Arginine is another amino acid very useful for a fitness lifestyle. As with other nutrients, it has exaggerated reports of its effectiveness, however enough research has shown it to helpful in post workout recovery. For all except infants, the body can synthesize arginine. Being an amino acid, it can be found in virtually all meats, also in many dairy products. Whole grains, nuts, and soybeans are vegetarian sources of arginine.
Arginine has many roles in human functioning, many which are appealing to those involved in fitness or bodybuilding. These functions include the removal of ammonia, a metabolic waste product, which helps with recovery. Arginine contributes to the healing of wounds thanks to its function in collagen synthesis. Some reports suggest arginine also promotes the release of human growth hormone(HGH), a hormone well-known in its role promoting muscle growth and fat burning, although it is not conclusive if taking extra arginine actually contributes to increased levels of HGH. Perhaps the most well known role of arginine is its precursor to nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is an established blood vessel dilating agent (among its many roles) and works by relaxing the muscles, which then increases blood flow. The benefit of increased blood flow is the delivery of more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. In turn, this helps muscles to grow more during recovery. For this reason, arginine has become very popular among bodybuilders. Some people swear by arginine, others have reported minimal benefits. Taking between 2 to 5 grams before workout, I have noticed modest performance improvement compared to days I did not take any arginine. I have also noticed improved recovery when I take arginine supplements prior to sleeping.
There are no established guidelines on optimal dosages of arginine. Keeping in mind arginine is available in many foodstuffs, and that our bodies can produce it, determining supplement dosage is tricky. Very few people or studies reported any benefits to taking more than five grams a day. Furthermore, there are reports that arginine can also trigger estrogen precursors, a side effect not desirable for males. In conclusion, arginine is a low importance supplement. We can get most of our arginine requirements from dietary sources, the benefits appear to be modest. If you want to give arginine a try, Allstar Health carries supplements at great prices, including arginine, in capsules or powder.