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Arginine s a α-amino acid. It is a nonessential amino acid, which means that most time it can be manufactured by human body. Normally, this amino acid does not have to be obtained through the diet, but sometimes the body is not able to create sufficient amounts and individuals may be advised to increase the intake of foods containing arginine or to take it in a form of supplements. This often happens in individuals with poor dietary habits or in people suffering from certain physical conditions that may affect the biosynthetic pathway in which the arginine is produced in the body.

Who needs arginine supplementation?

In most cases, people with protein malnutrition, excessive ammonia production and excessive lysine intake will need to obtain this nonessential amino acid from food. People with burns, infections, peritoneal dialysis, peritoneal dialysis, sepsis, or those who are rapidly growing, may also need supplementation. There are certain physical manifestations of arginine deficiency and they typically include slow wound healing, loss of hair, rashes on the skin, problems with constipation and fatty liver. If there is not enough arginine in the body, supplementation is highly recommended since this amino acid helps the body to get rid of waste product of protein production (ammonia), and stimulates the production of insulin. Arginine benefits

Because it is so important for the overall health, supplementation may benefit certain health conditions including congestive heart failure, dementia, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, colds, interstitial cystitis, male infertility, migraines, sexual dysfunction in women, etc. It also helps to improve the immune system and athletic performance. It may help to ease the symptoms of angina and reduce the recovery time after infections and diseases.

Foods containing arginine

Arginine is found in many foods including plant and animal proteins, dairy products, meats, poultry, fish and nuts. Best animal sources include beef, pork, poultry, wild game, seafood and dairy products. It is also found in gelatin, a translucent tasteless solid substance, derived from the collagen inside animals' skin and bones.

Vegetarians will probably be more interested in plant sources of arginine, which include wheat germ and flour, granola, oatmeal, buckwheat, various nuts, seeds, chickpeas, cooked soybeans and canary grass.

Side effects

Arginine food supplement is generally safe when taken appropriately by mouth short-term. However, it may cause mild side effects such as abdominal pain, bloating, allergies, airway inflammation, worsening of asthma, and low blood pressure. It can also make the herpes worse, since herpes virus needs this amino acid to multiply.

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