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Arginine

Arginine is one of most important amino acid present in the human body. Arginine is one of the twenty amino acids that make up the protein in the human body.

Industrially arginine is produced by fermentation from carbohydrate sources as a white crystalline powder, odorless but with bitter taste. Arginine is readily soluble in water and practically insoluble in alcohol.
In the pharmaceutical field, arginine has been administered orally or by infusion patients with liver disease caused by ornithine cycle disorder and used for a pituitary gland function diagnosis.
Arginine has also various functions. An intake of arginine is known to cause vasodilation1), an improvement in blood flow1,2), and the promotion of the secretion of growth hormone3). Arginine enhances cellular cytotoxicity and promotes the immune reaction of natural killer cells (NK cells; antibody-independent lymph cells) and lymphokine-activated killer cells (LAK cells; lymph cells that have a vigorous cellular cytotoxicity that is induced by lymphokines)4).
Arginine is known to accelerate the secretion of insulin and is used as a nonglucose secretagogue (an agent that causes or stimulates secretion) in measuring the level of insulin secretion5).Arginine is involved in the detoxification of ammonia as a component of ornithine cycle in the liver6), and it exhibits an effect in facilitating the detoxification of ammonia7). Arginine is converted into ornithine, a precursor of polyamines, by the action of arginase8,9). Polyamines are proven to be involved in the tissue growth9).
It is known that arginine can be absorbed through oral ingestion10), and there are many cases that have shown that oral ingestion of arginine is efficacious in animals and humans3,11,12).
 
In respect to upper levels in human diet, few data indicate adverse effects caused by arginine ingestion (the 6th ICAAS Workshop on the Assessment of Adequate Intake of Dietary Amino Acids)13). In a clinical test in which the effects of arginine in increasing muscle buildup and improving blood flow were evaluated in adults, the amount of arginine (as free form) needed to be effective was reported to be 1-8 g per day1,2,14). No undesirable side effects resulting from such an intake of arginine have been reported. In OSLObserved Safe levelthat is the idea proposed recently, OSL of arginine is set as 20g per day15). The acute toxicity (LD50) of arginine orally administered to rats is 16 g/kg (B.W.)16).

 References:

 1) Hambrecht R. Hilbrich L. Erbs S. Gielen S. Fiehn E. Schoene N. Schuler G. Correction of endothelial dysfunction in chronic heart failure: additional effects of exercise training and oral L-arginine supplementation.Journal of the American College of Cardiology. 35(3):706-13, 2000
 2) Wolf A. Zalpour C. Theilmeier G. Wang BY. Ma A. Anderson B. Tsao PS. Cooke JP. Dietary L-arginine supplementation normalizes platelet aggregation in hypercholesterolemic humans. Journal of the American Collegeof Cardiology. 29(3):479-85, 1997
 3) Besset A. Bonardet A. Rondouin G. Descomps B. Passouant P. Increase in sleep related GH and Prl secretion after chronic arginine aspartate administration in man. Acta Endocrinologica. 99(1):18-23, 1982
 4) Brittenden J. Park KG. Heys SD. Ross C. Ashby J. Ah-See A. Eremin O. L-Arginine stimulates host defenses in patients with breast cancer. Surgery. 115(2):205-12, 1994
 5) Eremin O. ed. L-Arginine: Biological aspects and clinical application. Chapman & Hall. 15-8, 1997
 6) Rodwell VW. Chapter 31: Catabolism of Proteins and of Amino Acid Nitrogen. in Harper's Biochemistry 25th Edition. Murray RK. Mayes PA. Rodwell VW. Granner DK eds. McGraw-Hill/Appleton & Lange. NY. USA. 313-22, 1999
 7) Bessman SP. Shear S. Fitzgerald J. Effect of arginine and glutamate on the removal of ammonia from the blood in normal and cirrhotic patients. New England Journal of Medicine. 256(20):941-3, 1957
8) Rodwell VW. Chapter 32: Catabolism of the Carbon Skeletons of Amino Acids. in Harper's Biochemistry 25th Edition. Murray RK. Mayes PA. Rodwell VW. Granner DK eds. McGraw-Hill/Appleton & Lange. NY. USA. 323-46, 1999
9)  Rodwell VW. Chapter 33: Conversion of amino acids to specialized products. in Harper's Biochemistry 25thEdition. Murray RK. Mayes PA. Rodwell VW. Granner DK eds. McGraw-Hill/Appleton & Lange. NY. USA. 347-58, 1999
10) Tangphao O. Grossmann M. Chalon S. Hoffman BB. Blaschke TF. Pharmacokinetics of intravenous and oral L-arginine in normal volunteers. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 47(3):261-6, 1999
11) Elam RP. Morphological changes in adult males from resistance exercise and amino acid supplementation. Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness. 28(1):35-9, 1988
12) Barbul A. Rettura G. Levenson SM. Seifter E. Wound healing and thymotropic effects of arginine: a pituitary mechanism of action. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 37(5):786-94, 1983
13) The 6th Workshop on the Assessment of Adequate Intake of Dietary Amino Acids. The Journal of Nutrition. 137, Supplement, 2007.
14) Elam RP. Hardin DH. Sutton RA. Hagen L. Effects of arginine and ornithine on strength, lean body mass and urinary hydroxyproline in adult males. Journal of Sports Medicine & Physical Fitness. 29(1):52-6, 1989
15) Shao A. Hathcock JN. Risk assessment for the amino acids taurine, L-glutamine and L-arginine. Regulatory Toxicollogy & Pharmacology. 50(3):376-99, 2008
16) Amino Acid Data Book. Japanese Society for Amino Acid Sciences. 2010   

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