The significance of L-arginine can’t be undermined. It’s one of the most widely-used amino acids found in foods that we eat, with numerous substantial health benefits. Although L-arginine isn’t technically an amino acid, it is essential to boost our overall health because it helps our body execute many vital functions.
Typically, there are several significant health benefits of arginine foods to the human body. L-arginine is an essential amino acid that aids our body in building protein.
Our body generally generates all the L-arginine it requires. As such, L-arginine is also a principal constituent of several protein-rich foods such as poultry, soy, fish, red meat, whole grains, beans, dairy products, and more.
In the March 2000 edition of the Newsweek magazine, researchers revealed that arginine has the potential to protect people against chronic(1) heart failure (CHF). Reported in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the study observed 40 people who suffered from a severe CHF.
What is Arginine? ( L-arginine )
Scientifically, arginine is an amino acid, which is the basic building block of protein. Amino acids digest proteins which are then absorbed into our body. The absorbed protein is used by the body in different forms to help you provide energy and healthy muscles. Your body can prepare amino acids itself.
As such, amino acids are of three types – namely essential, nonessential, and semi-essential amino acids. For nutritional purposes, amino acids are divided into these three categories.
Arginine is, technically semi-essential amino acid and is generally not required by healthy adults. Kids for their growth and development only need this amino acid.
Your body can itself make arginine apart from various food sources and, therefore, a deficiency of arginine is rare. However, if the body’s production of arginine does not meet its daily requirements, it can result in arginine deficiency.
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Why Should You Take Arginine?
Arginine works to relax your blood vessels and exhibits powerful cardiovascular benefits. Several studies reveal that arginine might resolve the symptoms of peripheral arterial disorder and angina. It may also enhance the cardiovascular health of patients with a history of heart failure.
Studies suggest that arginine can also come in handy in treating erectile dysfunction when combined with pine bark extracts. Arginine is also potent in boosting your immunity. Researchers also claim that this amino acid has the potential to resolve and improve the symptoms of HIV-induced weight loss.
Also, arginine helps boost your renal functions along with proving beneficial in reducing kidney inflammation. Patients are often prescribed arginine to facilitate fast recovery following a renal transplant.
Recent studies have found that high arginine foods might improve blood pressure, lessen post-operative recovery time, and ease migraines. However, this amino acid has no specific benefits for people recovering from a cardiac arrest. Moreover, there is a need for further research to figure out the effects of arginine on healing wounds and preeclampsia. It might aggravate asthma.
Foods Containing High Arginine
While arginine is a readily available amino acid, certain foods have it in an adequate amount that may address your daily recommended intake of arginine and can also be used to overcome the deficiency of arginine in children.
Some of the most popular foods that contain high arginine include nuts and seeds such as almonds or dry walnuts; meat products such as turkey and pork loin; legumes such as soybean; and seaweed.
A turkey breast is the most abundant source of arginine and contains about 16.207 grams of arginine per 100 grams of turkey. For vegans, soybean and watermelon seeds provide the right quantity of this amino acid.
Benefits of High-Arginine Foods
Although there are several proven health benefits of arginine(2), the ten health benefits of L arginine foods listed below make this amino acid a must-have nutrient for all of us.
1. Supports Circulatory Health
L-arginine is essential for the adequate production of nitric oxide, which is necessary to help your blood vessels relax and decrease the pumping pressure of your heart. Individuals having low levels of nitric oxide are more susceptible to heart failure or high blood pressure.
2. Supports Weight Loss
Various studies reveal that a higher intake of L-arginine amino acid helps in building lean muscle mass along with an increased chance to reduce unwanted fat. Arginine helps regulate insulin- the hormone associated with the removal of glucose from the blood.
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3. Improves Performance
L-arginine is one of the most sought-after supplements used extensively by athletes around the world. L-arginine is considered an ergogenic aid, a compound that helps improve performance by naturally improving strength and resistance to fatigue.
4. Carries Anti-aging Properties
L-arginine is proven to stimulate the synthesis of growth hormone, a hormone regarded as the key to unlock the fountain of youth. Growth hormones ensure that your body cells are repaired in an efficient and timely fashion so that the essential functions of these cells can be maintained at the most optimal level. In case benefitting from anti-aging properties is your primary objective, it certainly makes sense for you to give L-arginine supplement a try.
5. Modulates Blood Pressure
As already discussed, L-arginine helps to produce more of endothelial nitric oxide, which boosts the ability of our blood vessels. As a result, arginine proves effective in decreasing the risk of a cardiac arrest along with improving your blood pressure levels.
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6. Regulates Blood Glucose
People who have diabetes are likely to improve their blood glucose levels with arginine. It enhances insulin sensitivity in a person with diabetes, and insulin being an essential hormone accentuates the absorption of glucose into the cells.
7. Speeds up Healing
L-arginine has the potential to accelerate wound healing, thanks to its ability to synthesize another amino acid called L-Proline. L-Proline supports collagen synthesis in your body – collagen being an essential protein is eventually responsible for your structural and skin health.
8. Prevents Hair Loss
Arginine aids in increasing the nitric oxide levels in your body along with improving the flow of blood to the scalp as well as the follicles, thence promoting hair health.
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9. Helps Treat Erectile Dysfunction
L-arginine helps improve the symptoms of erectile dysfunction, as it stimulates the production of nitric oxide within the walls of our blood vessels. The results of erection potential are the most pronounced in senior men having deficient levels of nitric oxide.
10. Boosts immune system
Arginine stimulates your immune system as well and can prove useful in reducing the risk of infection along with fighting asthma and allergies. Moreover, arginine can also help improve the detection of cancer cells.
Side Effects and Precautions to Keep in Mind
While arginine is mostly considered the same for people of all ages when consumed in moderation, it may have some adverse effects when overused.
L-arginine can cause symptoms of diarrhea, allergic reactions, asthma, nausea, and cramps. It could also lead to low blood pressure and fluctuations in glucose as well as blood chemical levels.
Some health physicians recommend decreasing arginine and increasing lysine to help avoid the recurrence of various significant symptoms related to herpes simplex virus.
There are a few risks associated with overconsumption of L-arginine. Consult your doctor before supplementing with arginine (3), particularly if you are suffering from a severe medical condition such as allergies, liver or kidney problems, cancer, asthma, sickle cell disease, bleeding disorders, or low blood pressure.
We can conclude by saying, Arginine is indeed one of the most common amino acids out there and is a fantastic adjuvant and promoter of good health. It is readily available in several types of meats, soybean, watermelon seeds, etc., making it simple for you to add it in your daily diet.
Watermelon is a vibrant source of an amino acid known as L-citrulline, which efficiently converts into L-arginine and subsequently to nitric oxide. As a result, consuming watermelon is one of the simplest ways to get enough quantity of arginine.
Make sure not to neglect this powerful and extremely-beneficial amino acid that can work wonders for your overall health and wellness. Start having meals rich in arginine to get the maximum benefits of arginine foods.