L-arginine which is a semi-essential amino acid has different functions in the body. Although the body produces L-arginine naturally this is also found in some protein foods and is also available in supplements. This is necessary in muscle building aside from enhancing sexual satisfaction. It prevents heart disease too and it is also an important factor in normal brain functioning.
As they say, L-arginine is oxidized to nitric oxide gas in which this gas is spread so fast from cell to cell which serves as a chemical messenger in learning and memory. Although there are no reliable proofs yet with the use of L-arginine to treat brain diseases or in enhancing mental abilities, it had shown some ability in improving certain conditions. Let us then see more of the L-arginine effects on the brain.
L-Arginine on Neurotransmitter Activity
L-arginine, being a precursor of nitric oxide, has an important role in Alzheimer’s disease which is a neurodegenerative disorder. Alzheimer’s is a condition in which a person suffers from severe memory loss and intellectual deterioration which usually affect elderly people. Disruption of neurotransmitters in the brain is usually involved with this disease. According to Dr. Jing Yi in his study which is published in the “International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Pathology” in 2008, L-arginine has an effect on the origination and development of Alzheimer’s disease.
L-arginine on Blood Circulation
The nitric oxide gas is formed in the brain through the oxidation of the amino acid L-arginine. Once the nitric oxide gas is formed it will then relax the smooth muscles of the arteries which supply blood to the heart; meaning there will be a healthy blood flow going to the brain areas. L-arginine also promotes easy and efficient flow of blood through the blood vessels going to the brain.
The Neuroprotective Effect of Arginine
According to a study in June 2010, published in “Frontiers of Integrative Neurosciences” they found out that the intravenous administration of L-arginine helps protect against cerebral edema through the nitric oxide production. There is cerebral edema if there is excess accumulation of water in the brain. L-arginine is said to reduce the formation of edema after having a brain trauma.
L-arginine on Human Growth Hormone
Located at the base of the brain is the pituitary gland which produces the human growth hormone known as the anti aging hormone. These hormones improve memory as it reduces the signs of aging. In a study published in the “Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition and Metabolic Care” in January 2008, it was reported that the nitric oxide in L-arginine stimulates the release of human growth hormone and minimizes the symptoms of aging.
L-arginine on ALD
ALD (Adrenoleukodystrophy) is a hereditary metabolic disorder, although this is rare, it involves the loss of coverings of the nerves in the brain which results to dementia. A study which is published in the “Journal of Pediatrics” in June 2003, recommends that arginine injection can improve some symptoms although it cannot stop the neurologic progression of such disease.
L-arginine on Anxiety and Depression
The use of L-arginine supplements have not been tested for the treatment of anxiety. However, the combination of L-lysine and L-arginine is known to reduce symptoms of anxiety according to a study published in “Behavioral Brain Research” in 2007.
The FDA has not made yet a recommended dose for L-arginine from either foods or supplements. A high dose which is more than 9 grams a day can cause nausea, diarrhea and cramps. If you are suffering from kidney or liver disease, be sure to consult your doctor first before deciding to take L-arginine supplements.