Arginine is a relatively exogenous amino acid. Young people should deliver it to the body along with the diet, while adults are able to endogenously produce adequate amounts of arginine. In recent years, the significant effect of arginine on the body has been discovered, so it is worth taking care of its appropriate level. To ensure proper supply, it is worth knowing where arginine is, how it works and whether it should be supplemented?
The occurrence of arginine
The pool of arginine in the body, in addition to endogenous changes and intracellular protein degradation, also affects the supply of amino acids with diet. Especially for its correct level should be taken care of in the case of increased demand of the system – in the case of injuries, disease states and moments of significant burden on the body excess catabolic processes. Along with the progressive aging of the body, the production of endogenous arginine decreases and it is recommended to supplement it with the diet.
The rich source of arginine are products containing animal and vegetable protein soy, beef, pork, turkey, walnuts, cashews, hazelnuts, groundnuts, brazilian, sesame, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, almonds, linseed, chocolate, buckwheat and mackerel. Small amounts are also found in milk proteins. Only half of the arginine supplied with food to the body as a result of digestion is absorbed into the blood, and 40% breaks down in the small intestine.
The action of arginine
Arginine is formed in the urea cycle and is involved in the synthesis of proteins, creatine, urea, proline, polyamines and nitric oxide. The amino acid has a regulatory function and stimulates the secretion of glucagon, insulin, prolactin and growth hormone. The metabolic pathways of arginine vary depending on particular organs and cells.
Arginine affects the proper functioning and protection of the liver. It provides detoxification of the body by converting toxic ammonia into urea in the urea cycle.
Arginine is a substrate in the synthesis of creatine, which is a precursor to the index of normal kidney function – creatinine. Creatine plays a key role in muscle energy, influencing the improvement of oxygen metabolism and lowering the level of lactic acid. In the case of training people, this allows you to increase training loads, increase muscle mass and reduce the amount of fat.
The supply of arginine also influences the production of growth hormone (GH). GH affects the immune system and the central nervous system. Too large amounts of growth hormone negatively affect the body, increase the risk of cancer and reduce the uptake of glucose, which is an energy substrate, especially in endurance sports. The supply of arginine before bedtime stimulates the secretion of GH even more.
Arginine in the vascular endothelium is responsible for the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO), which stimulates the immune system, reduces inflammation, facilitates wound healing (especially in the case of burns) and dilates blood vessels. In addition, it is involved in the relaxation of smooth muscles, improves blood circulation and helps regenerate damaged muscle fibers. NO deficiency has a significant effect on the formation of atherosclerotic plaque and oxidation of LDL cholesterol molecules.
The amino acid also delays the body’s aging process thanks to its antioxidant properties and its influence on the synthesis of collagen. Arginine is needed for the production of sperm, keeping the right amount of sperm and their motility. In addition, it has a positive effect on intestinal microbiota and improves insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes, which reduces the risk of developing the disease and its subsequent complications.
The dosage of arginine
Arginine is used in the form of pure, isolated amino acid L-arginine or as synthetic compounds – AAKG (arginine with glutaric acid), hydrogen chloride or L-arginine malate. The best assimilable form is the one closest to the natural one found in food.
Arginine as a drug is used in diseases of the circulatory hypertension, ischemic disease, atherosclerosis, cerebral infarctions and blood clots, as well as in diabetes, glaucoma, infertility in men, burns and infections.
Arginine is very often supplemented by athletes to support the body’s exercise capacity. Unfortunately, there are no unequivocal studies that prove the beneficial effect of arginine supplementation in strength and endurance sports.
The recommended daily dose of arginine should be 5 grams – this is the basic dose, without any side effects. The pre- workout preparation is the most effective . If high doses of arginine are used, gastrointestinal discomfort (nausea, diarrhea, dehydration) may arise.
Contraindications to the use of arginine
Arginine should not be supplemented by people suffering from schizophrenia, pregnant women, nursing mothers, people taking anticoagulants, people with renal insufficiency, liver and bile ducts, digestive and absorption disorders and advanced hypertension.
Each supplementation should be supported by laboratory tests and consultation with a doctor. In addition, there should be a few hours between taking a dietary supplement and a medicine so that interaction does not intervene between them.
Opinions about arginine
Arginine is an amino acid necessary for the proper functioning of the body, while both excess and deficiency is not beneficial to the body. If there is too much arginine in the system, too much nitric oxide is produced, and this completely reverses its effect – instead of lowering blood pressure, it increases and stiffens the blood vessels, instead of making them more elastic. In addition, administration of high doses of arginine may disrupt the balance of other amino acids.
A rational and well-balanced diet allows you to provide the right amount of arginine so that you can feel the positive effect of this amino acid on the body.