Arginine

Arginine

  Arginine is a vitally important amino acid that has been studied for more than fifty years. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and protein is the building block of all living cells. The greatest portion of human body weight, after water, is protein. On the cellular level, the principal function of DNA is to provide the “blueprints” for production of hundreds of different proteins, each constructed from unique sequences of amino acids that are held together by peptide bonds. There are more than twenty commonly known amino acids, and additional amino acids are periodically identified, classified, and studied. A healthier liver can produce approximately 80 percent of the body’s required amino acids. They are termed the “nonessential” amino acids. Not because they lack importance, quite the contrary, but because the body can synthesize them from other amino acids obtained from dietary sources. The human body, for example, can readily synthesize arginine to ornithine, or ornithine to arginine. The remaining 20 percent of amino acids required by humans are termed “essential” amino acids because they cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from dietary sources. The body’s ability to synthesize the nonessential amino acids and to utilize all amino acids, can be adversely affected by and individual’s advancing age, overall health, organ health, the presence of infection, physical trauma, effects of stress, compromised nutrient absorption capacity, and imbalances of other nutrients. The study of amino acids is making a major contribution to the understanding of diseases. Amino acid therapies have been used successfully to prevent ageing, prevent heart disease, enhance memory, eliminate depression, control stress, improve sleep, relieve arthritis, reduce herpes, arrest alcoholism, manage allergies, and promote hair growth. Arginine has been linked to enhanced immunity, the release of GH4, greater muscle mass, rapid healing from injury, increased sexual potency, and helping to reverse artherosclerosis. Sometimes one amino acid can cancel the effect of another. For example, arginine is reported to have an antagonistic relationship with lysine. On the other hand, arginine has a complementary relationship with ornithine, citrulline, and aspartic acid. Signs of Deficiency: Deficiency produces symptoms of muscle weakness similar to muscular dystrophy. Arginine-deficiency impairs insulin production, glucose production, and liver lipid metabolism. Conditional deficiencies of arginine or ornithine are associated with the presence of excessive ammonia  in the blood, excessive lysine, rapid growth, pregnancy, trauma, and protein deficiency or malnutrition. Arginine deficiency is also associated with rash, hair loss and hair breakage, poor wound healing, constipation, fatty liver, hepatic cirrhosis, and hepatic coma. Forms: Arginine, like most amino acids, can have one of two forms; the L-form and the D-form. These two forms are mirror images of each other with the L-form molecule rotating in a spiral to the L (L for “levo” which is Latin for “left”) and the D-form spiraling to the right (D for “dextro,” Latin for “right”). The L-form of arginine (and most other amino acids) is more compatible with human biochemistry, such that L-arginine is the only form recommended. Most researchers recommend the free (also called undigested) forms of amino acids, which do not need to be digested and are absorbed directly into blood for distribution throughout the body. In hospital settings, arginine may be prescribed for therapeutic purposes in the forms of di-peptides, tri-peptides, or hydrolysates but generally the free form is considered best, particularly the L-form. Some nutrition scientists advise that supplementation of L-arginine and lysine may have mutually negativing effects such that the benefits of neither are fully expressed. Other experts however, recommend “stacking” (taking more than individual amino acid supplements at the same time) to boost their effects. Arginine and lysine supplements taken together amplify the effects of both, for example: reportedly increasing GH4 release by four times that of arginine alone. Another researcher suggests supplementation of dietary amino acids should be based the combination of L-arginine, L-lysine and Lornithine to stimulate GH4 production. According to Medical Director Giampapa of the Longevity Institute International (in Montclair, New Jersey), the optimal oral daily supplementation of amino acids should include 2 grams arginine plus 2 grams ornithine plus 1 gram lysine plus 1 gram glutamine. Further studies are required to determine optimal dosages and combinations of dosages. To achieve greatest effectiveness as a GH4 releaser L-arginine should be consumed on an empty stomach at bedtime. GH4 release occurs 30-60 minutes after falling asleep and also during and just following vigorous exercise. Arthritis. Found in high concentrations in the connective tissues, arginine is a component of collagen that plays a vital role in the production of new tissue and bone cells. Alzheimer’s Patients. Arginine may prove helpful in treating Alzheimer’s because it raises polyamine  levels. Cancer Patients. Arginine retards tumor growth by enhancing immune function. Arginine increases the size and activity of the thymus gland, which produces T-cells. Large doses of arginine can lower polyamines, which are present in various cancers in elevated levels. Arginine has been found to inhibit the growth of several types of tumors in laboratory mice. Liver Disorders. Arginine aids in liver detoxification by neutralizing ammonia and may benefit in the treatment of liver disorder such as liver injury, hepatic, cirrhosis, and fatty liver degeneration. Weight Loss. Arginine facilitates a reduction in body fat while increasing lean muscle mass. Arginine inhibits the absorption of dietary fat. Body Building. More than fifty research studies reportedly support the value of arginine supplementation for athletes. Arginine is considered to be key to efficient muscle metabolism because of its role from arginine, as are guanidophosphate and phosphoarginine, all of which have roles in muscle metabolism. After a vigorous workout, the body has increased testosterone and GH4 production for a period lasting approximately two hours. During this timeframe, dietary arginine and ornithine can contribute to a hormonal environment that produces increased protein synthesis and muscle growth. Fertility. Seminal fluid contains substantial quantities of arginine and arginine may be beneficial in treating sterility in men. In one study, men with low sperm counts took 4 grams of arginine orally, with 80% of the men showing significant improvement, in some cases resulting in pregnancies. Arginine is also noted by one researcher for its ability to increase libido and induce erections. Arginine, ornithine, and aspartic acid have been shown to have a positive effect on sperm viability and motility. Inherited Urea Cycle Disorders (Rare). Arginine therapy is employed in the treatment of arginemia, citrullinemia, and argininosuccinic aciduria. Anti-Aging Considerations. Arginine is involved in the production of a variety of enzymes and hormones. Arginine facilitates the release of GH4, stimulates the pancreas for insulin production and is a component in the hormone vasopressin produced by the pituitary gland. One mechanism for arginine as  a GH4 releaser may be its capacity for blocking secretion of the GH4-inhibitor: somatostatin. GH4-release by means of arginine may offer benefits in the treatment of fractures and injuries, as well as strengthening the immune system, building lean muscle, burning fat, and reversing many of the effects of aging. The elderly respond to arginine with substantially increased levels of glucose and growth hormone. A study at the Division of Endocrinology at the University of Turin involving normal adults aged 66-82 who tripled the level of GH4 in their blood after administration of 30-gram injections of arginine. Arginine is essential for optimum growth and in the regulation of protein metabolism. The main source of energy for muscle and other cells is glucose, but glucose metabolism produces ammonia, which is toxic unless rapidly converted to another compound. The primary metabolic role of arginine is in stimulating the enzyme that starts the urea cycle, which converts ammonia into a less toxic compound called urea that the blood carries to the kidneys for excretion. As a cholesterol fighter, a high ratio of arginine-to-lysine is recommended. In the urea cycle, citrulline is a precursor of arginine, so it may be that foods rich in citrulline (onions, scallions, garlic) lower cholesterol because the citrulline is converted to arginine in the body. As a booster of the immune system, arginine stimulates the thymus and promotes lymphocyte production. 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. However, arginine facilitates the maintenance of the gland’s proper size and normal production of lymphocytes. In support of brain function, arginine is believed to serve as a precursor to nitric oxide, a neurotransmitter. Nitric oxide plays a role in the dilation and constriction of small blood vessels in brain. Therefore, arginine may have a positive effect on cerebral circulation. Arginine pyroglutamate is cited for having cognitive-enhancing effects. Related to its neurotransmitter function and its role as a precursor of NO, L-arginine has been noted for its critical role in stimulating healthy sex drive and enhanced sexual performance in men. L-arginine is one of the most powerful tools in any anti-aging program because of its functional value in promoting the production of GH4 and other hormones, strengthening the immune system, improving lean muscle mass and reducing fat, regulating several vital metabolic processes, improving cholesterol profiles, supporting brain function, and enhancing sexuality. Hundreds of studies have been undertaken to date, and clearly arginine merits further research. by the Vitality Research Institute at www.primev.com/Arginine.htm