Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that can be produced by the body, but additional dietary intake has positive effects on the body, especially in athletes and bodybuilders. The foods that contain the most arginine are meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, seeds and nuts. Arginine's positive effects stem from its role in protein synthesis and nitric oxide, a potent vasodilator.
Arginine contributes to muscle growth as it is required for the synthesis of most proteins. By increasing muscle mass, arginine stimulates cells to produce more growth hormone and boosts fat metabolism. The result is improved muscle tone and an increase in lean muscle mass, which improves overall fitness and muscle strength.
Arginine acts as a vasodilator, increasing oxygen and nutrient supply to the muscle.
As arginine acts as a precursor in the synthesis of nitric oxide, a powerful vasodilator, muscle endurance is also improved. When nitric oxide is released into the bloodstream, it dilates the blood vessels, reducing blood pressure and allowing more blood to flow to the muscle during exercise. And more blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients get to the muscle, which reduces muscle damage, improves muscle recovery and allows for optimal performance.
In addition, arginine also helps to maintain normal immune function. It acts as an antioxidant, which means it neutralises free radicals and improves the function of immune cells. As physical activity puts the body under a certain type of stress and increases the chance of muscle damage, it is important that the immune system is always working at an optimal level.
The main benefits of using arginine:
- increased muscle protein synthesis
- dilation of blood vessels (vasodilation)
- increased production of growth hormone
- increased fat metabolism
- improved muscle tone
- increase lean muscle mass
- increased blood flow to the muscle
- faster muscle recovery
- antioxidant action