L-arginine is most commonly known and used in the fitness industry for its ability to stimulate the release of growth hormone. Hence the reason why it is used in the body building world for enhancing stamina, strength, and performance. In this post we will discuss in more detail l-arginine benefits and side effects so you can make a more informed decision about whether this is a supplement that is right for you.
What Exactly is L-Arginine?
L-arginine is an amino acid used by the body in the biosynthesis of proteins, and is found naturally in dairy products, red meat, fish, poultry and eggs. It is converted in the body to nitric oxide: a chemical that opens blood vessels wider, in turn improving the flow of blood around the body.
It is a conditionally essential amino acid, meaning that it is not always essential, except maybe in times of illness and stress, such as the stress put on the body due to hard training or lifting weights. These conditions will cause catabolic stress and injury so under these circumstances the body requirements for l-arginine will be much higher.
It also has many uses other than just stimulating your growth hormone, so let’s dive right in and take a look at these.
WHAT ARE L-ARGININE BENEFITS AND SIDE EFFECTS?
1. ANTI AGING
One of the most powerful effects of l-arginine is its ability to boost immune function; and it may also help fight the inflammation that can cause some diseases in the first place. Out of control chronic inflammation is now thought to be the root causes of many inflammatory diseases, therefore, reducing it as much as possible can be very helpful to health.
It works like this: l-arginine’s antioxidant mechanisms help it to scavenge the free radicals that accelerate telomere aging. With the shortening of telomeres comes faster aging and increased susceptibility to age related diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzeimer’s, dementia, and heart disease.
Eat as many antioxidants as possible:-
The above is not a pretty list; and the very reason why it is SO important to have a regular high intake of antioxidants, be they from l-arginine, or/and from other sources such as those found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Please read this list of the highest antioxidant rich foods to find many more, and start incorporating them into your diet as much as possible.
Supplementing l-arginine with a combination of vitamin C and Omega 3 fatty acids will make for an effective all round anti aging combination. And taking l-arginine along with regular exercise (which is vital for heart health and to keep muscle mass up, especially as you age) will bring on hormonal changes that can help build a more powerful, youthful and toned body.
The role of collagen
L-arginine can also help improve collagen synthesis in the skin. We’ve all heard of the importance of collagen in the aging process; collagen declines as we get older, giving the appearance of thinner, less plump skin (yikes), and taking supplements that help synthesise this precious collagen from the inside (such as l-arginine) is a very important part of negating this. Be mindful that most so called collagen infused face creams and beauty products are not able to cross through the skin barrier to be of any use, and are therefore often an expensive waste of money.
2. BOOSTS PERFORMANCE WHILST EXERCISING
L-arginine improves the flow of blood, making it easier for the body to transport nutrients and oxygen to muscle and joint tissues. This will have the effect of giving you less pain if any kind both during and AFTER exercise (especially weight bearing exercise where muscles are more easily torn).
The main reason l-arginine is so commonly used in the body building and fitness industry is because of its ability to naturally increase the production of HGH (human growth hormone) and other amino acids such as l-glutamate, l Proline, and creatine.
L-arginine improves insulin sensitivity which makes its part in metabolic health important as it may help build lean muscle, fight joint inflammation and pain, repair injured tissue; and is also a great soother for the central nervous system.
How Much Do I Need To Feel the Benefits?
The most powerful muscle building effects from l-arginine come when combined with exercise, especially weight bearing, gym, circuit training, and boxing. Doses of 5-9 grams per day can increase resting growth levels by a minimum of 100%, and when exercising by up to 500%.
3. FERTILITY TREATMENT
L-arginine helps blood circulation and the replication of cells, thus helping to improve sperm production and motility. Some studies show that, combined with other anti inflammatorys and antioxidants, l-arginine supplements can significantly improve up to 92% of male infertility cases.
This proves even more true for highly stressed men, as stress lowers l-arginine in the sperm production paths. Supplementation has also been proven to work more effectively when combined with l-glutamate and Yohimbine Hydrochloride.
L-arginine can also be beneficial in the treatment of female infertility, as it can actually increase the circulation to the genital tissue in both sexes.
Research suggests that l-arginine and NAC together may help to naturally balance hormones, playing a role in helping to alleviate inbalances of estrogen and PCOS.
4. STRONGER IMMUNE SYSTEM
Not only does l-arginine supplementation support cardiovascular and kidney health, but it also regulates the immune system by positively affecting immune responses and inflammation.
I found during my research, many studies to support these findings, especially when supplemented along with omega 3 fatty acids and other antioxidants, such as Vitamin E and C.
As a popular supplement recommended by cardiologists, l-arginine improves heart health by lowering inflammation, boosting the health of blood vessels and the health of the whole cardiovascular system, lowering high blood pressure, and improving stamina.
And for those at high risk of heart disease, supplementation of l-arginine may act as a powerful and preventative measure against stroke and heart attack. But do be sure to use it alongside a good nutritional and exercise plan as nothing makes up for the lack of these two!
WHO SHOULD TAKE L ARGININE?
L-arginine is already made in adequate amounts by the body in a person who eats a healthy diet, and therefore no supplementation would be required. However, in those partaking in high amounts of physical activity and looking to cut fat and build muscle then this could be a helpful supplement in that process and may give you that extra edge you are looking for.
I must reiterate again that I can only find evidence of l-arginine’s usefulness when used either for medical reasons, OR in combination with physical exercise when the body has a higher demand for amino acids in the rebuilding torn muscle tissue. In most other cases you should simply get enough from your diet alone.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I SUPPLEMENT?
2-3 grams up to 3 times daily is the adequate amount that has been studied in trials, but always buy from reputable companies, and always read labels carefully. The last thing you want to do is load your body up with synthetic chemicals, fillers, and preservatives. And definitely do not exceed recommended doses.
I have found some good quality supplements on Amazon that have all the above requirements if you want to take a look: —>Pure Science L Arginine Capsules<—
POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS:
L-arginine is safe for most people when either taken in capsules, powder, administered in a shot, or applied to the skin in appropriate doses.
In clinical settings, l-arginine has been trialed safely with only minor side effects, and has been proven to be beneficial in those who need it for medical reasons (in which case consult with your doctor first), OR for those who are doing a lot of physical activity and are looking to get into shape, cut fat, and build muscle.
Possible side effects may include:-
Bloating, diarrhea, gout, allergies, inflammation of airways, asthma may worsen, may interact with medications that lower blood pressure. Always consult with your doctor before use or if you have any of these side effects. These supplements are not intended to treat illness or disease.
I hope you have found what you are looking for in this article; if not then feel free to leave any comments or questions in the thread below and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Thanks for reading!