We’ve reviewed dozens of bodybuilding related products by now and if you’ve taken the time to read some of them, then you’ll find that one ingredient is almost always added. This ingredient is of course L-arginine.
Both bodybuilders and athletes enjoy the many benefits of arginine. It’s mainly used to increase nitric oxide production but there are a plethora of other benefits as well. Here’s what you need to know about L-Arginine:
What is L-Arginine and How Does it Work?
L-Arginine is an essential amino acid primarily found in red meat, fish, and dairy products. Its primary use is to improve nitric oxide levels for athletes and bodybuilders via the nitric oxide synthase enzymes.
Arginine is an especially important hormone and certain illnesses like hypertension and type II diabetes degrade arginine through the enzyme arginase, which results in a deficiency.
Arginine’s primary function is to activate several enzymes responsible for producing nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes the vasodilation of blood vessels, which increases blood flow throughout the body. For bodybuilders and athletes, this means more nutrients and oxygen to muscles.
Arginine is also involved in several other internal body processes, but its’ main use is to control blood flow. It also is said to help support lean muscle mass growth and growth hormone levels as well.
Benefits of L-Arginine
Like many essential amino acids, arginine has been the subject of dozens of clinical studies. There is absolutely no shortage of data here and according to research arginine may be able to:
- Increase blood flow by activating nitric oxide
- Increase growth hormone levels substantially
- Improve blood flow through vasodilation
- Decrease blood pressure
Without listing every study, there is also data that arginine may improve recovery times after surgery, prevent nitrate tolerance, eliminate erectile dysfunction, and prevent inflammation in the digestive tract.
Arginine is currently being tested as a treatment for AIDS-related wasting, for cavities, memory loss, and to control diabetes and infertility.
L-Arginine supplements are all over the market and you can find dozens of arginine supplements online or at your local health store. However, dosing is very important and scientific research suggests these dosing recommendations:
- 6-20 grams per day (3 divided doses) for congestive heart failure
- 5 grams per day to treat erectile dysfunction
- 261mg per day added to oral feedings for infants
- 700mg per day, four times daily to relieve pain in chest
If you’re using arginine for its’ anabolic effects, then you’ll want to most likely consult your doctor on figuring out the right dosage for you.
There has been some concern over whether or not arginine supplementation is as effective as arginine through dietary consumption. It does appear that arginine is not absorbed as well through supplements as it is through diet, but most experts agree this to be the norm among most supplements.
Some experts recommend using citrulline, along with arginine because citrulline the kidneys converted citrulline into arginine anyways. If you use just arginine, then you may want to use a slightly higher dosage.
Side Effects of L-Arginine
The biggest concern regarding arginine is in people who are taking blood pressure medications. Since blood pressure medications thin the blood, it is possible that the blood may become too thin when taking arginine, which can cause serious problems.
WebMD warns that people with cirrhosis may experience problems with arginine and some limited data suggests that arginine may make herpes work by enabling the herpes virus to multiply.
Arginine is listed as POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth for short-term purposes during pregnancy or breast-feeding. It is also listed as POSSIBLY SAFE when used in premature infants in appropriate doses.
Is Arginine Worth Trying?
A lot of speculation has been put into whether or not arginine is worth taking as a supplement. Some data says that arginine is not absorbed very well through supplementation, while other data shows it’s incredibly effective.
One thing is for certain, and that is that arginine is a potent nitric oxide booster and beneficial to release growth hormone. For most people, diet while be enough, especially those who eat read meat. However, if you’re not downing burgers or steak regularly, then l-arginine supplementation may actually be beneficial to your health.
It certainly won’t hurt you based on the dosage given by most supplement manufacturers, so give arginine a shot.