In A Nutshell: Arginine is a protein-like substance that dilates blood vessels and helps to protect you from heart disease and other related conditions or helps to treat these diseases if they are already present. Arginine also improves the action of protein in the body. Arginine is needed for the body to heal correctly. It is also a useful aid for the kidneys to sort useful elements from waste.
It is also known to keep the arteries supple because of the contraction and relaxation of the arteries. While arginine is found in food, modern diets may be deficient in it, particularly in those already suffering heart disease.
What is Arginine
Arginine is an amino acid that is found in protein-rich food and is also produced naturally inside the body. It is converted into nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator that widens arteries and blood vessels to allow for easier passage of blood. Arginine is therefore helpful in treating many health conditions characterized by narrowed or restricted arterial passageways.
These include atherosclerosis (clogged and hardened arteries), peripheral vascular disease, heart failure, heart disease, peripheral vascular disease, erectile dysfunction, chest pain, and headaches caused by the swelling of blood vessels.
Research has shown that as arginine is converted into nitric oxide, it enhances muscle strength, regulates hypertrophy, and even assists in fat loss. As arginine dilates the blood vessels, it allows for more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to your muscles.
Uses of Arginine
As a daily food supplement, arginine is taken for better protein production and utilization. Our body needs protein for many things: to keep bones, teeth, skin and muscles strong; produce antibodies and keep our immune system working; repair worn-out tissues and cells; heal wounds; maintain healthy levels of sperm in men; regulate acid-base balance; and transport nutrients, oxygen, and other compounds. These are vital processes, and arginine helps to ensure that they are all carried out properly.
As a workout supplement, arginine strengthens muscles, boosts energy, and repairs tissues post-exercise. It provides that extra boost that is often needed to fuel workouts.
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Form and Dosage of Arginine
For supplementation, take arginine orally in capsule or tablet form. The dosage can be anywhere between 400 milligrams to 6 grams. A person doesn’t normally need more than 6 grams of arginine, as he can get sufficient amounts of it from food commonly included in the diet, such as dairy products, nuts, brown rice, chicken and other meats, raisins, coconut, and cereals.
To gain the greatest benefit from exercise, 6 grams of L-arginine is often the recommended dose. The ideal times to take arginine are before breakfast and 30 to 60 minutes prior to working out. Additional arginine can be taken 30 to 60 minutes before bed as well.
Safety and Precautions of Arginine
Arginine is generally a safe supplement, but some people exhibit allergic reactions when they ingest more than 30 grams of arginine. They experience rashes, itching, and shortness of breath. This can be easily avoided by taking no more than the recommended dose.
Arginine should be used with caution if you:
- Have a bleeding disorder (e.g., hemophilia)
- Have issues with his blood sugar or blood pressure levels (this includes diabetics)
- Are prone to hyperkalemia (abnormally high levels of blood potassium) Have impaired kidney function
- Use phosphodiesterase inhibitors (including sildenafil or Viagra)
- Take blood-thinning drugs (anticoagulants), aspirin, anticoagulants (blood thinners), warfarin or heparin, or anti-platelet drugs
Before taking this supplement, it may be wise to talk to your medical professional to ensure that it is suited to your particular case.
The doctor may prescribe that you alter your diet to see if this will help in the supply of arginine, given that modern diets may not be giving you the supply of arginine that your body needs.
Considerations taken into account will be your medical history, blood test results, and your condition at the time of inquiring. Given that there are certain people who are advised against taking arginine supplements because of prior health conditions, it may be useful for you to know where you can get healthy supplies of arginine without upsetting your health.
Best Food Sources of Arginine
The list below is by no means comprehensive, but the main foods that you may consider in a common diet are provided.
Some arginine-rich foods are:
- Pork chops
- Chicken breast
- Turkey breast
- Pumpkin seeds
Spirulina is also a rich source of arginine, and we will detail this later in the book. If you find, for any reason, that your body is not comfortable with the supplements – and some people do suffer stomach pains – you can of course adjust your diet and include some of the foods listed, as there are no known side effects of taking arginine from your diet.
These are foods that are repeated over and over again when talking to people about the supplements that they should take and the foods that may help to contribute toward the supply of elements that are needed for optimal health.
Thus, you need to understand the importance of diet in your lifestyle. You cannot simply take supplements and hope that they will do everything for you without addressing your lifestyle and the kind of foods that you are eating.