Best known for its vascular system effect
Peripheral arterial disease /
Congestive Heart Failure
Pre-eclampsia / Pregnancy-induced
Sickle Cell Disease - Pain
Semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid, (semi essential because it is obtained by oral intake but our body does produce it but our body is not able to increase synthesis if the rate in which we use it exceeds production (which is how people become deficient)
Subnormal arginine levels -> muscle weakness, fatigue
-Can become suboptimal with decreased intake or absorption
*** Originally approved by the FDA in February 1973 as an IV stimulant of the pituitary to release HGH which can aid in the diagnosis of HGH related conditions
Mechanism of Action
Growth Hormone Deficiency Diagnosis: Arginine stimulates pituitary release of growth hormone in patients with normal pituitary function. Patients with impaired pituitary function who receive arginine will have lower or no increase in plasma concentrations of growth hormone after administration of arginine.
Urea Cycle Disorders (UCDs): The urea cycle is normally responsible for maintaining low blood concentrations of ammonia and glutamine from protein breakdown. The normal urea cycle requires numerous enzyme-catalyzed steps to form nitrogenous waste such as urea. Hyperammonemia may occur when there is a deficiency in one or more urea cycle enzymes or a cofactor: N-acetylglutamate synthetase (NAGS), carbamyl phosphate synthetase (CPS), argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS), ornithine transcarbamylase (OTC), or argininosuccinate lyase (ASL). Arginine becomes an essential amino acid when any of these enzymes is deficient. If essential amino acids are not available, protein catabolism occurs, which increases ammonia concentrations. Exogenous arginine is administered in patients with UCDs to restore serum levels and prevent the breakdown of endogenous protein. Additionally, arginine administration lowers the blood ammonia level and increases the amount of nitrogen excreted in the urine by stimulating an alternative pathway for waste nitrogen excretion.
Metabolic Alkalosis: Arginine is a precursor to hydrochloric acid and has a high chloride content and is, therefore, an alternative treatment for severe metabolic alkalosis.
Cardiovascular disease: Arginine is a precursor of nitric oxide, which is a potent vasodilator with antiplatelet activity. Nitric oxide has been shown to induce vasodilation in patients with atherosclerosis.