L-arginine is one of the essential amino acids made in the body, but also can be found in some foods like whole grains, soybeans and nuts. It supports the immune system and also changes ammonia into urea. There is additional data that shows l-arginine may be helpful in treating fatty liver disease by increasing blood flow to the liver.
Fatty liver disease, or hepatic steatosis comes as either alcoholic fatty liver disease or non-alcoholic and there are more cases of the non-alcoholic type, which refers to a buildup of lipids in the liver. There are usually no symptoms of non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis, but occasionally there is some weight loss and fatigue. Brandon Dotson of the website Livestrong.com says, “Over time, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, can lead to inflammation and scarring of you liver, according to the Mayo Clinic.”
There are a number of risk factors for developing fatty liver disease, and some of them are, high cholesterol, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and high triglycerides. As there is generally nothing symptomatic about non-alcoholic hepatic steatosis, the best way to test for it is with a blood test or test of the actual liver tissue.
Dotson goes on to say, “People with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease normally have reductions in blood flow to the liver, which inhibits the organ from receiving enough nutrients and oxygen to reverse the condition.” A study with rats at the University College London in the UK showed that rats taking l-arginine every day for a total of 12 weeks, had a significant increase in blood flow to the liver. There is as yet no data with human subjects.
So l-arginine shows a great deal of promise in many areas of health. But as always, please consult your healthcare professional before taking any supplements.