The History of L-Arginine (Nitric Oxide)


Arginine was discovered in 1895. Arginine is an amino acid that provides a wide range of benefits to the body. Arginine plays an important role in the division of cells, boosting of one’s immune system, healing of wounds, and in the hormonal secretion process. In 1998, the Nobel Prize was given to three American scientists who are attributed with discovering the role that L-Arginine plays in the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is so important because it is a dilator that helps the arteries to relax, thus allowing for the better flow of blood and less strain on the heart. Also in 1998 a team of Italian researches made this connection between nitric oxide production and better blood flow when they reported that daily doses of L-Arginine given to patients reduced their systolic blood pressure.

Since the early 1990’s, more and more researchers and medical professionals have been experimenting with the cardiovascular health improvement possibilities of L-Arginine. Many health professionals have tried L-Arginine supplementation themselves and have been so impressed with the results that they then recommend L-Arginine to their patients. Today Hospitals often offer an L-Arginine supplement to those patients suffering from infectious wounds in order to speed their recovery time, thus reducing the risk of acquiring an infection. Heart disease in America is the number one killer. With the prospects of L-Arginine supplementation being as promising as they are the hardening of the arteries and build up on the arterial lining, the two most common factors in heart disease, could be reversed.

The ability that L-Arginine has to increase the production of nitric oxide means many good things to those who are suffering with the preliminary symptoms of heart disease. For many in this situation who are taking an L-Arginine supplement, there is no longer a need for prescription blood pressure medication (or at least the dosage can be lowered). Decreasing the need for blood pressure medication not only lends itself to being in better health as the cardiac patient, but avoiding the use of prescription drugs also allows the individual to avoid the potential side effects of those blood pressure medications. And side effects could be both physically and mentally (i.e. depression) devastating.

The most recent discoveries related to L-Arginine are that it has the ability to help the body release needed hormones, increase lean muscle mass, speed the recovery of wounds, and boost the immune system. Intimate benefits of decreased symptoms of impotence and improved female sexual function are also encouraging benefits that physicians and patients are discovering as a result of improved blood flow. Recent evidence and research may also suggest that L-Arginine supplements can also help Alzheimer patients by slowing or even stopping the growth of tumors.

As was mentioned briefly, you can find L-Arginine in red meats, but this amino acid is also found in fish and chocolate. If you want to go beyond merely providing your body with its basic L-Arginine benefits, you can talk with your doctor about supplements that you can use to make more L-Arginine available to your body. A typical supplemental dose of L-Arginine is about 2-5 grams a day (in some cases it is best when taken right before bed), although as much as 20 grams has been administered successfully. However a minimum of 5 grams has been found to be the base line of a successfully effective dosage. The level of toxicity for L-Arginine is relatively low making it difficult to accidentally have too much, yet it is always wise to consult with your doctor and receive any medical conditions that you may have that could influence what a safe dosage is for you.