L–arginine is amino acid produced in the kidneys and liver. Usually, the body produces sufficient amounts of this amino acid, but some health problems may cause L-arginine deficiency. Serious injuries, burns, infections, and even genetic disorders might cause lack of this amino acid.
Supplements containing L-arginine are very popular these days, among various groups of people. This amino acid is used to treat erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems, in both men and women. It is known that arginine improves the sperm count and the sperm motility. It can also increase the circulation of many organs (including sexual organs, as well).
Bodybuilders use L-arginine to increase muscle mass, because it improves formation of proteins and production of creatine, also. While building the muscles, this amino acid is able to assist in losing fat from the body.
Other roles of this important amino acid include: antioxidant properties, boost of the immune system and the release of HGH (human growth hormone). It is also very helpful in recovering from bone and tissue injuries, because it supports the healing process. Many women, arthritis patients and athletes may benefit from this effect.
L-arginine is also found to help to reduce the risk of many cardiovascular problems. Its use is, however, limited to the patients who didn’t have heart attack, since it may cause lethal consequences.
There are no FDA (Food and Drug Administration) recommendations for the usage of L-arginine. The safest way to increase L-arginine is to eat more food that is rich in this amino acid, such as dairy products, legumes, nuts or sunflower seeds.
Be careful when using these supplements, since the dose suitable for your friend might not be good for you. Consult your doctor and only then start the treatment. First results might be expected after 3 to 4 weeks. Most doctors suggest using 2 to 3g of these tablets, couple of times every day, and advise not to use more than 9g per day.
Studies researching the influence of taking 500mg (up to 2000mg) of L-arginine every day are still ongoing and there are no definite results yet.
People with liver problems should be cautious when using this amino acid as supplement, since it can affect the level of potassium and lead to some medical problems.
Do not use these supplements if you are suffering from kidney disease.
Do not use L-arginine in children or if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Be aware that some medications might interact with L-arginine and always consult your doctor and pharmacist before the start of the treatment.
L-arginine supplements can be beneficial but may also cause side effects if not carefully used. These supplements may cause nausea, digestion problems, abdominal and joint pain or be responsible for flushing. L-arginine can also cause hypotension (low blood pressure),worsen digestive problems or ulcers and increase blood sugar (which, potentially, might lead to diabetes).
This amino acid can also affect the balance of many other electrolytes in the body, such as sodium, phosphate or chloride, and cause medical problems.
Severe side effects might be allergic reactions to L-arginine or vein damage, if L-arginine is taken intravenously.