The Arginine amino acid is found in proteins and is required to carry out various functions in our body. Here is detailed information on properties and sources of arginine.
Arginine is an important amino acid, produced by the body and required to perform numerous functions like healing wounds and cell division. Arginine was first isolated in 1886. It is basic in nature and also works as an anti-oxidant. If you take a look at the structure, you will find that it consists of a 3-carbon aliphatic straight chain with guanidinium group at the distal end. The L-arginine is one of the 20 most common amino acids.
As mentioned above, it is required for carrying out various functions in the body, the most prominent being its use in boosting the immune system. It helps in development of the thymus gland, which in turn, produces the T-cells. These cells are required for proper functioning of the immune system. Secondly, it helps in secretion of the growth hormone from the pituitary gland. It is required for boosting the pancreas to produce insulin and to make the body sensitive to its intake. It is believed that arginine helps in burning fat and hence, people who wish to lose weight and build muscles go for arginine supplements.
It is an important component of seminal fluid. Its absence or deficiency can lead to reduced production of spermatozoa in males. L-arginine amino acid is used to treat and prevent erectile dysfunction in men. In both, males and females, it can help in maintaining a proper blood flow to the reproductive organs and stimulate sexuality. It is also used for decreasing blood pressure and treating migraine.
The required amount of arginine is produced by the body itself. However, in some rare cases, deficiency can occur if a person suffers from a disorder related to the skin. Deficiency can be treated by consuming supplements or foods rich in arginine like those mentioned below:
- Sesame seeds
- Pumpkin seeds
- Whole wheat
- Brown rice
- Brazil nuts
- Cottage cheese
It is required in a very little amount (approx 2-3 grams), therefore, its deficiency is extremely rare. However, there can be cases of toxicity resulting from an overdose. The typical symptoms of arginine overdose include thickening or coarsening of the skin, diarrhea, nausea, general feeling of weakness, etc. Therefore, it is recommended not to consume foods rich in arginine in a large quantity. At the same time, those suffering from chronic diseases or liver and kidney disorders should consult the physician before consuming any supplements. It is advised that pregnant women, people who have recovered from a heart attack, people suffering from diabetes, genital herpes, low blood pressure, etc., should restrict the intake of this protein.
As a concluding note, it can be summarized that a healthy diet helps in fulfilling the requirement of arginine and help the person stay healthy!
Disclaimer: This article is meant for informative purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for doctor’s advice.