What is Arginine

Chemical Name: (S)-2-amino-5-guanidinopentanoic acid

Molecular Weight: 174.2

Structrual Formula:

Nitrogen Content: 32.16%


  • Because humans can synthesize arginine, it has been classified as a non-essential amino acid (105)
  • Recent evidence suggests that the rate of synthesis of arginine in the body is insufficient for optimal health (70) — a situation which would re-classify arginine as a semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid

Possible cause of high blood pressure (hypertension)

  • High blood pressure is divided into two categories:
    • Primary Hypertension:
      is high blood pressure that is not due to an underlying health problem
    • Secondary Hypertension:
      is when high blood pressure is a direct result of medications or an underlying health problem

What is nitric oxide (76,107)?

  • Nitric oxide (NO) is produced by the linings of the blood vessels, known as the vascular endothelium
  • Because NO lasts for only a few seconds once produced, its discovery was particularly elusive
  • But, once found, researchers realized that this was the mysterious molecule that controlled blood vessel dilation. In brief, NO causes blood vessels to relax.
  • It opens them up, promoting easy blood flow. Accordingly, NO is also referred to as endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF)

Arginine and Coronary Artery Disease (114)

Arginine and Wound Healing (121)

Arginine and Erectile Dysfunction (114,115)

Arginine and Reductiion of Preterm Uterine Contractions (113)

Arginine and Improvemtn of peripheral and Hepatic insulin sensitivity in Diabetics (112)

Argine and Asthma/Lung Inflammation (106,110,111)

  • Arginine is a key component of the nitric oxide pathway (77) — an important cascade of reactions involved in vasodilation and related to cardiovascular function
  • Arginine supplements have been associated with reductions in symptoms associated with coronary artery disease and may be capable of slowing the progression of atherosclerosis
  • In the body, arginine serves as the substrates for the nitric oxide synthase enzyme, which catalyzes the oxidation of arginine to produce citrulline and nitric oxide (NO)
  • In the cells that line the blood vessels (endothelium cells), nitric oxide production causes vasodilation (78) (opening of the vessels)

NO is involved in the overall regulation of systemic vascular resistance, where it inhibits the adherence of cells and foreign substances to the blood vessel walls and helps suppress the overgrowth of smooth muscle cells in the lining of the vessels

Arginine and cholesterol ( 160)

  • Arginine decreases cholesterol more effectively than any other amino acid (79)
  • Daily doses of 6-17 grams a day have lowered LDL cholesterol without reducing the beneficial HDL cholesterol, and without side effects
  • It also promotes healthy coronary microcirculation (80) in people with high cholesterol, and deters the formation of blood clots, which can lead to heart attack or stroke

Arginine and immune system (108,109)

  • As a booster of the immune system, arginine stimulates the thymus and promotes lymphocyte production (81)
  • This may be the key to arginine’s ability to promote healing of burns and other wounds
  • During stress (good or bad), the thymus gland typically shrinks, and sickness results (81)
  • however, arginine facilitates the maintenance of the gland’s proper size and normal production of lymphocytes (82)

Arginine and brain

  • In support of brain function, arginine is believed to serve as a precursor to nitric oxide (NO), a neurotransmitter (83)
  • Nitric oxide plays a role in the dilation and constriction of small blood vessels in brain (84)
  • Arginine may have a positive effect on cerebral circulation
  • Arginine pyroglutamate is cited for having cognitive-enhancing effects (85)

Arginine and Senile Dementia (116)

Arginine and Infertility (146, 147, 148, 149)

Arginine and Food

  • chocolate
  • wheat germ and flour
  • buckwheat
  • granola
  • oatmeal
  • dairy products (cottage cheese, ricotta, nonfat dry milk, skim yogurt)
  • beef (roasts, steaks)
  • pork (Canadian bacon, ham)
  • nuts (coconut, pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts, peanuts)
  • seeds (pumpkin, sesame, sunflower)
  • poultry (chicken and turkey light meat)
  • wild game (pheasant, quail), seafood (halibut, lobster, salmon, shrimp, snails, tuna in water)
  • chick peas, and cooked soybeans


How much is usually taken (13)

Stimulate immune system For optimal HGH releaseup Heart disease To reduce cholesterol levels
30 grams/day Up to 30 grams/day 20 grams/day 6 grams/day

Side effects of Arginine

  • High-dose arginine supplementation may result in watery diarrhea and sometimes stomach cramps and headaches
  • Individuals with herpes and other viral infections should not take arginine supplements, because arginine seems to promote the viral growth (86)
  • Persons diagnosed as having schizophrenia are advised to avoid dietary supplementation of arginine above 30 milligrams per day
  • According to one physician, doses greater than 40 grams per day may pose dangers to patients with liver and kidney disease
  • Another expert advises against any arginine for patients with liver and kidney disease without the permission of a physician
  • Arginine supplementation is not advised for pregnant women or nursing mothers nor should supplemental amino acids be administered to a child


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