays ejaculation for me.

discographer

@ddljohn-- I take an arginine supplement for high blood pressure. It works for me and keeps my blood pressure in the normal range. I don't take any medications however, so I have no idea if there are any negative interactions between arginine and medications. You should not take arginine or any other supplement without checking with your doctor first. I wouldn't want you to experience negative side effects because of my recommendation.

I've also noticed that since I've started taking arginine, I feel more energetic and get fewer headaches. I'm guessing that these are results of improved blood circulation. Overall, arginine has many health benefits.

ddljohn

I want to try arginine for high blood pressure. I'm already taking high blood pressure medications, but my blood pressure is still at the higher end, averaging 140 on most days. I would like it to be at 120 and I'm hoping that I can do this without taking more medications. My neighbor is well informed about supplements and was telling me about the benefits of arginine supplementation. He said that it lowers blood pressure but he has never used it himself.

Can anyone with high BP share their experiences with arginine? Did it work for you? Did you experience any negative side effects?

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    • Arginine supplements.
      By: compuinfoto
      Arginine supplements.
    • A doctor should be consulted before taking any new supplements.
      By: Shakzu
      A doctor should be consulted before taking any new supplements.
    • L-arginine can help body builders gain muscle mass and increase muscle definition.
      By: Christopher Howey
      L-arginine can help body builders gain muscle mass and increase muscle definition.