By John Parrillo
I’m a big advocate of amino acid supplements. Components of protein, amino acid are made from varying amounts of carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. Chains of amino acids are held together with “peptides.” These chains are used to make proteins in the body, forming muscles, organs, bones, skin, hair, hormones and enzymes. There are 23 amino acids all together; each one has a different benefit in the body
In this column, I’ll focus on the amino acid arginine, found in our Enhanced GH Formula™ and our Ultimate Amino Formula™. Arginine has some very impressive benefits for bodybuilders, weight trainers, athletes, and exercisers. Arginine is a:
Natural Growth Hormone Releaser
Arginine appears to bump up GH by cutting down the release of “growth hormone inhibiting hormone,” a chemical that suppresses the release of GH. GH levels begin to climb about 30 minutes after taking arginine.
In a Polish study published in 2010, researchers studied the effects of taking arginine and orthinine (an arginine-like amino acid) on athletes who performed heavy resistance training over a three-week period. Part of the group received a placebo, while the others took the amino acid supplement.
What happened next? Well, the athletes who supplemented with arginine and orthinine had a significant increase in growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor – two hormones responsible for increase muscle. The placebo-takers had no such effect. (1)This is just another study showing that arginine helps release growth hormone – which is why we put it in our Enhanced GH Formula™.
Nitric Oxide (NO) Booster
Nitric oxide, or NO for short, is a molecule produced naturally in the body that helps to relax and expand blood vessels (vasodiation). Arginine has been well studied for its ability to contribute to NO production. In fact, arginine is the only building block for NO. (Don’t confuse nitric oxide with nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.) NO’s effects depend on a sufficient supply of arginine in your body.
NO has direct relevance to exercisers, bodybuilders, and athletes. Because it dilates your blood vessels, more blood flows through to your muscles. And blood carries oxygen and nutrients, indirectly leading to better muscle energy and growth.
In one study, researchers set out to test the effects of arginine on vasodilation and in increasing nitric oxide production. They took 51 healthy male volunteers, divided them into 4 groups based on their age and physical activity, since regular physical activity itself increases vasodilation.
After the ingestion of arginine, vasodilation in the group taking arginine increased, while in the other groups it remained the same. (2) Taking supplemental arginine helps boost NO levels, thus benefiting your heart and blood vessels. Let me add: Arginine may be a natural Viagra. The same problems underlying narrowing blood vessels also impact a guy’s ability to maintain an erection. Taking supplemental arginine has been shown to help the blood vessels of the penis dilate, and you know what that means: firmer erections.
Post-Exercise Recovery Agent
After you train, your muscles are hungry for nutrients so that they can begin the real work of mass-building. Among the nutrients needed is glucose, which also puts the anabolic hormone, insulin, to work. Here’s where arginine, taken after a workout, can help: by increasing the concentration of glucose in your body, and pumping up insulin.
This effect was discovered in the Chinese study of 12 healthy male judo athletes, randomly divided into two groups and asked to perform a single bout (60 minutes) of exercise at 75% VO2max (a measure of oxygen uptake).
Afterwards, the researchers measured various components of the athletes’ blood. The main finding was the significant increase in glucose and insulin as a result of arginine supplementation. (3) This is what you want to happen after a workout because these elevations create a muscle-building environment in your body during the all-important recovery period.
What many people don’t realize is that arginine is an all-around healing supplement. Although the body can synthesize l-arginine, supplementation may be sometimes necessary, not only for athletes, but also in in particular conditions that result in depleted arginine. Among diseases and states where supplementation may be necessary are: burns, severe wounds, infections, insufficient circulation, and sterility. Plus, recent research has found that arginine helps in reducing angina, high blood pressure, and glaucoma.
Different Ways to Use Arginine
How and when you take arginine depends on your goals:
If you’re interested in boosting your NO levels, it is best to have arginine in your system 30 to 60 minutes prior to workouts. This helps dilate your blood vessels in order to pump more blood, nutrients, and oxygen to your muscles. And you’ll definitely get a better pump during workouts (don’t forget to perform pump sets, then watch your muscles practically blast forth from your tee-shirt!) Bottom line: You’ll not only get a great pump, but you’ll also be able to train more intensely. Take a couple of capsules of our Enhanced GH Formula™ prior to working out.
Also, to help with post-exercise recovery, take two Ultimate Amino™ tablets with a protein shake such as Parrillo Pro-Carb™ for optimal results.
To release growth hormone, take it prior to bedtime. Grow while you sleep? You bet. Thus, the timing boosts your GH levels when that hormone can really boost muscle and strip off body fat.
One more point: Our Enhanced GH Formula™ contains not only arginine pyroglutamate but also lysine monohydrochloride. When isolated and grouped together and taken on a regular basis, both have been shown to promote the secretion of growth hormone in the body. Remember, growth hormone is the mightiest of all hormonal secretions as it increases mass and decreases body fat simultaneously, and aids in joint repair!
1. Zajac, A., et al. 2010. Arginine and ornithine supplementation increases growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor-1 serum levels after heavy-resistance exercise in strength-trained athletes. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research 24: 1082-1090.
2. Melik, Z., et al. 2017. L-arginine as dietary supplement for improving microvascular function. Clinical Hemorheology and Microcirculation 65: 205-217.
3. Tsai, P.H., et al. 2009. Effects of arginine supplementation on post-exercise metabolic responses. The Chinese Journal of Physiology 52: 136-142.