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What is Arginine?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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Arginine is an essential amino acid found in many different types of foods. First isolated in the latter part of the 19th century, the most common form of in use today is l arginine, which is available in many health food stores as a dietary supplement. It is also possible to find amino acids of this type in a number of meats, seafood, and vegetables.

The human body is normally able to manufacture amounts of arginine that are sufficient to meet most of the body’s needs. The remainder is supplied through consumption of various meats and vegetables. There are a number of health issues that can impair this ability, and when this happens, the individual can compensate by consuming foods that contain appreciable amounts of arginine. If necessary, taking a supplement can be added to what is ingested from a balanced diet.

There are many sources of arginine that can be incorporated into just about any diet. Dairy products contain appreciable amounts of this natural amino acid, making the use of cottage cheese and yogurt ideal sources for anyone who is counting calories. Chicken provides a decent source, as does beef and pork. Several different types of seafood are also excellent sources, including lobster, tuna and salmon.

Arginine is not limited to meats and seafood. There are a number of nuts and grains that can be used to increase arginine levels. Snacks such as peanuts, Brazil nuts, almonds and walnuts are excellent sources. Sunflower seeds, along with pumpkin seeds and sesame seeds are also nutritional snacks that contain this amino acid. Oatmeal is a also a good source.

The health benefits of natural amino acids like arginine are varied. Maintaining a good level the amino acid can help to lower blood pressure and increase the body’s sensitivity to insulin. It is also essential for a healthy immune system, and can aid in expediting the healing process. For men, arginine helps to maintain sperm motility and production and thus minimize the chances for infertility. For both men and women, it can help enhance circulation throughout the body, including maintaining a healthy blood flow to the reproductive organs.

Since the body can often produce a good share of arginine on its own, eating a balanced diet is usually all that is required to ingest enough to maintain good health. However, additional arginine may help people to overcome several health issues. People should consult a health professional before taking large amounts of supplements, as there is some potential for interaction with prescription medication.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including The Health Board, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.
Discussion Comments
By leilani — On Jan 14, 2010

Watermelon has arginine. What an easy, natural and sweet way to add this amino acid to the diet. It is suspected that arginine enhances fat burning and therefore promotes weight loss.

Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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