That’s why I have kept changing my mind about arginine (also known as L-arginine). I have known about its powers for years. In 1998 a leading endocrinologist, Dr. Joe Prendergast, brought it to my attention for its ability to reverse the most common complication of diabetes, heart disease.
Arginine is one of the 20 amino acids that make up proteins. It is the only amino acid that generates significant amounts of nitric oxide.
It was in 1998 that three American pharmacologists won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries concerning “nitric oxide as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system”. Nitric oxide protects the heart, stimulates the brain, kills bacteria, and has a role in protecting our lungs, preventing cancer and reversing impotence.
Those are huge claims and not the claims of a quack. That is just part of what the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, which awards the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, said in its press release.
The claims of nitric oxide are, if anything, greater in a new book that I just finished reading. Again, the author is no quack. Louis J. Ignarro is one of the three pharmacologists who won the Nobel Prize for their work on nitric oxide. Since 1985 he has been a professor in the department of pharmacology at the UCLA School of Medicine.
His book, NO More Heart Disease : How Nitric Oxide Can Prevent--Even Reverse--Heart Disease and Stroke came out last year. A paperback version just appeared.
Dr. Ignarro says that among other things nitric oxide relaxes and enlarges the blood vessels, prevents blood clots that trigger strokes and heart attacks, and regulates blood pressure and the accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels. Low levels of nitric oxide are associated with several complications of diabetes, he says.
Both Dr. Ignarro and Dr. Joe recommend that we take about 5 grams of arginine together with 200 to 1000 mg of another amino acid, L-citrulline, daily. The L-citrulline is supposed to boost the arginine.
That’s a lot of pills. But that’s what I’m taking, although I will probably stop taking L-citrulline when my present supply runs out.
I am feeling much better. But I made other changes in my life at the same time, particularly starting on Byetta so it’s hard to say why. And, of course, many of the benefits of arginine are hidden in my arteries.
Each of these doctors sells a concoction of these amino acids together with antioxidants through separate multi-level marketers. There is no way that I would ever buy anything from an MLM, and if you are tempted, please read Dr. Stephen Barrett’s “The Mirage of Multilevel Marketing” and other related Quackwatch articles.
Still, there is excellent scientific evidence for arginine There are two caveats. A recent study concluded that you shouldn’t use arginine after having an “acute myocardial infarction,” commonly known as a heart attack. And arginine supplements may be harmful for people with a tendency to develop oral or genital herpes.