Arginine is a basic amino acid and is classified as a conditionally essential amino acid. The typical dietary intake of arginine is 3.5 to 5 grams daily. One of the main functions of arginine is its participation in protein synthesis. Also, arginine is involved in a number of other roles in the body such as the detoxification of ammonia formed during the nitrogen catabolism of amino acids. Arginine is utilized by a number of metabolic pathways that produce a variety of biologically active compounds such as nitric oxide, creatine, agmatine, glutamate, polyamines, ornithine, and citrulline.
In the cardiovascular system, exogenous l-arginine causes a rapid reduction in systolic and diastolic pressures when infused into healthy humans and patients with various forms of hypertension. Furthermore, oral l-arginine supplementation attenuates platelet reactivity and improves endothelial function in animal models of hypercholesterolemia and atherosclerosis. Clinical studies of l-arginine in humans have also been highly positive in improving endothelial dysfunction and even preventing restenosis after balloon angioplasty. An excellent review of the clinical pharmacology of l-arginine, particularly in the cardiovascular system, has been provided by Boger and Bode Boger
With all of the aforementioned effects that arginine possesses in relation to ergogenic potential, it would seem plausible that supplementing with arginine would improve exercise performance and body composition. There is scant evidence that this is the case in humans, and the available data is conflicting. When male weight trainers on a hypocaloric diet ingested approximately 8 grams of arginine daily, there were no positive influences on muscle function (biceps/quadriceps isokinetic assessments) or body composition.
L-arginine supplements are taken by many populations, including athletes and those who have certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, for a variety of reasons. They’re also used in the clinical setting to treat critically ill people or those with wounds. Research has shown that L-arginine may offer a variety of potential benefits when used as a supplement.
L-arginine supplements may benefit those with high blood pressure.Studies have shown that taking L-arginine supplements may help lower both your systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure readings. L-arginine is needed for the production of nitric oxide, which is necessary for the relaxation of the cells that make up blood vessels, as well as blood pressure regulation. A 2016 review of 7 studies found that supplementing with L-arginine by both oral and intravenous (IV) administration significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults with high blood pressure by up to 5.4 mm/Hg and 3.1 mm/Hg, respectively.
L-arginine has been studied for its potential beneficial effects on various conditions, including obesity, heart disease, cancer, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), infertility, and anxiety, either used on its own or in combination with other supplements. However, research on the effects of L-arginine in people with these and many other conditions is limited and inconclusive, highlighting the need for future studies. In addition to the potential benefits and uses above, many people take L-arginine supplements for a variety of other reasons, including reducing the risk of the common cold and boosting weight loss. Yet, many of these purported benefits aren’t backed by scientific research.