The Science of L-Arginine

PS VPlusIn 1998 three American scientists were awarded the Noble Prize in Medicine for their discovery that the body uses a gas molecule called nitric oxide (NO) to relax andwiden blood vessels—a finding that is paying off in the treatment of heart disease.

How ironic that 100 years earlier, when Alfred Nobel, the creator of both dynamite and the Nobel Prize, was taken ill with heart disease…his doctor prescribed for him nitroglycerine, which he refused.

 

But 100 years later, the nitroglycerine in his dynamite actually led to his Nobel Prize being awarded for the discovery that nitric oxide is the gas molecule released in the nitroglycerine that has the life-saving effect of increasing blood flow and preventing a heart attack.

The subject of a great deal of intense research by conventional medicine, nutritional therapists and sports scientists for at least fifty years, arginine is now regarded as one of the most important and potentially beneficial amino acids.  A thousand times more powerful than any other naturally occurring antioxidant, Arginine is a valuable precursor of nitric oxide, an important transmitter of neural nerve impulses, and a compound known to help maintain circulation in the tiny blood vessels of the brain, protecting against debilitating and possibly fatal strokes.

Many studies have found that arginine supplements can boost nitric oxide production and therefore may help aid in the resistance of heart disease and circulatory diseases. Arginine stimulates the immune system, treats impotency and may fight against cancer.  Some have also suggested that Arginine can improve the function of blood vessels, enhance coronary blood flow, lower blood pressure, and even reduce angina or other symptoms in people with heart disease and/or vascular disease.

Arginine is a vitally important amino acid that has been studied for more than fifty years. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and protein is the building block of all living cells. The greatest portion of human body weight, after water, is protein. On the cellular level, the principal function of DNA is to provide the “blueprints” for production of hundreds of different proteins, each constructed from unique sequences of amino acids that are held together by peptide bonds. There are more than twenty commonly known amino acids, and additional amino acids are periodically identified, classified, and studied.

Arginine is NOT A DRUG. It contains no herbs, steroids or hormones. Arginine supplements have been used safely and legally by professional athletes participating in the Olympic Games, the NBA, the NFL, the MLB, the IFBB world body-building competitions, the WPF power lifting events, the Iron Man competition, fitness pageants and many other sporting events.

Necessary for the production of protein, L-arginine also helps rid the body of ammonia (a waste product) and stimulates the release of insulin. In addition, L-arginine is used to make nitric oxide (a compound that relaxes the blood vessels).

Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that has shown promise in the prevention of arteriosclerosis (blockage of the arteries). L-arginine is a pure 100% free form arginine and is the precursor for endothelium-derived nitric oxide (EDNO). Three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize In Medicine in 1998 for discovering nitric oxide’s role as a vasodilator. In a healthy endothelium (inner wall of a blood vessel), nitric oxide (NO) will keep vessels pliable and elastic, dilate (open up) blood vessels keeping blood flowing smoothly, relax blood vessels, keep platelets and white blood cells calm and prevent them from sticking to the vessel wall, prevent oxidation, slow plaque growth, suppress arteriosclerosis and melt away plaque that already exists.

After arginine is consumed in foods and in supplements, it makes its way into the bloodstream and circulates throughout the body. As it enters the endothelial cells that line the smooth muscle walls of blood vessels, an enzymatic reaction occurs that converts arginine to nitric oxide. As the levels of arginine rise in the body, so does your production of nitric oxide, which in turn can have a dramatic and positive effect on your cardiovascular health.

A healthy liver can produce approximately 80 percent of the body’s required amino acids. They are termed the “nonessential” amino acids, not because they lack importance, quite the contrary, but because the body can synthesize them from other amino acids obtained from dietary sources. The human body, for example, can readily synthesize arginine to ornithine, or ornithine to arginine. The remaining 20 percent of amino acids required by humans are termed “essential” amino acids because they cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. The body’s ability to synthesize the nonessential amino acids such as arginine, and to utilize all amino acids, can be adversely affected by an individual’s advancing age, overall health, organ health, the presence of infection, physical trauma such as injury, effects of stress, compromised nutrient absorption capacity, and imbalances of other nutrients.

The study of amino acids is making a major contribution to the understanding of diseases. Amino acid therapies have been used successfully to prevent aging, prevent heart disease, enhance memory, eliminate depression, control stress, improve sleep, relieve arthritis, reduce herpes, arrest alcoholism, manage allergies, and promote hair growth.

 

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