L-Arginine – 5 Major Benefits of Arginine For Muscle Growth and Health
The modern fitness nutrition market is an embarrassment of riches. Wherever you look, there is no prominent brand focused exclusively on basic supplements like whey protein powder or creatine. Sooner or later, almost every company expands the range of its products, offering more solutions to speed up your fitness results, stay more durable at the gym, and build your muscles faster than ever.
One of these products is L-Arginine Complex.
Knowing how often supplement companies speculate on useful properties of each nutrient, there is no surprise you came here to learn about the REAL benefits of l-arginine for bodybuilding. Or, at least to find out if there are any benefits at all.
Are you ready to learn the facts behind mysterious l-arginine? Then go and dive into an unbiased review of this nitric oxide supplement and decide whether to use it or not in your fitness practice.
What Exactly is L-Arginine?
L-arginine is an amino acid that participates in protein building and releases nitric oxide in the blood.
Let’s clarify why we need protein and nitric oxide in fitness. High-protein foods are obviously the must when it comes to bodybuilding. That’s why we often use pure protein isolates to boost muscle growth even more.
Nitric oxide relaxes smooth muscles and dilates blood vessels, increasing blood flow and lowering blood pressure. And better blood flow is a cornerstone of better physical endurance.
At the same time, l-arginine belongs to the class of semi-essential amino acids, which means our body produces some amounts of l-arginine by itself.
These amounts are usually enough to maintain the normal functioning of a human body, although additional intake of l-arginine may be beneficial in certain circumstances, including muscle building and fitness performance improvement.
5 Major Benefits of L-Arginine For Muscle Growth
L-arginine is not a panacea nor is it a placebo. It definitely has some substantial benefits for human health, although it can’t replace protein or other major components of your fitness diet. And now, let’s get to the point and discover what exactly l-arginine has to do with bodybuilding.
- L-Arginine Takes Part in Muscle Creation
As we mentioned before, l-arginine contributes to muscle growth as any other amino acid.
How exactly does it work? When you eat food or take supplements rich with proteins, they split into polypeptides and their component parts called amino acids. The latter are sort of the building blocks that are used for further protein synthesis. For healthy metabolism, you need 20 basic amino acids, one of which is l-arginine.
Another benefit of l-arginine for muscle growth is its ability to release growth hormone. As it was reported by numerous studies including this one, growth hormone enhances the effects of training, making muscles even bigger than it could be without its intake. Moreover, it speeds up fat metabolism and therefore leads to faster weight loss.
Such effects of human growth hormone resulted in its ban in professional sports. And aside from its positive effect for your fitness results, the regular intake of pure growth hormone increases the risk of heart disease, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and some other conditions.
That’s why it’s better to boost its levels naturally. Exercise alone increases growth hormone in blood by 300-500%, while l-arginine increases it by 100% while resting.
Important fact: the combined intake of l-arginine and exercise leads only to 200% of growth hormone increase. This means it makes sense to use it during the rest period for better effect as well.
It’s worth noting only higher doses of l-arginine boost growth hormone. Our l-arginine tablets contain 2 mg of the substance, but you might need 5-9 grams to feel the effect, according to the study.
- L-Arginine Boosts Your Exercise Performance
Being one of the best nitric oxide supplements, l-arginine contributes to better endurance and resistance during your exercise sessions.
How exactly does it work? That’s all actually happening due to nitric oxide release, which is synthesized from l-arginine. Nitric oxide dilates vessels and therefore ensures healthy blood circulation.
Better blood flow in your body leads to better performance, as your muscles receive more oxygen. Actually, your body delivers just the right amount of oxygen alone, but l-arginine gives it another small boost.
Also, the release of nitric oxide prevents blood clots and decreases blood pressure & heart rate, acting as a cardio protector. As a bodybuilder or a sportsman, you know how exhausting can be strength training for your cardiovascular system, especially when you use extra heavy weights. Thus, you could benefit from support for your heart provided by the l-arginine supplement.
- L-Arginine Reduces Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness is often perceived as a good sign by most sportsmen. “If it hurts, it grows” – they say.
From the scientific point of view, mild-to-moderate levels of soreness occur due to muscle microscopic damage received as the result of the intense workout. And after the muscle recovers, it is going to be stronger and larger than before.
The post-training muscle soreness is usually gone within 48-72 hours. However, there are ways to soothe sore muscles and speed up the recovery, one of which is l-arginine intake.
Besides improving your performance during exercise, better nitric oxide release flushes new blood to your muscle after the workout, removing toxins like lactate and ammonia almost instantly.
The benefits of nitric oxide supplements for relieving muscle soreness in bodybuilding were proven by the University of Cordoba study. It involved 41 people who were given 8 grams of citrulline malate or a placebo 1 hour prior to the workout. (Citrulline is another amino acid that acts as a nitric oxide precursor.)
The group that was taking citrulline malate reported 40% less muscle soreness during the post-workout period. L-arginine has similar effects on nitric oxide release as citrulline malate, so it’s safe to assume that it will help to relieve post-exercise pain as well.
But just like in case of growth hormone boost, only higher doses of l-arginine have an effect on muscle soreness. Another study claims that nitric oxide supplements don’t improve muscle recovery after intense training, yet scientists used the lower dose of 6 mg in their research.
- L-Arginine Helps You Recover From Injury
Like any other sports, bodybuilding and fitness are associated with heightened risks of injuries. It’s always better to watch out and keep yourself as safe as possible during workouts. Still, you’ll never be 100% safe. Even if you choose to lie on the couch for the rest of your life, there is always a risk to fall down, struck your head and have a concussion.
So in case a disaster happened and you got injured, make sure to reconsider your nutrition for the sake of faster tissue healing. You can take a look at the full list of necessary nutrients later on, but now we will elaborate more on l-arginine benefits for your recovery.
In addition to the tissue clean-up of the injured area explained in the previous paragraph, l-arginine forms l-proline and stimulates insulin release. These hormones play a major role in the synthesis of collagen, the key element in wound healing.
Important fact: l-arginine works best in combination with omega-3 fatty acids. Together with l-arginine, they decrease the risk of wound infections by 50%.
- L-Arginine Strengthens Your Immune System
An intense workout is natural physical stress for your body. While being beneficial in the long-term, it may facilitate diseases in the moments of immune system weakening.
L-arginine prevents you from falling ill. This study reports that there were better CD4+ T-cell spread and less frequent incidence of infections in the l-arginine supplement group. CD4+ T-cells are known for their regulative function of immune responses and activation of bactericidal cells called macrophages.
The benefits for muscle building are evident: the fewer days you spend in bed because of injury or illness, the more days you have for the effective workout.
Pleasant “Bonuses” of L-Arginine Intake for Your Health
L-arginine is so great not only due to its benefits for bodybuilding but also due to the positive impact on your general health. There are some pleasant “bonuses” you gain during l-arginine supplementation:
- Sexual function improvement. Nitric oxide release stimulates blood circulation not only in your arm or leg smooth muscles but also in the genital area, which leads to better erections. Viagra, popular erectile dysfunction treatment, also engages with nitric oxide to increase blood flow to male genitals. But unlike Viagra, l-arginine can be beneficial for women, too.
- Lowering blood pressure. Dilating vessels, nitric oxide decreases blood pressure. This might be useful for people with hypertension.
- Heart protection. According to this study, l-arginine prevents cardiovascular disease (CVD) and improve the condition of those who already suffer from it.
- Controls blood sugar in people with diabetes. Long-term oral arginine intake improves insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetes patients.
Even though l-arginine has so many positive effects on muscle building and health, stay wide awake and don’t take it mindlessly. L-arginine has a number of side effects that mainly occur in case of supplement’s overdose. Also, you need to be especially careful if your average blood pressure level is low or you take some medicines that lower blood pressure artificially.
When to Take L-Arginine: Before or After Workout?
L-arginine is classified as a pre-workout supplement. That’s a classic move: you take a tab of l-arginine and go lifting, while your muscles are filling with more blood and oxygen as well. And voila, you get through 12 reps instead of your normal 10.
Yet we have learned that l-arginine has some post-workout effects as well. You can take l-arginine after exercise together with tasty protein powder to relieve muscle soreness and speed up recovery.
What’s the best l-arginine dosage for building muscles? It’s recommended to take 5-10 grams before or after the workout. The lower dosages have little-to-no positive effects for your fitness goals, while doses higher than 10 grams may give you side effects like diarrhea or abdominal pain. Training is tough itself, so make sure you’re not challenging yourself with even more pain.
If used properly, l-arginine is a nice and effective extra to include in your regular fitness diet. Taking 3 tablets per day is not that hard while each of them is literally a sack of presents for your muscles and health.
Want to feel the power of l-arginine on yourself? Pump your muscles with the purest ever L-Arginine Complex and maximize your fitness performance!
Here’s an excellent post from my friend who has done a deeper dive into L-Arginine…I’m sure you’ll enjoy it.