Arginine is an α-amino acid. It was first isolated in 1886 by the Swiss chemist Ernst Schultze from a lupin seedling extract. The L-form is one of the 20 most common natural amino acids.Arginine is classified as a semiessential or conditionally essential amino acid, depending on the developmental stage and health status of the individual.Arginine is a conditionally nonessential amino acid, meaning that most of the time it can be manufactured by the human body, and does not need to be obtained directly through the diet. The biosynthetic pathway, however, does not produce sufficient arginine, and some must still be consumed through diet. Individuals with poor nutrition or certain physical conditions may be advised to increase their intake of foods containing arginine. Arginine is found in a wide variety of foods, including
- Animal sources
dairy products (e.g., cottage cheese, milk, yogurt, whey protein drinks), beef, pork (e.g., bacon, ham), gelatin , poultry (e.g. chicken and turkey light meat), wild game (e.g. pheasant, quail), seafood (e.g., halibut, lobster, salmon, shrimp, snails, tuna)
- Plant sources
wheat germ and flour, lupins, buckwheat, granola, oatmeal, peanuts, nuts (coconut, pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pinenuts), seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower), chickpeas, cooked soybeans.
- Arginine plays an important role in cell division, the healing of wounds, removing ammonia from the body, immune function, and the release of hormones.
The roles of arginine include:
- Precursor for the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) Non-L-arginine derived NO can be generated by the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway that is monitored through saliva testing.
- Reduces healing time of injuries (particularly bone)
- Quickens repair time of damaged tissue
- Helps decrease blood pressure in clinical hypertensive subjects NO-mediated decrease in blood pressure is influenced by both the L-arginine-dependent nitric oxide synthase pathway and non-L-arginine or alternative pathway through nitrate-rich foods such as beets and spinach.
Over the past 10 years or so, l-arginine has been one of the most popular muscle building supplement ingredients out there.
It is the primary compound found in most pre-workout “nitric oxide boosters”, with the main forms being l-arginine AKG, l-arginine HCl and regular l-arginine.The idea is that since l-arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, and since nitric oxide is a powerful vasodilator (meaning it widens the blood vessels), l-arginine supplementation will increase bloodflow to the working muscles for improved power, endurance and recovery.
Yes, l-arginine is indeed an important substance in the human body and it does play a central role in N0 production.
L-arginine contributes to muscle growth because it is needed for the synthesis of most proteins. While the muscle mass increases, L-arginine also signals muscle cells, encourages the release of growth hormone and promotes fat metabolism. The overall result is the well-toned, lean muscle mass sought by bodybuilders. By reducing the fat stores underneath the skin and promoting muscle growth, L-arginine can increase your fitness and improve strength, which are needed for bodybuilding.
Boosting the Immune System
L-arginine helps maintain overall health by boosting the immune system. It mops up free radicals and increases the effectiveness of the cells of the immune system. Since bodybuilding takes you through repeated physical stress and increases the chances of infections and muscle damage, it is important to ensure that the immune system is always bolstered.
Vasodilation and Endurance
Increased strength through building muscle mass is not the only benefit of L-arginine for bodybuilding. By serving as a precursor for the vasodilator, nitric oxide, L-arginine promotes endurance and muscle conditioning. When nitric oxide is released, it widens the blood vessels by relaxing the muscles of their walls. This lowers blood pressure and increases blood flow to the muscles during workouts. The increased blood flow means that oxygen and nutrients are adequately supplied to your muscles and for longer amounts of time. This can help reduce muscle damage, promote healing and provide peak performance.
Supplementation Dosage for Body Builders
There is no standard L-arginine dosage for bodybuilding, but a range of 2 to 30 g daily is accepted. However, to reduce the occurrence of side effects such as nausea, diarrhea and weakness, you should start with a low dose of 3 to 5 g daily, taken before and after your workouts. After the first week, you increase the dosage to a point where the benefits are maximized and the side effects are reduced. L-arginine supplements should also be taken in cycles by discontinuing the regimen after two months and resuming it after another two months