Learn More about Arginine & Hypertension
Byline: Noyan Gokce.
Arginine and Hypertension
Evans Department of Medicine,
Cardiology Section, and Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute, Boston University
School of Medicine, Boston, MA 02118
Arginine dilates blood vessels, reduces blood pressure
Maxwell, Andrew J. and Cooke, John P. Cardiovascular effects of arginine. Current Opinion in Nephrology & Hypertension, Vol. 7, January 1998, pp. 63-70
The inside of blood vessels is lined with a layer of single cells called the endothelium. Among other functions, the endothelium produces nitric oxide that serves to relax (vasodilate) the blood vessels so as to facilitate the flow of blood.
It is now generally accepted that many heart problems involve a dysfunction of the endothelial vasodilator mechanism. Antioxidants, estrogen, exercise, folic acid, and fish oils can in a number of cases, reverse this dysfunction.
Now researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine report that supplementation with the amino acid arginine is highly effective in reversing endothelial dysfunction. It has been established that arginine is the precursor for endothelium-derived nitric oxide (EDNO). EDNO, in turn, is a potent vasodilator and inhibits platelet aggregation and the adherence of circulating blood cells to blood vessel walls.
L-Arginine administration, either orally or intravenously, has been found useful in preventing and reversing atherosclerosis, in increasing coronary blood flow in heart disease patients, in alleviating intermittent claudication, and in improving functional status of heart failure patients. Arginine infusions have been found to lower blood pressure and to inhibit restenosis (reclosing of arteries) after balloon angioplasty.