Can Arginine Help Heart Disease?

Arginine is a chemical precursor to nitric oxide. Research findings shown that arginine may help treat health conditions that improve with increased vasodilation. These conditions include chest pain, atherosclerosis, heart disease or failure, intermittent claudication/peripheral vascular disease, and vascular headaches.

Arginine Heart Benefits

Arginine is a important amino acid that plays a role in a number of physiological functions in the body, however, is best known for its cardiovascular effects. Researches indicate arginine may help treat health problems that improve with vasodilation, such as clogged arteries, chest pain, coronary artery disease, heart failure, intermittent claudication/peripheral vascular disease, and blood vessel swelling that causes headaches. L-arginine is the precursor of nitric oxide, which is a substance that helps dilate blood vessels and improves circulation. Nitric oxide is 1000 times more strong than any naturally occurring antioxidant in the body. Its antioxidant effects are especially important for numerous body systems and may help protect against heart disease, stroke, and cancer, as well as slowing the aging process.

Angina is chest pain caused by restricted blood flow to the heart. Taking arginine seems to reduce symptoms and increase exercise tolerance and quality of life in individuals with angina. Taking 2 g of arginine 3 times per day for as little as 3 days has improved the ability of angina sufferers to exercise. Seven of ten participants with severe angina improved significantly after taking 9 g of arginine per day for 3 months in an study. In a study, of 36 participants with heart disease found that use of L-arginine (in combination with antioxidant vitamins and minerals) at a daily dose of 6.6 g decreased symptoms of angina. A small-scale a study showed that use of arginine (700 mg 4 times daily) may support transdermal nitroglycerin treatment for angina.

In the body, arginine is converted to nitric oxide, which relaxes the blood vessels. This lowers stress on the heart and develops circulation. Three small-scale study enrolling a total of 70 participant with congestive heart failure (CHF) found that L-arginine at a dose of 5 g to 15 g daily could significantly improve symptoms as well as objective measurements of heart function. L-arginine may enhance cardiac performance in patients with congestive heart failure, according to a 2000 study reported in “Clinical Cardiology”.

Individuals with advanced hardening of the arteries, frequently have difficulty walking because of lack of blood flow to the legs, a problem known as intermittent claudication. The intensity of intermittent claudication is usually measured in the distance a person can walk without pain. Intermittent claudication is primarily caused by peripheral artery disease. Claudication generally occurs in individuals aged over 50 years; but it can occur much earlier in people who smoke and those who have diabetes, high blood pressure. Intravenous injections of the arginine have been shown to be significantly efficacious at improving intermittent claudication. In a study, 8 g of arginine, injected twice daily for 3 weeks, improved pain-free walking distance by 230% and absolute walking distance by 155%, compared to no healing with placebo.

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