zig
0

Notifications

  • You're all caught up!

Benefits of L-Arginine and L-Ornithine

by
author image Sandi Busch
Sandi Busch received a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, then pursued training in nursing and nutrition. She taught families to plan and prepare special diets, worked as a therapeutic support specialist, and now writes about her favorite topics – nutrition, food, families and parenting – for hospitals and trade magazines.
Benefits of L-Arginine and L-Ornithine
Baked fish on a plate Photo Credit Jarvna/iStock/Getty Images

L-arginine and L-ornithine, or simply arginine and ornithine, are two amino acids that share a lot in common in spite of one significant difference. Like most amino acids, arginine helps build proteins. Ornithine, on the other hand, doesn’t participate in protein synthesis. Your body relies on both amino acids to function properly, and they work together -- as well as separately -- to ensure your health.

Detoxify Ammonia

Ammonia is a byproduct formed during the metabolism of protein. Since ammonia is toxic, your body neutralizes and eliminates it through a process called the urea cycle. The cycle follows precise steps, with each one requiring specific substances to complete its part of the cycle. Arginine and ornithine are used in four of the five enzymes essential to these steps. While urea cycle disorders are often caused by genetic diseases, a deficiency of arginine or ornithine triggered by illness or stress can cause a small increase in ammonia levels in the blood, according to the Rare Diseases Clinical Research Network.

Boost Growth Hormone

Arginine and ornithine stimulate the release of human growth hormone, which may help build muscles. When a group of men took 7 grams of arginine prior to exercising, their blood levels of growth hormone increased more than the normal boost caused by exercise alone, according to an article in the September 2006 issue of the “Journal of Applied Physiology.” A similar result was achieved when athletes took a combination of 3,000 milligrams of arginine and 2,200 milligrams of ornithine twice daily for three weeks. Their levels of growth hormone were significantly higher following exercise than those of the group who did not take supplements, according to an article in the April 2010 issue of the “Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.”

Lower Blood Pressure

Your body uses ornithine to synthesize arginine, then arginine is used to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide regulates smooth muscle contraction, which allows it to relax the muscles in blood vessels, according to NYU Langone Medical Center. When patients with high blood pressure took either 6 or 12 grams of arginine daily, blood pressure in the group treated with 12 grams dropped significantly, reported a study published in the “Medical Science Monitor” in May 2010.

Choose Top Sources

Your body produces arginine and ornithine, so they’re not an essential part of your diet. However, they’re conditional amino acids, which means your body needs more of them when you’re sick or under stress and it may not be able to keep up with the demand. During those times, you may need to boost your consumption of arginine and ornithine, whether through foods or supplements. Good sources of both amino acids include fish, lean meat, eggs and dairy products. You can also get arginine from beans, brown rice, oatmeal, nuts and fish.

LiveStrong Calorie Tracker
THE LIVESTRONG.COM MyPlate Nutrition, Workouts & Tips
GOAL
  • Gain 2 pounds per week
  • Gain 1.5 pounds per week
  • Gain 1 pound per week
  • Gain 0.5 pound per week
  • Maintain my current weight
  • Lose 0.5 pound per week
  • Lose 1 pound per week
  • Lose 1.5 pounds per week
  • Lose 2 pounds per week
GENDER
  • Female
  • Male
lbs.
ft. in.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

CURRENTLY TRENDING

Demand Media

Our Privacy Policy has been updated. Please take a moment and read it here.