Arginine: supplement for athletes at every level

Arginine is a popular supplement among athletes. That is not surprising when you consider that athletes can be of service in many areas. Use of an arginine supplement contributes to the improvement of endurance, oxygen uptake, fat burning and lactate discharge. Arginine also boosts the immune system by activating cells that detect and treat infections. Supplements are widely available and will be used in the form of capsules as well as a powder.

The usefulness of amino acids

Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid. Amino acids are organic compounds that play an important role for the human body. Each of the basic amino acids has its own tasks. A distinction is made between essential and non-essential amino acids. Non-essential amino acids are produced by the body from other substances. Essential amino acids must be taken by food. Those who follow a healthy diet with enough vegetables, fruits, nuts, dairy products and meat or fish get enough amino acids for an average need. However, if you follow a limited diet – because of an allergy or because you are vegetarian, for example – it may be necessary to take a supplement that supplements these important nutrients.

Arginine is important for athletes

Arginine is such an amino acid that athletes have an increased need. It is a precursor for nitric oxide. This means that this substance is required to produce nitric oxide – that is important neurotransmitter. Nitric oxide plays an important role in the relaxation of muscles, the functioning of the liver, the heart and the gastrointestinal tract and the achievement and maintenance of an erection. In addition, arginine has a positive influence on muscle growth, endurance and fat burning: all factors that are important for athletes.

Scientific research has shown, among other things, that if one takes 3 grams of arginine daily, this already significantly improves sports performance. The body is therefore able to absorb more oxygen, burn sugars more slowly and fats more quickly. In doing so, it reduces the concentration of lactic acid in the blood, so that endurance efforts can be sustained for longer ( Burtscher, M. et al, 2005 ). Arginine is therefore an extremely useful supplement for people who exercise at a high level, but also for amateur athletes who want to improve their performance. Whether you’re running, cycling, swimming or strength training: arginine can mean a lot to different athletes.

A boost for the immune system

In addition to the benefits in terms of sporting performance, arginine also has an additional effect: it boosts the immune system. Several scientific studies have shown that supplementation with arginine increases the number of CD4 + immune cells. These are cells that simply instruct other cells to detect and treat pathogens. If they recognize an infection, they deliver a signaling substance that activates other immune cells. Research has thus identified a positive effect of the use of arginine in patients treated in connection with blood poisoning, inflammation of wounds and bladder inflammation. In all these situations, use of an arginine supplement proved to promote healing by more than 50% ( Kang, K. et al, 2014 ).

How do you use arginine?

Arginine is available in the form of capsules and powder. Although the effectiveness has already been established with a daily intake of 3 grams, it is generally recommended to take a dose between 5 and 10 grams for optimal effect. Usually it is recommended to take this in two or three moments on the day. However, it is important to follow the instructions from the package leaflet or on the packaging. Capsules can simply be taken with a glass of water. Powder can be mixed with water or juice.

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