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L Arginine
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L-Arginine was first isolated in 1886. In 1932, scientists learned that L-arginine is needed to create urea, a waste product that is necessary for toxic ammonia to be removed from the body. In 1939, researchers discovered that L-arginine is also needed to make creatine. Creatine breaks down into creatinine at a constant rate, and it is cleared from the body by the kidneys.

Arginine is considered a semi-essential amino acid because even though the body normally makes enough of it, supplementation is sometimes needed. For example, people with protein malnutrition, excessive ammonia production, excessive lysine intake, burns, infections, peritoneal dialysis, rapid growth, urea synthesis disorders, or sepsis may not have enough arginine. Symptoms of arginine deficiency include poor wound healing, hair loss, skin rash, constipation, and fatty liver.

Arginine changes into nitric oxide, which causes blood vessel relaxation (vasodilation). Early evidence suggests that arginine may help treat medical conditions that improve with vasodilation, such as chest pain, clogged arteries (called atherosclerosis), coronary artery disease, erectile dysfunction, heart failure, intermittent claudication/peripheral vascular disease, and blood vessel swelling that causes headaches (vascular headaches). Arginine also triggers the body to make protein and has been studied for wound healing, bodybuilding, enhancement of sperm production (spermatogenesis), and prevention of wasting in people with critical illnesses.

Arginine hydrochloride has a high chloride content and has been used to treat metabolic alkalosis.

What is L-Arginine?
An essential amino acid that plays an important role in cell division, the healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immune function, and the release of hormones.

Where it is found
Animal sources
Beef, pork (bacon, ham), dairy products, chicken, turkey and seafood are significant sources of L-arginine. These animal proteins can also be high in fat, which is not ideal for a healthy diet. And meats are higher in L-lysine content, which is an amino acid that utilizes the same metabolic pathway as L-arginine. The intake of one amino-acid can decrease the effects of the other. This should be considered when you are trying to increase the amount of L-arginine in the body.

Vegetable sources
Plant proteins contain larger amounts of L-arginine than animal sources. Almonds, Brazil nuts, pecans, cashews, hazelnuts, walnuts, buckwheat, wheat germ, wheat flour, seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin), raisins, brown rice, oats, granola, chickpeas and coconut are all excellent sources of L-arginine.


Product related PDF file
Arginine & Vascular Health
Health Benefits of Arginine
The Arginine Solution

Benefits / uses
L-arginine is converted in the body into a chemical called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to open wider for improved blood flow. L-arginine also stimulates the release of growth hormone, insulin, and other substances in the body.
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Improving recovery after surgery: Taking L-arginine with ribonucleic acid (RNA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) before surgery or afterwards seems to help reduce the recovery time, reduce the number of infections, and improve wound healing after surgery.


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Congestive heart failure: Taking L-arginine along with usual treatment seems to help eliminate extra fluids that are a problem in congestive heart failure. But taking L-arginine doesn’t always improve exercise tolerance or quality of life.


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Chest pain associated with coronary artery disease (angina pectoris). Taking L-arginine seems to decrease symptoms and improve exercise tolerance and quality of life in people with angina. But L-arginine doesn’t seem to improve the disease itself.


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Bladder inflammation. Taking L-arginine seems to improve symptoms, but it may take up to three months of treatment to see improvement.


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Wasting and weight loss in people with HIV/AIDS, when used with hydroxymethylbutyrate (HMB) and glutamine. This combination seems to increase body weight, particularly lean body mass, and improve the immune system.


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Preventing loss of effect of nitroglycerin in people with angina pectoris.


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Problems with erections of the penis (erectile dysfunction).


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Improving kidney function in kidney transplant patients taking cyclosporine.


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Preventing inflammation of the digestive tract in premature infants.


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Cramping pain and weakness in the legs associated with blocked arteries (intermittent claudication).
Doses


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For congestive heart failure: doses range from 6-20 grams per day, as three divided doses.


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For chest pain associated with coronary artery disease (angina pectoris): 3-6 grams three times per day for up to one month.


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For preventing the loss of the effectiveness of nitroglycerin in relieving pain in people with chest pain due to coronary artery disease (angina pectoris): 700 mg four times daily.


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For organic erectile dysfunction (ED): 5 grams per day. Taking lower doses might not be effective.


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For preventing inflammation of the digestive tract in premature infants: 261 mg/kg added to oral feedings daily for the first 28 days of life.

Possible Side effects / Precautions / Possible Interactions:
L-arginine is POSSIBLY SAFE for most people when taken appropriately by mouth short-term. It can cause some side effects such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, gout, blood abnormalities, allergies, airway inflammation, worsening of asthma, and low blood pressure.

Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: L-arginine is POSSIBLY SAFE when used appropriately short-term in pregnancy. Not enough is known about using L-arginine long-term in pregnancy or during breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Children: L-arginine is POSSIBLY SAFE when used by mouth in premature infants in appropriate doses. When used in high doses, L-arginine is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Doses that are too high can cause serious side effects including death in children.

Allergies or asthma: L-arginine can cause an allergic response or make swelling in the airways worse. If you decide to take L-arginine, use it with caution.

Herpes: There is a concern that L-arginine might make herpes worse. There is some evidence that L-arginine is needed for the herpes virus to multiply.

Low blood pressure: L-arginine might lower blood pressure. This could be a problem if you already have low blood pressure.

Recent heart attack: There is a concern that L-arginine might increase the risk of death after a heart attack, especially in older people. If you have had a heart attack recently, don’t take L-arginine.

Surgery: L-arginine might affect blood pressure. There is a concern that it might interfere with blood pressure control during and after surgery. Stop taking L-arginine at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Research studies / References

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Laumann et al. Sexual Dysfunction in the United States: Prevalence and Predictors. JAMA.October 6, 1999; 281: 537-544.


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Wright, J, M.D. and Lenard L PhD, Maximize Your Vitality & Potency For Men Over 40, Smart Publications, Petaluma, CA, 1999, p. 225.


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Meston CM, Worcel M. The effects of yohimbine plus L-arginine glutamate on sexual arousal in postmenopausal women with sexual arousal disorder. Arch Sex Behav. 2002 Aug; 31(4): 323-32.


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Ito TY, Trant AS, Polan ML. A double-blind placebo-controlled study of ArginMax, a nutritional supplement for enhancement of female sexual function. J Sex Marital Ther. 2001 Oct-Dec; 27(5): 541-9.


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Chen, J. et al. (1999). "Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: Results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study." British Journal of Urology International; 83(3): 269-73.


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Klotz T, Mathers MJ, Braun M, Bloch W, Engelmann U. Effectiveness of oral L-arginine in first-line treatment of erectile dysfunction in a controlled crossover study. Urol Int. 1999; 63(4): 220-3.


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Moody JA, Vernet D, Laidlaw S, Rajfer J, Gonzalez-Cadavid NF. Effects of long-term oral administration of L-arginine on the rat erectile response. J Urol. 1997 Sep; 158(3 Pt 1): 942-7.


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Cooper, M.D., M.P.H., Kenneth H., Advanced Nutritional Therapies (Nashville: 1996, Thomas Nelson, Inc. Publishers), pp 87-88, 93, 94. ISBN 0-7852-7302-6.


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Hendler, M.D., Ph.D., Sheldon Saul, The Doctor's Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia (New York: 1990, Fireside), pp 209-215. ISBN 0-671-66784-X


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Mindell, Ph.D., Earl, Earl Mindell's Anti-Aging Bible (New York: 1996, Fireside), pp 23-24. ISBN 0-684-81106-5.


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Broeders MA, Tangelder GJ, Slaaf DW, Reneman RS, oude Egbrink MG. Hypercholesterolemia enhances thromboembolism in arterioles but not venules: complete reversal by L-arginine.Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2002 Apr 1; 22(4): 680-5.


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Lin PH, Johnson CK, Pullium JK, Bush RL, Conklin BS, Chen C, Lumsden AB.L-arginine improves endothelial vasoreactivity and reduces thrombogenicity after thrombolysis in experimental deep venous thrombosis. J Vasc Surg. 2003 Dec; 38(6): 1396-403.


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Michelakis ED, McMurtry MS, Sonnenberg B, Archer SL. The NO - K+ channel axis in pulmonary arterial hypertension. Activation by experimental oral therapies. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2003; 543: 293-322.


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Maxwell AJ, Zapien MP, Pearce GL, MacCallum G, Stone PH Randomized trial of a medical food for the dietary management of chronic, stable angina. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2002 Jan 2; 39(1): 37-45.


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Amrani M, Gray CC, Smolenski RT, Goodwin AT, London A, Yacoub MH.The effect of L-arginine on myocardial recovery after cardioplegic arrest and ischemia under moderate and deep hypothermia. Circulation. 1997 Nov 4; 96(9 Suppl): II-274-9.


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Chagan L, Ioselovich A, Asherova L, Cheng JW. Use of alternative pharmacotherapy in management of cardiovascular diseases. Am J Manag Care. 2002 Mar; 8(3): 270-85; quiz 286-8.


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Novaes MR, Lima LA. [Effects of dietetic supplementation with L-arginine in cancer patients. A review of the literature] [Article in Portuguese] Arch Latinoam Nutr. 1999 Dec; 49(4): 301-8.