Arginine has been known to society since 1886, when it was first extracted from a lupine seedling (a bean). Ever since then, people have found new uses for arginine. It's only since Louis Ignarro's breakthrough Nobel Prize winning research that arginine has been thrust into the limelight.
The body produces arginine in small amounts. Your body synthesizes arginine from proteins like those found in meat, beans, and milk. Generally, the body derives enough arginine on its own, but sometimes supplementation is necessary.
Known for its vasodilation properties, arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide. Since it widens blood vessels, its use for medical illnesses that benefit from vasodilation have been found useful. Arginine has been used to treat atherosclerosis, angina (chest pain), heart disease, heart failure, erectile dysfunction, vascular headaches, and certain other vascular diseases.
Beyond its usefulness for vasodilation, arginine also triggers the body to produce protein. Body builders are now reaching for arginine to help increase protein production. Research also shows benefits regarding enhancing sperm production, healing wounds, and preventing tissue loss in severely ill patients.
As with any supplement, care should be taken to ensure quality and safety. Some medical conditions could be worsened with vasodilation and thus it is wise to consult with a physician before use. Conversely, some conditions may benefit from use of arginine supplements, such as arginine hydrochloride can be used to treat metabolic alkalosis.
Mostly, arginine remains a popular supplement for those seeking heart health and body building. Many people supplement with arginine to help aid strength training and speed the muscle rebuilding process. Arginine is found in combination products like L-Arginine Plus (with added heart-healthy ingredients), Proargi and Proargi Plus (with added L-Citrulline). Due to its unique composition, arginine will likely continue to be one of the top body building supplements available.