Arginine is a conditional amino acid, which means it can be manufactured by the body. However, in times of illness and stress, more may be needed than the body can produce. Arginine is found in foods such as dairy, meat, and fish. As a dietary supplement, “free form” L-arginine is easier for the body to utilize, as free form amino acids are already singular molecules that don’t require digestion.
Arginine supports healthy heart function, strengthens the immune system, improves healing, and enhances the power, strength, intensity, and recovery of muscles. It also increases the production of nitric oxide, a substance that dilates blood vessels, aids in circulation, lowers blood pressure, and helps prevent atherosclerosis. As a result, arginine is able to protect the cardiovascular system against atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, blood clots, high cholesterol, and other conditions.
Arginine stimulates protein synthesis and increases the force and power of skeletal muscle, which helps athletes and bodybuilders increase strength, optimize lean body mass, increase performance, and promote recovery. High intensity training weakens the immune system and can cause inflammation and injury. Arginine counteracts these effects by enhancing immune function, decreasing inflammation, and improving wound healing. It’s especially important for athletes who train intensively, as they require extra support during training and a shorter recovery period.