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Arginine sources, health benefits and uses

Tuesday, September 12, 2017 by

Arginine has a vast load of nutritional benefits that no other amino acid can match. This is possible because of its link with the nitric oxide gas.

It’s ironic, really, that we need nitric oxide for proper health and nutrition and to be able to function in our everyday activities, when nitric oxide is considered a poisonous gas and an air pollutant. But when nitric oxide undergoes several chemical transformations it gets turned into arginine, and that’s when the fun starts.

Medicinal uses for arginine

Athletes are fond of taking arginine – usually in supplement form, before or during workouts – as it can increase blood flow and oxygen delivery.

Arginine is good for the skin. It addresses atopic dermatitis (AD), which is a kind of skin inflammation that is characterized by dry, scaly patches and very itchy skin; people with AD who used a 2.5 percent arginine hydrochloride ointment for four weeks reported an increase in their urine content, which is necessary to flush out harmful toxins in the body.

Arginine also adds moisture to the skin, keeping it nourished. It speeds up the healing of damaged skin cells for the faster healing of wounds. Choose supplements or topical skin ointments that list L-arginine in their nutritional content, rather than just arginine. However, for best results in skin care, you need 16 other amino acids aside from arginine to replenish the skin and bring back its health and youthful glow.

Arginine has antioxidant functions, therefore it helps in eradicating the presence of free radicals that harm otherwise healthy cells in the body, leading to premature aging, diseases, or worse, the formation of carcinogenic tumors.

Arginine has anti-parasitic properties. It can treat malaria, which causes the death of over one million people every year, especially young African children. As a matter of fact, in a recent study, researchers from Australia, Tanzania, and the United States observed 75 Tanzanian children (with an average age of four), of whom 17 had benign malaria and 39 had cerebral malaria (18 of them lost their lives); the rest were healthy children and served as the control group.

The researchers were able to find out that increasing nitric oxide levels through arginine supplementation might prove effective in treating malaria.

Arginine also increases insulin resistance in diabetics.

Body systems supported by arginine

Arginine is good for the respiratory system. Having arginine in the body is essential in fighting acute respiratory failure and pulmonary hypertension. It can treat tuberculosis, the killer of 1.5 million people annually, especially in third-world counttries.

Arginine is good for the cardiovascular system. It can address reperfusion injury in cardiac ischema, which is tissue damage that results during the return of blood supply to the tissue after a period of ischema or lack of oxygen, coronary heart disease, and atherosclerosis, among other heart ailments.

It can also treat sickle cell anemia, which is a red blood cell disorder that affects the hemoglobin, the molecule in red blood cells that delivers oxygen to different cells throughout the body. A person who has sickle cell anemia finds their normally smooth and doughnut-shaped red blood cells twisted into a sickle shape, interfering with their ability to squeeze their way through tiny capillaries and making it hard for blood to flow freely, thereby resulting in anemia.

By the way, sickle cell anemia is the first human disease to ever be explained at the molecular level. This was done by Nobel Prize in Chemistry awardee Linus Carl Pauling in 1949.

Arginine is good for the central nervous system. Evidence shows that it boosts cognitive functions and is essential for improved longh-term memory.

Where to learn more


Arginine adds moisture to the skin, keeping it nourished.

Arginine has anti-parasitic properties.

Arginine also increases insulin resistance in diabetics.

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