Arginine Safety Questions
Thank you for thinking of safety. Before you begin any type of nutrient supplementation program, safety should be fully considered. Fortunately, Arginine is well studied; it is also present in virtually all foods. The following questions and answers are constructed to assist you in making a determination if Arginine supplementation may be beneficial and safe for you.
- How much Arginine can one safely consume, and within what time period?
- Is 4 Grams of Arginine An Optimal Amount for Daily Consumption?
- Arginine Versus Lysine Antagonism - What Does It Mean?
- Are There Some Specific Categories of People Who Should Not Supplement With Arginine?
- Will Embla Arginine Cause Free Radical Damage to the Body?
How much Arginine can one safely consume, and within what time period?
The amino acid Arginine is found in most foods. So, the crux of the issue about Arginine safety is not whether Arginine is safe or not - it is safe to eat as proven by thousands of years of recorded history. The real question is whether Arginine consumption, in your particular case, can be overdone.
This line of thinking is similar to that of asking if a person can drink too much water or eat too much protein? We know, for example, that water is safe to consume. People have safely drunk water for thousands of years. But, it is still a responsible question to ask whether there might be a limit as to how much water one should drink, or better said, how much water within a certain amount of time is safe to drink. For instance, can one safely drink a gallon of water a minute, or a gallon of water an hour, or a gallon a day, or a gallon a week? The same line of thinking applies in regard to virtually every type of food (to which you are not allergic) and even to rates for breathing and sleeping. The question in each case is — at what consumption rate does something change from beneficial to detrimental?
Such questions are very often left to people to answer for themselves through experience. For instance, if a particular individual were to eat several pounds of walnuts in a short period of time, that person would very likely get an upset stomach and perhaps some diarrhea later on. The person would then likely decide to not eat that many walnuts in such a short period of time again. Likewise, if one decided to eat pounds of tapioca pudding daily, the eventual consequence might be clothes that don’t fit well, rising blood lipids, and increased inflammation. One might correlate these adverse results to eating such a large amount of tapioca pudding and choose to cut back on its future consumption. (This is not a diatribe against tapioca pudding - we love tapioca pudding!)
Is 4 Grams of Arginine an Optimum Amount for Daily Consumption?
The average American diet includes approximately 4 grams of useable Arginine per day. This amount appears to be insufficient, based on the fact that cardiovascular disease is rampant in America, and showing up in children as early in life as 12 years of age.
Numerous studies show that much more Arginine — up to 20 grams or more of daily Arginine consumption improves health for the majority of adults. (Remember, that this may not be true for specific individuals - because uniquely speaking, what is good for 999,999 out of one million people, may not be good for a particular person).
In determining how much Arginine would be wise for an individual to consume, an advisable course is to consult with your own health care professional since he or she knows you individually. We offer general ideas only. Therefore, we recommend that you continue to learn about Arginine and then discuss your nutritional choices with your physician or other health care professional who knows you well.
Arginine versus Lysine Antagonism - What Does it Mean?
One of the issues regarding optimal Arginine consumption is that Arginine and Lysine are antagonists. That is, they compete for cell uptake. When competing for cell uptake, each of these amino acids prevents the other from penetrating cell membranes and being retained in the body. Thus when Arginine and Lysine reach the bloodstream at the same time, one does not receive the Nitric-Oxide benefits from Arginine nor the viral inhibiting benefits from the Lysine.
The trick, then, is to have Lysine and Arginine reach the blood stream at different times so that they are each individually well utilized.
Arginine/Lysine antagonism is probably one of the reasons that wild animals instinctively eat only one type of food at a time. By eating foods that are high in free Arginine at one time of the day and eating foods that are high in free Lysine at another time, these amino acids are in the blood stream at different times. Thus, animals acquire the full benefits of both Arginine and Lysine. See a table of free Arginine in many commonly eaten foods.
Unfortunately, people don’t have such instincts, or outthink them, and therefore, don’t eat only one type of food at a time. Instead, we consume many types of food together in a single meal, including those with high amounts of free Lysine and other foods that have high amounts of free Arginine. Thus, we lose the many benefits of Arginine that we could otherwise enjoy.
Note: If one’s cells are uptaking more Arginine than Lysine each day, a potentially bad result will be increased viral activation — leading to cold sores and other herpes complications. Therefore, one needs to ensure that one doesn’t become unbalanced to the Arginine side of amino acid consumption. An easy way to measure this is to notice whether or not you are experiencing viral activations. If not, then you’re probably balancing your Arginine and Lysine intake well enough. Please review this table of commonly eaten foods showing free Arginine and free Lysine levels to get an idea of the foods needed to balance Arginine supplementation. Hint: You’ll notice that Lysine rich foods are more often consumed by most people than Arginine rich foods.
Are There People Who Should Not Supplement With Arginine?
While in general terms, Arginine supplementation, for an average sized adult up to a rate of about 20 grams of Arginine per day is beneficial, yet each and every person must determine (in consultation with his/her health care provider) if Arginine supplementation would be specifically beneficial to his/her body, or not. There is risk inherent in being unique – that cannot be addressed from a website or general recommendation.
Below, are some guidelines as to who should not supplement with Arginine. These guidelines are not complete, so you must look to your personal health care provider for final recommendations.
- Again, one of the important things to remember in the field of physiology and nutrition is that people’s individual situations are unique and therefore consulting with one’s health professional who understands how to proceed in light of one’s unique situation is ALWAYS advisable.
- No one under the age of 23 should supplement with Arginine without the express approval by his/her health care professional since growth hormone levels could become too high.
- Arginine is a powerful, tissue growth accelerating nutrient. This means that Arginine supplementation could be very harmful for persons with cancer, for pregnant women and their gestating babies and for nursing babies.
- Persons with liver or kidney disease do not process foods nor dispose of metabolic byproducts in the same way or as efficiently as persons without such health challenges. Therefore, these persons must discuss the advisability of arginine supplementation in their particular cases.
- Persons with viral diseases may already be unbalanced to the Arginine side, and additional Arginine would only serve to exacerbate viral activity. Persons with any type of herpes, and especially ocular or brain herpes, should not supplement with Arginine, except with the supervision and recommendation of one’s health professional.
Will Embla Arginine’s Cardio Care or Cardio Pro Cause Free Radical Damage to the Body?
All foods result in free radical damage to the body. It is the nature of life that metabolism (extracting energy and nutrients from food) both nourishes our cells and damages our cells because of free radical production that is coincident to energy production.
Embla Arginine, however, has been designed to minimize free radical damage. It provides your body with powerful antioxidant properties (free radical combating properties) and cell membrane protecting properties. The fact is that the calorie content of Embla Arginine is so low and the antioxidant properties are so high that by consuming Embla Arginine, less free radical damage will be occuring in your body than if you did not consume it.