Do you know what a retardant is? Think of a flame retardant for example, they are sprayed on things to slow the spread of fire on clothing right? In the woods ditches or gullies are dug to help create a man made (as if chemicals aren’t) fire retardant. Think of mental retardation (don’t make fun of them, no jokes for this one), what is it? It’s a slow development, especially on the cognitive and mental aspects, right? Arginine does the same thing!
How does arginine act as a retardant you may be wondering and why is slowing things down cooler than diabetics needing a snack before bed? What if I told you it slowed down the growth rate of cancer and tumor cells? Dead serious, oh you’re interested now? It does this by enhancing your natural immune function, it does this by making your thymus gland a little larger and far more active. It may sound scary, but guess what your thymus gland does, it releases T cells (T lymphocytes) which are
extremely important in the function and maintenance of a healthy immune system.
Who else could benefit from have a more active thymus gland, what about people with autoimmune issues, sort of like AIDS? Will arginine cure AIDS? No, but if it helps prolong life by again retarding the spread or severity of AIDS by increasing the overall immune punches your T Cells have, you’d be in better shape.
That’s not all that arginine does for your body, that’s not even the start. Maybe you’re not worried about cancer or AIDS (nothing wrong with being celibate, maybe I have a nun reading this), so you could be wondering if arginine does anything for you. No problem, does your liver work and if so would you want it to keep working? Arginine helps in this area as well.
I consider arginine to be a “child” amino acid in the regard to liver. A good child helps their parents, right? Arginine helps the liver, which makes it (see my “child” amino relation? Parents make child, child helps parent and liver makes arginine, arginine helps liver?) sort of like the liver’s child in a freakish way. Arginine helps the liver in a few ways. It helps with liver disorders like a fatty liver (making it easier to filter and produce) as well as with cirrhosis. How does it do this stuff? Do you remember when I mentioned ammonia and how it turns into urea? What arginine does is it aids in the detoxification of the liver by going after and neutralizing the ammonia.
Arginine is really all encompassing if you ask me, not only does it help a vital organ and promote a super powered immune system, arginine is also great helper when it comes to muscle metabolism! Think of arginine as sort of a trash truck for your muscles, here’s how it does that. Imagine a big pile of trash that needs to go somewhere. You’d start loading the trash truck so it doesn’t create a massive pile and in turn result in problems, like a bad smell right? Arginine takes nitrogen and helps store it and when not needed, it dumps the nitrogen through excretion.
Helping maintain that nitrogen balance in your body, arginine does more than just getting rid of the waste, sometimes in a balanced equation you need more of something to keep the balance, right? It could also help you after surgery as it can improve the function of cells in your lymphatic system.
Are you wondering if we’re done with arginine yet, I mean I can’t blame you we’ve already touched on some real important factors. No, we’re actually really just getting started with the topic (or conversation if you’d rather use that word. Here’s something for all the vain people out there, or athletes working to alter their physique. Arginine also can help with weight loss!
Arginine can help with weight loss, if your mouth is on the floor and eyes wide open keep reading (and if you didn’t brush your teeth take 5 and knock that out, or close your mouth). Let me backtrack a bit (especially since I was a personal trainer), you’re not losing weight but you could lose fat. We already mentioned how arginine helps move nitrogen around when you have the stuff pumping through your muscles after they break right? Arginine also helps to rebuild that muscle mass slightly and can reduce area body fat.
What else is arginine important in, how about maintaining order in a household that would see some dangerous deficiencies if it was missing? There are functions that we need to maintain great health, and if arginine is not sufficiently being produced (what does it become? An ESSENTIAL amino acid, right) you will start seeing the negative effects. Lipid metabolism in the liver (fat), insulin production, glucose tolerance (start thinking blood sugar issues) are some of the functions that could go into a nosedive if arginine is lacking in your body.
Speaking of arginine lacking, do you know there are some who genetically have a problem producing arginine? Infants and toddlers can naturally have much lower levels as arginine production doesn’t come fully into the picture at birth and slowly begins to increase later through growth. Babies will have some arginine, it’s just that the levels they produce are more than likely going to be inadequate to keep up with the demands of the body. This is why you’ll notice some foods, such as soybean, dairy, carob, and other food sources recommended during breastfeeding.
I say during breastfeeding because it is not encouraged for mother’s to supplement with 1-arginine while they are breastfeeding. Babies aren’t the only ones who shouldn’t have 1-arginine supplements, people with oral herpes may want to look into lysine as compared to arginine, especially in the diet. It’s not just oral herpes either but a wide variety of viral infections as arginine could promote growth in the viral cells making them tougher to treat.
Now we’re done with arginine, and we’re going to start touching on one of the shortest bits of information about any amino acids.