What is Arginine?

Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid, which means that the body is capable of synthesising this amino acid in sufficient amounts under normal conditions. However, when the body’s production does not meet its requirements, your diet may become arginine-deficient.

Arginine naturally occurs in plant and animal proteins, such as dairy products, meat, poultry, fish, and nuts, but can also be taken through supplementation — usually as the free-form amino acid L-Arginine.

This amino acid plays several roles in the body and is needed to form compounds such as nitric oxide, creatine, L-glutamate, and L-proline. L-Arginine has been found to enhance protein synthesis via the activation of the mTOR signaling pathway in a NO-dependent manner.

Studies have evaluated the potential benefits of arginine in:

  • Preventing the loss of nitric oxide (NO) bioactivity by saving nitrite
  • Influencing endothelium-dependent vasodilation, improving microvascular function


McNeal CJ et al. Safety of dietary supplementation with arginine in adult humans. Amino Acids. 2018 Jun 1. doi: 10.1007/s00726-018-2594-7

McNeal CJ et al. Safety and Effectiveness of Arginine in Adults. J Nutr. 2016 Dec;146(12):2587S-2593S. doi: 10.3945/jn.116.234740

Melik Z. Et al. L-arginine as dietary supplement for improving microvascular function. Clin Hemorheol Microcirc. 2017;65(3):205-217. doi: 10.3233/CH-16159

Wang R. Et al. L-Arginine Enhances Protein Synthesis by Phosphorylating mTOR (Thr 2446) in a Nitric Oxide-Dependent Manner in C2C12 Cells. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2018 Apr 26;2018:7569127. doi. 10.1155/2018/7569127

Schneider JY et al. Effects of chronic oral L-arginine administration on the L-arginine/NO pathway in patients with peripheral arterial occlusive disease or coronary artery disease: L-Arginine prevents renal loss of nitrite, the major NO reservoir. Amino Acids. 2015 Sep;47(9):1961-74. doi: 10.1007/s00726-015-2031-0

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