Arginine has been known to society since 1886, when it was first extracted from a lupine seedling (a bean). From its first discovery until today, it has grown in both its number of uses and in its popularity.
Arginine is an amino acid that the body makes in small amounts. It is also derived from consuming proteins like those found in meat, beans, and milk. Generally, the body derives enough arginine from internal and external sources, but sometimes supplementation is necessary or helpful.
Arginine is known for its vasodilation properties. A precursor to nitric oxide, once changed, it widens blood vessels. This has led to its use for medical illnesses that benefit from vasodilation. It has been used to treat atherosclerosis, angina (chest pain), heart disease, heart failure, erectile dysfunction, vascular headaches, and certain vascular diseases.
Beyond its usefulness for vasodilation, arginine also triggers the body to produce protein. This has made it a popular supplement for body builders. It has also been studied for enhancing sperm production, healing wounds, and preventing tissue loss in severely ill patients.
As with any supplement, care should be taken to ensure quality and safety. Certain conditions could be worsened with vasodilation and thus it is wise to consult with a physician. Others may benefit, with a doctor’s supervision. Under the guidance of a doctor, for example, arginine hydrochloride can be used to treat metabolic alkalosis.
For the most part, however, arginine remains a popular supplement that can be found at health food stores nationwide. Many people of today supplement with arginine to help aid strength training and speed the muscle rebuilding process. It is found in combination products like L-Arginine Plus (with added heart-healthy ingredients), Proargi and Proargi Plus (with added L-Citrulline). Arginine has been, and will likely continue to be, one of the top body building supplements available.