l-arginine is a common amino acid found in the body. This article discusses its applications and sources.
L-arginine is defined as an alpha amino acid, its L- form is the most commonly found amino acid out of the 20 amino acids seen in the body. Arginine (Arg or R) is considered as one of the semi-essential amino acids whose formation depends on the developmental stage and the health status of a person’s body. Because it is not produced sufficiently in infants, their requirement for it, needs to be fulfilled through their diet.
This acid plays an important role in many major metabolic functions of the body like immune function, healing of wounds, cell division, releasing hormones and removing ammonia from the body. When the body is not able to produce these functions on its own, there are oral supplements which are given for these purposes. Thus, you might have guessed it is an important amino acid for some very essential life functions.
- There are many food sources of l-arginine which are available in nature. It is present in many plants and animals which are often a part of our daily diet. Since this amino acid is found in many plant sources too, vegetarians don’t have to worry about its deficiency.
- Nuts such as; peanuts, almonds, sunflower seed kernels, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, cashew nuts, pistachio nuts, and flaxseeds are rich sources of this acid.
- Other plant sources of this amino acid are raw lentils, all types of beans, soybeans, tofu, wheat flour, garlic, onions, blueberries, and chocolate syrup (especially).
- All types of animal sources are also rich in this amino acid as it is formed in their bodies naturally. These include tuna, salmon, shrimp, chicken, egg yolk and white, pork, and whole milk.
- As mentioned above, this amino acid is a very essential part of the body’s metabolism. There are many pathways and functions which depend on it for their substrates.
- It is also used to help eliminate extra fluids that are a problem in congestive heart failure.
- Chest pain, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease can also be treated with the l-arginine supplements.
- It also helps cases of dementia in the elderly, male infertility, erectile dysfunction, improving kidney function, boosting the immune system, preventing inflammation of digestive tract, and improving common cold.
- When this acid is used in combination with a few OTC drugs for certain purposes, the treatments could work, but this should be done only on prescription.
- The mechanism of this acid is such that, when it enters the body, it is converted into nitric oxide. This causes the blood vessels to open wider and allows the blood to flow more freely. It also helps in stimulating insulin and the growth hormones in the body. There are also a few arginine side effects which are to be considered.
It is advisable that you consult a doctor before taking any supplements, to rule out allergies and avoid complications.