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Arginine, according to the Mayo Clinic, is a semi-essential amino acid, a building block of protein. The body normally makes enough of it to function and supplementation is unnecessary, however, some people with conditions such as protein malnutrition and medical conditions such as burns and injuries may need additional dietary supplementation. Symptoms of deficiency may include hair loss, poor wound healing and skin rash, and require arginine supplementation. As with all amino acids and other health supplements, talk to a professional before taking a supplement.
If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
Arginine is an amino acid the body needs to make protein by the creation of creatinine and to create urea, which is necessary for the removal of toxic ammonia from the body. It is necessary for muscle building and proper functioning of the heart and blood vessels, along with most other organs in the body. Normally, we have enough because it is synthesized from foods we eat.
Symptoms of Deficiency
The Mayo Clinic states that arginine deficiency can cause problems with the skin such as rash and hair loss due to its reported ability to increase blood supply to the skin. More serious conditions such as poor wound healing may also result, particularly important for those with burns and infections. In rare cases, fatty liver may develop that can eventually lead to problems with liver functioning along with problems with functioning of the blood vessels.
Reasons for Deficiency
Though the normal person can make enough arginine within the body for necessary function, people with inadequate protein in their diet or rapid growth may need additional arginine. Persons with excessive lysine intake or excessive ammonia production may also upset their arginine production. Those with medical conditions such as burns, infections, sepsis and urea synthesis disorders may require additional arginine supplementation. Under rare conditions, with medical supervision arginine has been used to treat metabolic alkalosis because of its high chloride content.
Naturally occurring arginine may be found in a wide range of foods including both animal and plant sources. Dairy products such as milk and products made from milk, poultry, beef, pork and seafood all have adequate levels of arginine. Whole grains and nuts including wheat, peanuts, soybeans and tree nuts like walnuts, almonds and cashews are all good sources of arginine Arginine can also be taken as a dietary supplement obtained from a health food store. Consult a medical professional before supplementation with arginine
- National Institutes of Health: Arginine
- Prescription for Nutritional Healing; Phyllis A. Balch, CNC; 2005
- meat image by dinostock from Fotolia.com