A lot of things can strike your heart and disrupt its function. The supplement arginine, an amino acid, could help treat or prevent many of these very serious conditions.
Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
Heart failure occurs when the heart is not able to pump enough blood to maintain a normal blood circulation. This would lead to the accumulation of blood and bodily fluids in the lungs, abdomen or legs. Congestive heart failure is associated with a lower amount of plasma arginine, reduced nitric oxide synthesis, and reduced blood flow to the extremities. Most high-quality studies show that arginine administration leads to many health benefits in patients with CHF.
Here’s a rundown of the best-looking proof:
— Arginine at nine grams a day helped patients exercise for longer and increased the magnesium levels in their bodies.
— Arginine, anywhere from 5.6 to 12.6 grams a day for six weeks improved quality of life, blood flow to limbs, and the distance people could walk without pain.
— At 15 grams a day for just five days, arginine improved kidney function in patients with CHF.
— With doctors using 20 grams of arginine through an IV, patients had improved blood flow to limbs, and their heart could pump more blood. The amino acid also reduced blood pressure.
Peripheral Artery Disease
“Intermittent claudication” is caused by blocked arteries in the lower extremities. Patients with this condition complain of leg pain associated with walking. Arginine can both relieve symptoms and help them walk greater distances. In one study of 39 patients, 16 grams/day of arginine improved the pain-free walking distance by more than 200%.
In another, with 41 patients, 8 grams/day (together with antioxidants, niacin, and isoflavonoids) improved the pain-free and total walking distance when compared to placebo or the low-dose arginine.
This is high blood pressure inside the arteries that lead to your lungs. Certain diseases are linked to a higher risk of pulmonary hypertension, including Raynaud’s disease and sickle cell disease. Several studies show a beneficial effect of arginine in lowering the blood pressure in these critical blood vessels.
Coronary Artery Disease
There are mixed results for arginine’s effectiveness on this one. In a great-quality study of 22 patients with stable angina and healed heart attack, six grams of arginine for six days led to increases in exercise capacity. Another high-quality study of 36 patients found that daily use of 6.6 grams, along with antioxidant vitamins and minerals, reduced angina symptoms. A more recent study, however, failed to show any benefit, but it also suggested that arginine may be harmful by increasing the risk of death after a heart attack.