l-arginine

Can L-Arginine help build muscle? (evidence based)

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When you consume proteins, during digestion they will get broken down into amino acids. There are 20 amino acids in total and some are essential. By essential, we mean that your body cannot produce them naturally. So, it will obtain the essential amino acids from your consumed foods, for instance. One of those amino acids obtained from protein is L-Arginine.

L-Arginine benefits

L-Arginine is an essential amino acid, and is mainly used by athletes as it directly produces nitric oxide (blood flow).

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Can L-Arginine help with muscle building?

Healthy blood flow is beneficial for your muscles as it can provide them with nutrients and oxygen during exercise.  Think about it, when you exercise and you begin to run out of oxygen or unable to get enough oxygen in time, you can find yourself in a situation where your legs or arms begin to slow down as you gasp for air. Therefore,  theoretically speaking you should be able to exercise for longer period of time if you have a healthy blood flow.

Does L-Arginine supplement work?

There have been some studies showing the little increase in blood flow but these have been paired with studies that demonstrated no effects.

For instance, a study conducted by Department of Kinesiology and community health (2009) examined the effects of L-Arginine on blood flow during resistance training. The participants included 17 overweight men who were supplemented with 7g of L-Arginine before their exercise and the results demonstrated NO significant difference in blood pressure or blood flow.

Likewise, another study conducted by Institute of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology (2008) examined the effects of L-citrulline and L-Arginine supplementation on blood flow. The trial involved 20 overweight/obese women and men. The study reported an increase in nitric oxide metabolites, but it failed to affect the blood flow. This is quite strange because nitric oxide widens blood vessels which in turn, should have improved blood flow.

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How can this be?

The effects of L-arginine can be mellowed by the fact that it is hard to digest and our body will not use it until we reach a specific level of activity. In other words, L-Arginine absorption depends on your activity level and exercise.

Therefore, if you work in a sedentary job or occasionally exercise, L-Arginine will have little effect on you. You could say athletes will benefit more than non-athletes as they put their bodies under stress often.

Can anyone else benefit?

This supplement seems to be working well for people with chronic conditions like hyper tension and type 2 Diabetes. These condition, degrade L-Arginine resulting in a deficiency (Patel,2019). Therefore, supplementation with L-arginine may help with some symptoms that come with this condition.

Dosage

A standard pre-workout dosage seems to be set at 3-6g but any more than 10g can lead to stomach distress (Patel, 2019).

Foods containing Arginine

Dried walnuts, almonds, pine nuts, turkey, chicken, beef, soy beans, chickpeas and seaweed.

Conclusion

In conclusion, L-Arginine might work better for athletes who exercise for lengthy periods of time as their bodies will be under so much stress. This will allow them to tap into that supplement but otherwise your body will struggle to absorb the supplement. Also, people who have certain chronic disease that  degrade their levels of L-Arginine may benefit from this supplement. However, overall the studies are not conclusive. At this point we would suggest more studies before making a conclusion.

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References

Fahs CA, e. (2009). Hemodynamic and vascular response to resistance exercise with L-arginine. – PubMed – NCBI. [online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19276857 [Accessed 18 Jul. 2019].

Fletcher, J. (2018). High-arginine foods: Sources, benefits, and risks. [online] Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323259.php [Accessed 8 Nov. 2019].

Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B. (2019). Milk Protein Research Analysis. [online] Examine.com. Available at: https://examine.com/supplements/milk-protein/ [Accessed 18 Jul. 2019].

Frank, K., Patel, K., Lopez, G. and Willis, B. (2019). Arginine Research Analysis. [online] Examine.com. Available at: https://examine.com/supplements/arginine/ [Accessed 18 Jul. 2019].

Schwedhelm E, Maas R, Freese R, Jung D, Lukacs Z, Jambrecina A, Spickler W, Schulze F, Böger RH. (2008). Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic properties of oral L-citrulline and L-arginine: impact on nitric oxide metabolism.[online] Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov Available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17662090 [Accessed 07 April 2019]

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