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L-arginine is a type of amino acid that is extremely beneficial for your body and aids in the production of protein. On consumption, the amino acid is converted into nitric oxide in the body. It can be obtained through various foods and is  essential for the proper functioning of your body. Naturally, a healthy human body produces the required amount of L-arginine. However, it can also be obtained through a proper diet incorporated of red meat, dairy, seafood etc.
For older adults and individuals with medical conditions, the body's ability to produce the appropriate amount of  L-arginine will not be optimum. In that case, the essential amino acid can be obtained through consuming food rich with L-arginine and through supplements. There is no need to consume L-arginine on a daily basis as your body is capable of producing the required amount. And the average daily dietary intake is 5.4 grams per day.
Apart from its natural sources, L-arginine can be obtained through  supplements as well. L-arginine supplements can be consumed topically and orally. The plethora of benefits offered by the amino acid varies from sexual well-being to muscle building.
Best Sources Of L-arginine
Essential for proper bodily functions, the amino acid can be acquired through various types of food. The food sources of  L-arginine are mentioned below (amount per 100 gram).
- Brazil nuts contain 2.15 grams,
- peanuts contain 3.13 grams,
- walnuts contain 2.28 grams,
- flaxseed contains 1.93 grams,
- tofu contain 0.66 grams,
- garlic contains 0.63 grams,
- tuna contains 1.74 grams,
- chicken contain 1.19 grams,
- salmon contain 1.19 grams,
- pork contains 0.56 grams,
- shrimp contains 1.18 grams, and
- milk contains 0.08 grams.
Health Benefits Of L-arginine
Encompassed of various advantages ranging from cell replication to reducing inflammation, the amino acid is critical for the appropriate functioning of your body.
1. Improves heart health
Being anti-inflammatory in nature, L-arginine helps reduce the level of inflammation in the blood vessels. Individuals suffering from  coronary heart diseases are directed to consume L-arginine supplements as it helps improve cardiovascular health and function. L-arginine helps reduce high blood pressure and improve the blood flow by unblocking the clogged arteries.
It is also essential in reducing the symptoms related with claudication and angina pectoris. The nitric oxide produced from the amino acid helps by preventing the  development of any blood clots that can cut off the blood supply.
2. Aids in weight loss
According to various studies, L-arginine has a high amount of lean body mass which acts in burning off the excess amount of fat deposited in your body. L-arginine helps lose body fat in a healthy manner by regulating the hormone insulin. It effectively removes the excessive  amount of glucose from your blood and reduces the chance of the glucose being converted into fat. The fat deposit will be converted by the amino acid for the purpose of energy production.
3. Manages blood pressure
As the evidence points out the impact of L-arginine in improving your cardiovascular health, there is no uncertainty in its role in maintaining the blood pressure in a  balance. The amino acid helps in the production of endothelial nitric oxide synthesis which helps your blood vessels to relax. It prevents sudden hikes in the blood pressure and reduces the high cholesterol levels.
4. Boosts immunity
L-arginine is widely used for its immune-enhancing  properties. It has been used as a mechanism to boost and maintain a healthy immune system. Studies have pointed out the connection between low amounts of L-arginine and illnesses. The protective lymphocytes and T-cells of the immune system depends on the levels of L-arginine to defend the body from viruses  and bacteria. It helps protect your body from infections and allergies.
5. Improves blood circulation
Amongst its plethora of benefits, this is one amongst the major benefit possessed by the amino acid. It helps in various aspects from heart health to erectile dysfunction. It improves the circulatory health  through the regular delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the cells in your body. The production of nitric oxide plays a major role in this function as it helps in relaxing the blood vessels and pressure endured in the heart.
6. Treats infertility and erectile dysfunction
As aforementioned, L-arginine improves the blood flow in your body and thereby causes ease of various bodily functions. By enhancing the  blood circulation, L-arginine aids in improving sperm motility and production. The stimulation of the nitric oxide production aids in treating erectile dysfunction in men, as there is improved blood flow to the reproductive organs.
Women who face infertility can also benefit from L-arginine as it improves the circulation to the genital area. Using L-arginine supplements with  N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) helps in naturally balancing the hormones in the case of women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome and oestrogen imbalances.
7. Boosts performance
L-arginine supplements are widely used by athletes as an  ergogenic aid. It helps in enhancing physical performance naturally. The amino acid works by improving your bodily strength and resistance to fatigue. A study focusing on the impact of L-arginine on elderly people revealed positive results as they were able to  physically perform well.
8. Manages diabetes
L-arginine helps in managing the blood glucose levels in individuals suffering from diabetes. It improves the sugar metabolism, thereby reducing the level of sugar in the bloodstream. The amino acid also improves insulin sensitivity, managing the  uptake of glucose. It is also beneficial in limiting the risks and complications related to diabetes, due to elevated levels of blood glucose level.
9. Speeds up healing
L-arginine possesses the ability to synthesize another amino acid called as L-proline. Proline helps in the production of collagen, that acts centrally in speeding up the  healing process. The improved blood flow associated with L-arginine is beneficial in this case as it aids in reducing the pain and swelling caused by the wounds.
10. Detoxifies body
L-arginine is considered a natural detoxifying agent. It helps in getting rid of the toxins and unwanted compounds present in your system. The amino  acid is useful in reducing the ammonia level in your blood as well. L-arginine supplements are commonly suggested in treatments related to the metabolic activities in your body, due to its detoxification property.
11. Prevents cancer
Researchers have pointed out that individuals suffering from cancer have very low levels of L-arginine in their system. The immune system suppressor cells cause an L-arginine deficiency, which will negatively impact the production of lymphocytes and  T-cells. Consumption of L-arginine can help battle the cancerous cells, thereby protecting your body from further damages.
12. Treats migraine
The antioxidant properties possessed by the amino acid is effective in curing severe migraines. L-arginine helps the condition by improving the oxidation and  reducing the oxidative stress.
13. Treats bladder inflammation
Being anti-inflammatory in nature, L-arginine is useful for treating bladder related issues such as an inflammation in the bladder. The amino acid reduces the inflammation, causing a relief.
14. Improves hair health
L-arginine is known to have benefits for your hair as it helps reduce hair fall and prevents hair from any damage. The amino acid helps in relaxing the blood vessels and improve the blood flow to the scalp, thereby strengthening the hair follicles. It also helps your hair from the damages caused by external factors such as  chemicals and pollution.
15. Improves skin quality
The antioxidant property possessed by the amino acid protects your skin from damages caused by environmental pollution. It helps in  repairing and rejuvenating your skin and prevents the onset of wrinkles, blemishes and other age-related damages.
Dosage Of L-arginine
According to various studies conducted on the daily required dosage of L-arginine, the following has been  reported.
- For chest pain associated with coronary artery disease or angina pectoris - 3-6 grams, three times per day for up to one month.
- For congestive heart failure - ranges from 6-20 grams per day, three times (according to the condition of the individual).
- For organic erectile dysfunction - 5 grams per day.
- For preventing digestive tract inflammation in premature infants - 261 milligrams added to daily oral feeding, for 28 days.
*All the above-mentioned dosages are for individuals with specific health conditions.
Side Effects Of L-arginine
In some cases, the oral consumption of the amino acid can cause 
- abdominal pain,
- airway inflammation or worsening of asthma symptoms, and
- An individual using blood pressure drugs, herbs and supplements must avoid L-arginine as it can  elevate the risks of low blood pressure.
- Avoid consuming L-arginine if you are using antiplatelet drugs, herbs and supplements, as it can hinder with the clotting of blood.
- Irregular and uncontrolled consumption can cause chemical imbalances in your body.
- Do not consume along with birth control pills or painkillers.
- Pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers should not consume L-arginine supplements.
- Do not consume along with certain medications such as blood pressure medicines and Viagra.
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