Arginine is an essential amino acid that has been in the spot light among hundreds of other nutrients because of its benefits to the heart. For many people diagnosed with heart disease, the heart-healthy benefits of this nutrient have come to the forefront. Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid found abundantly in red meat, fish, poultry, grains, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. It is also produced in the liver.
How does this amino acid benefit health?
- Arginine plays a very important role in the healing process. It aids kidneys in the removal of waste products, regulating and maintaining the functioning of immune system and hormones.
- It inhibits one of the most important processes in aging and increases the release of human growth hormone.
- In the body, this semi essential amino acid changes into nitric oxide, a chemical functioning as a neurotransmitter. Nitric oxide helps in the relaxation of blood vessels, improving circulation of the blood to different parts of the body.
- Studies show that this amino acid also improves the blood flow in the arteries that supply the heart. This helps to relieve symptoms like angina, clogged arteries, and coronary heart disease. It will help prevent atherosclerosis, and reduce the severity of the condition, if it already exists.
- This amino acid stimulates the production of plasmin, which increases vasodilation, a condition that prevents abnormal blood clotting.
- Arginine protects the lining of the blood vessels by preventing the damage due to free radicals.
- This amino acid is known to increase the cardiac output and stroke volume in people with congestive heart failure. It is found to reverse most of the damage caused by coronary heart disease.
- Arginine can lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and reverse the effects of high blood pressure.
- It is reported to improve the outcome of bypass surgery and also reduce the severity and size of a heart attack.
- This amino acid is known to improve peripheral vascular disease also and help to increase the walking distance in people with this disease.
- It reduces blood clots and the chances of stroke to a large extent.
Arginine has many other potential beneficial effects. Albeit, it is still not known whether arginine would be helpful in treating a heart attack.