Owing to the beneficial functions of L-arginine,
- It is used to improve blood circulation and maintain heart health.
- It is used to enhance the brain’s cognitive function. It has been used to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s, but the evidence is inconclusive.
- It is used to improve fertility and sexual function. Small data suggest that daily intake of arginine may improve the sperm count in men.
- L-arginine supplements are given to pregnant women who show low amniotic fluid levels in the first-trimester sonography. It may have a role in preventing hypertension related to pregnancy.
- It is used to delay premature aging due to its NO content, which may help in the development of new blood vessels.
- It is used to prevent uterine fertility issues in women, for example, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), fibroids, and endometriosis.
What are the functions of L-arginine?
Besides being a structural component of making proteins, arginine also serves numerous other functions within the body, making it vital to overall health. It has also been investigated for its potential benefit in the prevention and treatment of major problems related to the heart and blood flow to various organs.
The functions of L-arginine include:
- Vasodilation and blood flow (increased diameter of the blood vessels): It acts as a raw material in the production of nitric oxide (NO), an important chemical that widens the blood vessels and increases blood flow to the organs. NO helps control the blood pressure and prevention of abnormal blood clots. It has been used in patients with chest pain for improving their symptoms.
- Immune function and cancer: L-arginine may play a role against cancer. The T lymphocytes (T type of white blood cells) can utilize arginine to become stronger and sharper in recognizing the abnormal cancer cells and germs such as bacteria and fungi. This property of arginine has paved new ways to improve T cell therapies against cancer.
- Tissue injury and wound healing: Arginine releases the growth and healing factors that cause new blood vessel formation in the area around the wound. NO also plays an important role in antimicrobial activity and tissue building in the wounded area, thus aiding in an effective healing process.
- Pregnancy and fetal development: L-arginine supplementation has been related to the prevention of pre-eclampsia and eclampsia (hypertension of pregnancy). NO causes better blood flow to the placenta and ensures adequate amniotic fluid around the baby.
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