L-arginine is a type of amino acid, and as we know, amino acids are the “building blocks” of proteins. We obtain l-arginine from our diets, especially animal sources of protein foods, including beef and other types of red meat, poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products. In addition to occurring naturally in “complete proteins” that supply all the essential amino acids we need, l-arginine is also created in laboratory settings so it can be used to make supplements that benefit heart health, exercise performance, mental capabilities and much more.
How L-arginine Works? While not exactly an “essential” amino acid — meaning an amino acid that the body cannot make on its own and, therefore, must get from outside sources — L-arginine is considered somewhat essential because it’s highly important for many functions yet usually present in low quantities, especially as someone gets older. One of the biggest benefits of L-arginine is its ability to improve blood flow and circulation. In the body, L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide, which causes blood vessels to open wider. This has multiple benefits, including improving immune function, fertility, detoxification and brain power. Another important aspect of L-arginine is that it stimulates the production of certain hormones, especially beneficial growth hormones and insulin that help usher glucose into cells to be used for growth and energy output. This is one of the reasons it’s believed to enhance physical performance, stamina and strength.