Arginine is normally labeled as L-arginine, the naturally occurring form of the amino acid.
The benefits of L arginine include:
How could one supplement accomplish all this?
Arginine's health benefits stem from its conversion to nitric oxide (NO) in cells that line the inside of your blood vessels. It is the body's most potent blood vessel expander and main blood pressure regulator.
The discovery of nitric oxide's crucial role in heart health earned three American scientists the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1998.
In their book, The Arginine Solution, Drs. Robert Fried and Woodson C. Merrell note that as people age and develop such disorders as hypertension, elevated cholesterol, and atherosclerosis, their ability to make sufficient amounts of nitric oxide from arginine is impaired.
This is a contributing factor to a further decline in their cardiovascular health.
Several recent studies confirming arginine's ability to lower high blood pressure have piqued public curiosity about this supplement. For example, in a 1998 Italian study, daily oral doses significantly reduced systolic blood pressure in patients with borderline hypertension.
l-Arginine apparently can also help people with heart failure or blood vessel disease. For instance, University of Minnesota researchers reported that taking arginine for six weeks improved blood flow and walking distance in people with heart failure.
A 1998 German study found that it helped those with severe intermittent claudication (leg pain associated with atherosclerosis of arteries in the leg).
Arginine blood levels are often reduced in diabetes, and some evidence suggests that arginine can slow the progression of atherosclerosis in those with type 2 diabetes. It should not, however, be taken by people with diabetic retinopathy.
l-Arginine is obtained through a wide range of foods, including meats, poultry, fish, dairy products, and nuts. The body manufactures arginine by digesting the proteins in these foods.
Overall, arginine is considered very safe but as with any supplement, caution is advised. You should consult with your doctor before taking arginine if you are taking certain prescription drugs.
The recommended dosage for high blood pressure is 1,000 mg L-arginine twice a day. Results should begin to appear in a month or two. If needed, increase the daily dose to a maximum of 6,000 mg (in three divided doses). Take with carbohydrates rather than protein, which can hinder absorption.
I'm Gene Millen, your host on this website with my wife Bernie. In 1990 a skilled heart surgeon sawed open my chest and stitched in bypasses to six of my favorite arteries. That got my attention...and kindled a passion for helping others avoid a heart attack or stroke. Click here for Gene's story.
If you have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, angina or other risks of heart disease you should give strong consideration to taking arginine.
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