Amino acids are prerequisites for building proteins in our body. Not only proteins, but it also helps in the synthesis of nitrogen-containing compounds such as creatine, peptide hormones and other neurotransmitters.
Nitrogen or nitric oxide is very much needed in a man’s body as it supports erectile function by relaxing the blood vessels and ensuring healthy blood flow to your penis. Now, L-arginine is one of the amino acids which contains proteins and becomes nitric oxide in our body.
This article contains a detailed explanation of L-arginine, its benefits, uses and side effects.
What is L-arginine?
First of all, amino acids can be divided into two categories such as essential amino acids and non-essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the ones that are not produced by the body. Therefore, you would have to consume them through your dietary consumption.
On the other hand, non-essential amino acids are the ones that are produced in the body and external dietary consumption is not necessary. L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid, which transitions into an essential amino acid under pregnancy, infancy, illness or trauma. Non-essentially, it is produced through the amino acid, citrulline with the breakdown of body proteins.
L-arginine is needed in our body for the production of nitric oxide, as mentioned earlier. Nitric oxide is used for maintaining erectile function, healthy circulation of blood and cellular communication. L-arginine is also considered to be strengthening your immune system as it helps in the development of T-cells which are white blood cells.
As L-arginine is so essential for playing some important roles in your body, its absence can lead to some serious problems such as cellular and organ dysfunction.
There are some protein-rich foods that can become the source of L-arginine in your body. These L-arginine foods are meat, dairy products, nuts, soy products, fish and even poultry. These food products are considered to contain 4-6 grams of L-arginine them.
There are also some arginine supplements available in the markets in the form of powder, liquid, capsules and tablets.
Now that we know what l-arginine is and what are l-arginine foods, let us know what l-arginine benefits are.
What are the benefits of L-Arginine?
L-arginine has a plethora of health benefits and can be consumed by patients suffering from high blood pressure or even athletes trying to build their muscles.
Benefits Of L-arginine are:
- Enhances athletic performance:
As mentioned earlier, L-arginine is helpful in the production of nitric oxide in the body. This nitric oxide helps in increased blood flow in the entire body and the oxygenation of all the muscles.
Now, when there is a healthy circulation of blood in your entire body, there is increased athletic performance which also helps in increasing your exercise duration. According to a study conducted by some researchers, it was revealed that 56 male soccer players who consumed 2 grams of l-arginine for 45 days continuously, increased their sports performance more than the people who did not.
- Controlling blood pressure:
This is one of the most important L-arginine benefits. With a healthy circulation of blood in your entire body, l-arginine helps in the relaxation of blood vessels which tend to expand in people suffering from high blood pressure. According to a study, arginine helps in reducing the diastolic and systolic blood pressure of people.
Under such circumstances, arginine shots can be taken orally or intravenously (IV), which can reduce your systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 5.4mm/Hg and 3.1mm/Hg respectively, according to a study.
- Major health support during illness or trauma:
During any surgery, accident or even trauma, your body stops producing arginine and it becomes essential for you to consume through external resources. Arginine depletion during such situations can lead to decreased immunity and even hinder your blood flow.
To avoid any more complications, you need arginine shots in your body, which can either be injected through IV or even be taken in the form of solid supplements. For instance, in the case of sepsis, burns, chronic diseases or wounds, arginine can be taken orally or through IV. Moreover, it is required before and after the surgery and also for traumatic patients.
- Helps in the management of blood sugar:
As mentioned earlier, one of the important l-arginine uses in our body is the healthy circulation of blood through the production of nitric oxide. Now, nitric oxide is not only used for healthy blood circulation in the body, but it also plays an important role in responding to insulin, a hormone that helps in transporting sugar from your blood into cells for the production of energy.
The increased presence of L-arginine can enhance the transportation process and help in the efficient use of sugar, through the production of nitric oxide. Based on this analysis, it can be deduced that L-arginine also benefits those people suffering from diabetes through enhancing the metabolic activities of glucose and insulin sensitivity.
According to research, it is also considered to prevent diabetes and control blood sugar levels in at-risk populations.
Side effects of L-Arginine:
According to overall research done in this field, L-arginine is believed to be safe and cause no serious side-effects, especially when taken in the form of solid or liquid supplements.
However, there are some potentially unpleasant side-effects of l-arginine, especially when one is suffering from several other ailments and more than 9 grams have been consumed in a single day. These side effects include:
- Abdominal Pain
- Increase in the possibility of bleeding
- Fluctuations in the potassium levels of your body
- Fluctuations in the blood sugar levels
- A decrease in blood pressure.
Apart from this, l-arginine has to be strictly avoided by certain groups of people. These groups include people suffering from liver diseases, kidney diseases, asthma, low blood pressure and any disorder affecting your metabolic activities.
Not only this, but if you are on any erectile dysfunction medications such as sildenafil or Viagra, tadalafil or Cialis, or any other medications related to your erectile issues, you should be cautious while taking these arginine shots. Because l-arginine can cause your blood pressure levels to drop and cause serious reactions with other medications. Therefore, it is highly recommended to consult the doctor if you are taking any blood pressure medications.