The Miracle of L-Arginine
I've got to tell you, this nutrient is right up there with my other favorite cardiac nutrients—coenzyme Q10 and L-carnitine.
Not only does it have amazing cardiovascular benefits, but it also has a wide variety of other health benefits, including:
- Lowers blood pressure;
- Reduces blood stickiness in patients with high cholesterol;
- Improves blood flow in those with significant coronary artery disease;
- Reduces symptoms associated with claudication (pain, usually in the extremities due to a lack of blood flow);
- Relieves of congestive heart failure and improved stamina;
- Stabilizes angina;
- Improves the painful condition known as Raynaud's phenomenon (fingers become pale, occasionally turn blue in cold temperatures); and
- Reverses impotence.
And on the heart front, specifically, L-arginine seems to know where exactly it is needed most.
Knowing the Good Guys from the Bad
Research has shown that in intravenous or supplement form, L-arginine supports the production of one of the good guys—endothelium-derived nitric oxide (EDNO).
EDNO is a potent substance that dilates blood vessels and allows more blood to course through them. It can even retard the development of heart disease, including hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), the most serious form of heart disease.
Atherosclerosis, of course, is caused by the bad guys—high LDL "bad"cholesterol and blood pressure, cigarette smoking (makes blood thick and raises fibrinogen and homocysteine levels), elevated levels of homocysteine, LP(a), fibrinogen and insulin. All of these bad boys—alone or together—cause endothelial vasodilator dysfunction.
Unfortunately, endothelial vasodilator dysfunction may be well established before symptoms like angina appear. Who's vulnerable to endothelial vasodilator dysfunction? All of us, but those with a history of heart disease are at greatest risk. Those folks must preserve vasodilator activity with L-arginine (by the way, there are no drugs that significantly raise EDNO activity).
Where Do You Find L-Arginine?
The typical American diet contains about 5 grams of L-arginine. That sounds good, but wait—most of it comes from red meat, which is full of saturated fat, petrochemicals, radiation, and other harmful substances. Nuts, eggs, tofu, tuna, and salmon are far better food sources.
Even then, you can't get what you need from your diet to prevent or reverse endothelial vasodilator dysfunction. To get the 6 to 9 grams daily, you'd have to eat an enormous amount of food each day—a half pound of tuna or 2.5 pounds of tofu.
Which means, if you have heart disease, you must consider taking L-arginine supplements to help stop its progression and arrest its hold on you.
L-arginine comes in pill or tablet form. Again, aim for 6–9 grams a day.
Not finding what you need? Check my A-to-Z article index.
Enjoy What You've Just Read?
Get it delivered to your inbox! Signup for E-News and you'll get great content like you've just read along with other great tips and guides for Dr. Sinatra!
Meet Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra is a highly respected and sought-after cardiologist and nutritionist with more than 30 years of clinical practice, research, and study. His integrative approach to heart health focuses on reducing inflammation in the body and maximizing the heart's ability to produce and use energy. More About Dr. Sinatra
Dr. Stephen Sinatra's Favorites
We've combined this anti-aging bombshell with doctor-recommended heart support!
Redefine your concept of aging—look and feel younger with each passing day!
Doctor-recommended support for healthy cholesterol ratios, blood pressure & overall heart health