We talk a lot about Arginine here in association with heart health and nutritional shakes, but what you might not know is how important arginine is to maintain strong cardiovascular health and overall circulation. How important is circulation, you ask? Extremely.
Arginine and Vasodilation
According to the MayoClinic, and many other resources and experts, there are massive amounts of evidence which suggest that arginine may help treat medical conditions that improve with increased vasodilation. Simply speaking, this essential amino acid has the amazing ability to widen the blood vessels, allowing increased blood flow, which actually decreases blood pressure.
Vasodilation is a direct response to a “localized need of oxygen.” When a part of the body, tissues within the body, muscles or organs are in distress and are not receiving enough nutrients or oxygen, those tissues release vasodilators which tells the body to increase vasodilation, widen the blood vessels, and send more blood down the tubes. When the arteries become blocked due to plaque build-up and constriction, vasodilation also becomes restricted and blood cannot flow freely to the areas of the body that are in distress.
Arginine, often found in foods containing protein, assists in vasolidation and supports the widening of arteries to improve blood flow. According to the MayoClinic, this improved blood flow can help decrease the risk for, and treat, chest pain, atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), heart disease or failure, erectile dysfunction, intermittent claudication/peripheral vascular disease, and vascular headaches (headache-inducing blood vessel swelling).
Arginine and Wound Healing
Amazingly, studies have shown that arginine also triggers a function in the body which causes it to make protein, which helps to heal wounds at a quicker pace and prevent “tissue wasting.”
Arginine in Foods
Arginine can be found naturally in almonds, barley, brazil nuts, brown rice, buckwheat, cashews, cereals, chicken, chocolate, coconut, corn, dairy, certain lean meats, oats, peanuts, and many other grains.
Arginine and Nitric Oxide
When we talk about arginine, we often refer to nitric oxide as well. The reason behind this is because arginine is an amino acid that, once in the body, actually creates nitric oxide. Arginine is one of the main components in the creation of nitric oxide, which itself increases blood flow and vasodilation.