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L-Arginine for Increased Circulation
 


[Cardiovascular Support | Protein Metabolism | References

L-Arginine is an amino acid present in the proteins of all life forms. Under normal circumstances your body can synthesize sufficient quantities from your diet to meet your needs, but in times of stress conditions, such as trauma and wound healing, you may not be able to manufacture enough. L-Arginine's primary function involves the metabolism of protein and nitrogen. But the scientific community recently became excited about arginine's newfound role as a promoter of cardiovascular health. L-Arginine is the primary precursor to nitric oxide, a small molecule that is responsible for relaxing blood vessels.

L-Arginine is an amino acid that is found in most proteins consumed in your diet. A small amount is produced in the liver but it is predominantly synthesized in the kidneys. L-Arginine has several roles in the body, such as assisting in wound healing, helping remove excess ammonia from the body, stimulating immune function, and promoting secretion of several hormones, including glucagons, insulin, and growth hormone. It plays an important role in muscle metabolism by working to transport, store and excrete nitrogen. L-Arginine is required by the body to synthesize nitric oxide, which is produced by all tissues of the body, and plays important roles in the cardiovascular system, immune system and nervous system. Nitric oxide supports blood vessel dilation, which may help circulation.

Cardiovascular Support

L-Arginine is a nitric oxide precursor. Nitric oxide is formed from arginine via the enzyme nitric oxide synthase or synthasetase (NOS). One of its functions is to regulate smooth muscle contraction. Nitric oxide's effect on blood vessels is the reason nitroglycerine is prescribed for patients with pain that results from inadequate blood flow to the heart. The nitroglycerine is converted to nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels and in turn reduces the workload of the heart.

Protein Metabolism

L-Arginine is a key nutrient in the energy generating Krebs cycle, where it participates in the detoxification of ammonia. Ammonia is a toxic byproduct of energy metabolism. It is converted to urea and eliminated from the body. Any L-arginine not converted to urea enters general circulation, where it is distributed to various tissues and metabolized for other uses such as protein synthesis.

References:

  • Lerman, A. et al. 1998. Long-term L-arginine supplementation improves small-vessel coronary endothelial function in humans. Circulation. 97:2123-2128.
  • Creager M. et al. 1992. L-arginine improves endothelium-dependent vasodilation in hypercholesterolemic humans. J Clin Invest. 90:1248-1253.
  • Moncada S., Higgs A. 1993. The L-Arginine -Nitric Oxide Pathway. The New England Journal of Medicine. 329 (27):2002-2012.
     

Reprinted with exclusive permission from Source Naturals. 

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