A 4-minute read
Ask any hardcore bodybuilder or fitness aficionado and you’ll see: they all swear by it. We’re talking, of course, about L-arginine. Over time, this amino acid has spread beyond gyms and is now even available in health and beauty stores. How on earth did that happen?! This stuff must really pack a punch, right? Let’s take a close look at this amino acid and get to the bottom of things.
WHAT IS L-ARGININE?
L-arginine is one of the most versatile amino acids that the human body can also produce in limited quantities. For this reason, it is classed as a conditionally essential amino acid. If you eat a healthy and varied diet, your body will probably already have a good supply of L-arginine. It’s an amino acid contained in many different foods. However, when training, you should keep a closer eye on your L-arginine levels, especially in high-stress phases.
Takeaway 1: L-arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that your body can also produce.
WHAT DOES L-ARGININE DO FOR YOU?
L-arginine plays an important role in the urea cycle and the nitrogen cycle. Among other things, it helps to form nitrogen monoxide and creatine and is also involved in our immune systems. Plus, it is one of the many building blocks involved in endogenous protein production.
1. VASODILATION: L-ARGININE’S EFFECT ON OUR CIRCULATION
Our bodies need arginine to produce nitrogen monoxide. This serves numerous purposes.
For one, it has a vasodilatory effect and thus improves blood flow. This means that the body – including its muscles – can get a good supply of nutrients and oxygen. In addition, nitrogen monoxide also reduces the formation of blood clots. The benefits of L-arginine supplements taken orally therefore include improved blood flow, especially in people with circulatory issues (studies show). However, whether it has a positive impact in healthy people remains disputed. L-arginine has a positive effect on circulation has therefore been associated with vascular health for many years.
2. MUSCLE PUMP – L-ARGININE BEEFS UP MUSCLES
L-arginine is highly prized among bodybuilders and fitness enthusiasts. There’s a very specific reason for that: the vasodilatory effect of nitrogen monoxide leaves muscles bulging and feeling firm. Your veins will be more pronounced and your muscles will look more voluminous. This effect can also be traced back to the production of nitrogen monoxide, which is in turn produced when L-arginine is converted into L-citrulline. All in all, this amino acid has a massive impact on your appearance. It’s the ideal supplement for shredding!
3. L-ARGININE BOOSTS STRENGTH & ENDURANCE
Taking L-arginine before you work out should also improve your strength and endurance. This is due to the increased oxygen uptake due to the relaxing effect on smooth muscle tissue and the resulting improvements in circulation. That’s why many endurance athletes now swear by this amino acid.
Takeaway 2: L-arginine boosts your strength and endurance, has a vasodilatory effect and produces the ultimate muscle pump
FURTHER BENEFITS OF L-ARGININE
The effects of L-arginine on muscle growth are well known. But, although there are plenty of other “facts” about L-arginine making the rounds, there is little proof to back them up. Other reasons for using L-arginine supplements include countering erectile dysfunction. The vasodilatory effect and its ability to relax smooth muscle are thought to provide assistance on this front, so some men choose to take it a few hours before the act. L-arginine has also been heralded as a fat burner. To date, however, this effect has only been identified in people with a glucose intolerance, and even then to a somewhat limited degree. Some also believe it increases growth-hormone levels and promotes regeneration processes. That may well be true – but it remains unproven!
Takeaway 3: The benefits of L-arginine on male potency and weight loss have not been scientifically proven.
SOURCES OF L-ARGININE
You can find the amino acid in protein-rich foods, fitness foods and specific supplements.
✓ Grains and seeds (pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, sesame seeds, etc.)
✓ Nuts (peanuts, walnuts, hazelnuts, Brazil nuts, etc.)
✓ Meat (beef, goat, turkey, horse, deer, etc)
✓ Brown rice
✓ Salmon and tuna
✓ Peas and soya beans
✓ Cow’s milk
Takeaway 4: L-arginine can be found in natural foods and fitness foods.
GIVE ME THE STUFF!!
Feed your inner beast! A first-rate post-workout blend: citrulline, arginine, tyrosine and caffeine! Add some vitamin B6 on top to improve concentration and reduce tiredness and fatigue! Coming soon.
L-ARGININE DOSAGE: QUICK & EASY
Your age, training goal, workout types and overall health are decisive factors in how much L-arginine you need. An established dose is 3-6g, usually around 30 minutes before strength training. We recommend that endurance athletes take 1-3g of L-arginine before their workout. These athletes aren’t looking for the muscle pump: they are solely focused on maximum endurance. In order to maintain a constant, elevated arginine level, you should spread your daily intake over the course of a day, such as across three portions.
Your total daily dose should never exceed 18g. The amino acid is absorbed in the gut and transported around the body. However, your body’s naturally low ability to absorb arginine will deteriorate further if you increase your oral intake.
Takeaway 5: We recommend taking 3-6g of L-arginine around 30 minutes before you work out, depending on your training goal, training type, age and overall health.
DOES TAKING L-ARGININE HAVE SIDE EFFECTS?
If you stick to our dosage recommendations, you don’t need to worry about any side effects. Too much arginine will lead to gastrointestinal issues sooner or later, often in the form of diarrhoea, vomiting or nausea. It’s important that you don’t exceed the maximum dosage of 18g of supplementary L-arginine per day. By the same token, you shouldn’t take more than 10g at any one time. Ultimately, continuously upping your intake will do more harm than good.
Takeaway 6: Overdosing can result in gastrointestinal problems.
L-ARGININE EFFECTS: LESSONS TO LEARN
- L-arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that your body can produce naturally
- It has a vasodilatory effect, produces a visible muscle pump and makes veins more pronounced
- It also boosts your strength and stamina when working out
- Use the amino acid as a pre-workout supplement
- Take 3-6g around 30 minutes before working out