L-Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid found in the diet. Good food sources of L-arginine include eggs, meats, milk, soy proteins, peanuts and walnuts.
Conditionally essential means it is particularly important during periods of illness and chronic conditions like hypertension, kidney disease and type II diabetes. These states tend to be characterized by an increase in the enzyme that degrades L-arginine (known as arginase), resulting in a transient deficiency, which can be partially remedied by an increase in L-arginine intake. Deficiency can also impair immunity, hair and muscle growth.
It is a dietary supplement, which is also popular among athletes because it is the amino acid, that directly produces Nitric Oxide via the nitric oxide synthase enzymes. Nitric oxide is involved in increasing blood flow through vasodilation.
L-Citrulline is another supplementation option, because it is converted into arginine in the kidneys. It also has a better absorption rate than L-arginine and is able to increase levels of plasma arginine more effective than arginine itself. For long term, health related supplementation, L-citrulline may be a better supplementation option than L-arginine.Read Complete Article