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How to Increase Your Absorption of Arginine

By Kaytee Rae Weaver

L-arginine, also known as arginine is one of the 20 amino acids the body needs to make protein. It is considered semiessential as your body produces the amino acid but supplementation is often needed as certain stresses can deplete your body's supply. Arginine plays several critical roles in the body including wound healing, removal of ammonia from the body and boosting immune system function. It is also used in treating many cardiovascular diseases as it is a precursor for nitric oxide, which aids in relaxing blood vessels and promotes an increase in blood flow. A few simple steps will help ensure optimal absorption of this valuable amino acid.

  1. Supplement with a high quality L-glutamine product as this will enhance the absorption rate of nutrients in the small intestine where amino acids, including arginine is absorbed. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends a 500 milligram tablet, taken one to three times daily, with your choice of beverage for best results. Glutamine helps to protect the cells lining the GI tract and increases the height of villi lining the small intestine. The villi resemble small fingers and aid in increasing the gastrointestinal tracts absorption surface area, subsequently maximizing the amount of arginine you can absorb.

  2. Supplement with L-arginine apart from other protein sources or amino acids. Most of the digestion and absorption of nutrients takes place in the small intestines which is the main transport system for absorbing the nutrients we ingest.

  3. Add live-culture yogurt to your diet as this will increase the amount of healthy bacteria present in the intestines. Consuming certain foods such as yogurt which contain the digestive enzyme lactobacillus acidophilus may create healthy bacterial flora which is necessary for human nutrition and optimal assimilation of nutrients.

  4. Tip

    Lactobacillus acidophilus is also available as a herbal supplement which you can take to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and maintain an acidic environment in the body necessary for normal digestion and assimilation of nutrients.

    L-arginine is also found in red meat, poultry, fish, dairy products and chocolate. Consuming a wide variety of these foods will help promote arginine levels in the body.

    Other amino acids such as lysine can interfere with arginine absorption so to maximize the amount absorbed, take arginine apart from other amino acids.

    Warnings

    Although arginine does not appear to cause any adverse reactions mild side effects may include nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain and bloating. L-arginine may interfere with medication taken for high blood pressure which may cause dizziness and lightheadedness as it increases blood flow to the heart.

    Always consult with your health care professional before adding or changing your current diet or supplement plan.

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