Benefits and Roles of Arginine

By | June 7, 2008

Arginine or L-arginine is quite a well known amino acid that has been found to raise growth hormone levels, and is often included in an amino stack comprising glutamine, arginine, lysine, B-vitamins, and others for bodybuilding. Arginine is important to the body when it is under stress, which is when the demand for it by the body soars. Regular physical workouts will require a higher level of arginine, as will emotional/mental stress. It is a non essential amino acid because the body can synthesize arginine at any rate, but this depends on age and general health condition too.

Among the roles of arginine in the body are:

  • Stimulate HGH release by the pituitary
  • Assist wound healing
  • Increase muscle mass
  • Increase sperm production
  • Maintain the immune system
  • Help the body to synthesize creatine, a substance used for muscle building
  • A precursor to synthesized nitrogen oxide, used to dilate blood vessels

Arginine is quite well known as a muscle building and fertility booster. Arginine is useful on its own or with a combination of other amino acids, since it is relatively cheap to buy, and easy to obtain. In fact, arginine is used in the treatment of erectile dysfunction, but this appears to be due to it being a precursor for nitric oxide, which the body utilizes as a vasodilator. Arginine has been shown to improve sperm count and production, but its main function in anti aging appears to be bigger.

Arginine has been shown to be a HGH stimulant, but you need to remember that it needs to be taken in a sufficient dose, in order for it to work by stimulating the pituitary gland to secrete growth hormone. Many types of protein powder contain arginine, but their amount is often too little to incite any significant HGH release.

Arginine is often used to test for HGH sufficiency or deficiency by a simple intravenous infusion of 15-30 grams. The arginine provokes the pituitary into secreting HGH into the bloodstream. By the same token, arginine can also increase your HGH levels if taken in an optimal dose.

Suggested arginine dosage

A suggested dosage is 2-3 grams per day, taken on an empty stomach, one hour before sleep and exercise. This dosage can be increased gradually to 5 or 6 grams. Excessive arginine can cause diarrhea and nausea, so any increased intake of arginine should only be done gradually. If in doubt, start by taking 1 gram and working up from there.

If you’re having any form of kidney problems, do not take large doses of arginine (or any other amino acid) because it will add to the strain on the kidneys, and worsen the condition of the kidneys.

arginine rich foods

Some common food sources of arginine are:

  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Beans
  • Eggs
  • Meat
  • Seafood
  • Wheatgerm