L-Arginine: Health Benefits, Side Effects and Usage

Proteins form the most important nutrient in any diet as it is basic foundation for the growth of anything in the body. A diet rich in protein is critical for the proper growth and maintenance of the body. Some of the most important components derived from proteins include amino acids. Out of these amino acids, a very strong and significant one is Arginine (also known as L-Arginine).
This amino acid is easily available in most foods and chances are that you are already getting enough L-Arginine for yourself through your diet alone. But there are cases where people might be having a deficiency of this macro nutrient. After all, L-Arginine is almost an essential macro nutrient. This means that your body does produce a considerable amount of the compound but the majority of the requirement is to be fulfilled by a proper diet. In such cases, you may get recommended to try supplements rich in L-Arginine.
L-Arginine supplements
However, the consumption of these supplements are not as simple as other common supplements. This is because of the fact that a higher concentration of this amino acid may be harmful to the body. As such, the intake of these health supplements should be exercised with much caution. This article will highlight all the benefits and side effects that one must keep in mind regarding L-Arginine. Let us see which foods give you an optimum amount of L-Arginine to your body.

Foods rich in L-Arginine

As mentioned, this nutrient can be widely found in many common sources of food. These foods include:

  • Beef
  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Milk products
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Beans and legumes
  • Soya
  • Chicken
  • Nuts and seeds

The inclusion of these very common foods would ensure that your body gets the required amount of L-Arginine. The best part is that it is very easy to have these in your diet. Now let us see how the consumption of foods having a good concentration of L-Arginine helps you.

Health Benefits of L-Arginine

Regulates your flow of blood

It has been theoretically established that the absorption of L-Arginine leads to the synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) in the body. Extensive studies have shown that nitric oxide acts as vasodilator. This means that it works to expand your blood vessels and facilitates the passage of blood. As such, it helps you deal with various health conditions associated with the passage of blood through the blood vessels such as vascular disease, arteries and blood pressure issues.

Promotes good heart health

Studies by various organisations have showed that the presence of L-Arginine in the bloodstream helps to deal with several health issues related to the heart such as artery blockage, heart disease and angina. It avoids the shrinking of the arteries and thereby, maintains a good supply of blood to every part of the body.
Most importantly, with free flow characteristics of the blood through the arteries, the heart functions more efficiently.
However, this also includes certain facts pointing out the fact that the consumption of this amino acid post heart attack may be severely harmful. In fact, your health condition may even take a fatal turn in this case.
Therefore, though studies do indicate that L-Arginine may potentially aid your heart in better functioning, it is to be noted that there are some severe health concerns that have to be absolutely kept in mind.

Helps to deal with erectile dysfunction (ED)

Research has shown that the consumption of L-Arginine offers decent amount of improvement in erectile dysfunction (ED). The reason is pretty simple. With a substantial enhancement in the flow of blood throughout the body, the penis is naturally going to get higher blood inflow. This directly leads to stronger, harder erections. In addition, it was also demonstrated that the intake of L-Citrulline supplements also help to improve conditions of erectile dysfunction. This happens because your body naturally converts L-Citrulline into L-Arginine.

May boost the immune system

Some studies have indicated that L-Arginine can power up your immune system and boost its defense functionality. Going by this study, many medical practitioners prescribe L-Arginine supplements to help in combating inflammation, speed up the healing of injuries and promote quick recovery after a surgical procedure.

Improves stamina and endurance levels

A study has shown that the intake of L-Arginine supplements before working out improved the endurance and stamina exhibited by professional wrestlers during their daily schedule. It took them more time than before to start feeling the effects of fatigue.

May help with diabetes

Some animal studies have indicated that the addition of L-Arginine supplements into daily life can help to improve tolerance towards glucose. As such, there is better management of blood sugar levels. Accordingly, it can potentially help you to control diabetes.

L-Arginine: Side Effects

As it has been mentioned previously, L-Arginine should be consumed with extreme caution as it has been medically associated with some concerning side effects. These include:

  • Excessive bleeding.
  • Fluctuations in blood pressure.
  • Variations in blood sugar levels.
  • An unstable composition of potassium (K) in the body.

It is pretty obvious that L-Arginine has a number of side effects that can cause severe problems to one’s body.
If you are facing erectile dysfunction (ED) issues and are taking medication for the same, one should be very careful about L-Arginine. Since this amino acid is associated with fluctuations in blood pressure that can become a real problem.
Regardless of whether you have an underlying health condition or not, one should always consult their doctor before trying any L-Arginine supplements.
The concentration of L-Arginine in foods is safe enough to not cause any side effects. So including this chemical compound into your regular diet would never cause any issues.

Conclusion

L-Arginine is a semi-essential macronutrient that does have its set of benefits to the body. For those who follow a proper diet, there is absolutely no need to worry about getting enough dosage for the bodily needs. However, people with deficiency of this nutrient would need supplements.
Since it comes with various side effects, there should absolutely be a medical consultation with your doctor to understand the specific directions of usage for yourself. The synthesis of nitric oxide is a very welcome benefit as it comes with many corresponding advantages to the body. Once you are cleared by the doctor to take these supplements, you can definitely see your body gain many health benefits from its careful usage.