L-arginine is one of 22 amino acids that makes up protein and has been shown to help treat and help prevent certain medical conditions, such as kidney function, heart failure, colds, and even a faster recovery from surgeries. L-arginine is most popular for its improvement in heart health and preventing certain heart conditions. However, what does the “L” in L-arginine stand for? The “L,” stands for “levo,” and means the amino acid is naturally occurring and distinguishes itself from other synthetic amino acids.

Once in the body, the amino acid L-arginine produces another chemical known as NO or nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is known to improve many different cardiovascular structures. This means L-arginine will help with increase blood flow by widening the blood vessels, reversing the hardening of blood vessels, help relax blood vessels to improve high blood pressure, as well as breakdown the plaque build-up that occurs, in order to prevent heart attacks, heart disease, and stroke.

In combination with other over-the-counter and prescription medications, L-arginine is used to help with other medical conditions. For example, L-arginine used along with ibuprofen is known to help with migraines and treating breast cancer. If used with other amino acids it is known to help treat weight loss in people with AIDS and if used with fish oil it can help reduce inflammation, infections, and increase wound healing.

Since L-arginine is known to help with blood flow, it is recommended that people with low blood pressure should not take the supplement because it can cause your blood pressure to drop even more. The same goes for people with high blood pressure, L-arginine can increase blood flow to the heart. It is also recommended that women who are pregnant or nursing should not take L-arginine. It is very important that if you have any of the conditions above or are concerned about taking L-arginine along with other medications you might be taking, it is best to consult with your doctor first to be sure it is okay.