People looking to enhance growth hormone levels, which lead to increased strength, muscle mass and energy, often consume foods or supplements enriched with ornithine. Ornithine is a nonessential amino acid, meaning your body is able to produce it on its own, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Since ornithine can be found in many types of protein-rich foods, deficiency is rarely a problem unless people are extremely malnourished, pregnant, vegetarian or vegan.
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Ornithine can be found in meat, according to the Nutritional Supplements Knowledgebase. Body builders tend to consume protein-rich foods such as beef, chicken and pork to enhance muscle gain and recovery. Ornithine in meat can help stimulate the release of growth hormones, which may lead to an increase in muscle size and strength. In addition to being rich in ornithine, meat is also plentiful in important nutrients such as zinc, selenium and iron, which have antioxidant properties. To reap the health benefits of meat, be sure to purchase lean meat because it is lower in saturated fat and cholesterol compared to highly fat-marbled meat.
For vegetarians, eggs are a good source of ornithine, according to the University of Michigan Health System. Easy to eat, eggs are not only a good source of protein, but also vitamins such as vitamins A and E. Eggs also contain choline, a nutrient that may help in adult brain functioning. If you choose to eat eggs for their ornithine and nutrient benefits, consider buying organic eggs as they are antibiotic and pesticide free.
In addition to being a good source of ornithine, fish is also a good alternative to fatty meat products as a source of protein. Certain cold-water fish, such as salmon, mackerel and herring are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for people with healthy hearts as well as those at risk for cardiovascular disease. Fish helps lower blood fats called triglycerides, according to the Mayo Clinic. Eating grilled or baked fish two times a week is typically recommended to reap the health benefits of eating fish.
Dairy products are an excellent source of ornithine and nutrients such as calcium, protein, potassium, phosphorus and vitamins A and E. Low-fat dairy products can help build muscle and strong bones, reduce your risk of hypertension and help you better manage your weight. Dairy products include milk, cheese and yogurt. For those who are lactose intolerant, consider soy milk and yogurt cheese or taking enzyme tablets to help you consume some dairy.