If you're over forty and starting to notice signs of aging then, according to the Egyptian biochemist Mohamed Gad, there's a very simple way to restore your youth and vitality. Every evening before going to bed, take 5 g L-arginine and your body will soon start to function better.
L-Arginine is an interesting supplement, Gad writes in a review article that's worth reading. It's the precursor for the 'good' radical NO, and the compound has so many positive functions in the body that researchers have labelled L-arginine a 'semi-essential amino acid'. Although the body synthesises L-arginine by converting other amino acids, the 2.5 – 5 g L-arginine that we consume daily through our diet is only just enough.
Here's a random, by no means complete, list of positive effects of L-arginine: studies have shown that doses of several grams of L-arginine widen the blood vessels, as a result of which the kidneys function better. L-Arginine lowers the concentration of 'bad' LDL cholesterol. L-Arginine boosts sperm cell production and improves sexual functioning in some men who have impotence problems. L-Arginine helps the epithelium of the stomach to protect itself, can help reduced an acid stomach and speeds up recovery from stomach ulcers.
L-Arginine also helps wounds to heal more quickly. This is partly because L-arginine converts into L-ornithine, which in turn converts into L-proline. L-Proline is a precursor of collagen, an important component of connective tissue.
Just as important is – once again – NO. NO activates the immune system, inhibits inflammatory reactions and boosts the blood supply to the tissues that need repairing.
Last but not least, animal studies and one small human study [Am J Med. 2000 Apr 1; 108(5): 439.] have shown that aging brains work better, possibly because NO stimulates the production of the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain.
On paper L-arginine is a perfect anti-aging substance. Because he wanted to see whether the amino acid is as good in reality, Gad gave 21 men and women, aged between 41 and 75, a daily dose of 5 g L-arginine before going to sleep, for a period of four weeks.
The test subjects were not particularly healthy. Of them 18 used "medications to control either hypertension, myocardial ischemia, diabetes, gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and hyperacidity, hypothyroidism, neuritis, or rheumatoid arthritis".
The table below shows how the subjects reacted to the supplement. The list underneath summarises the subjects' observations.
Ok, so there was no control group. But Gad calls it a pilot study, and is enthusiastic about the results. And he's not the only one. At the end of the experiment, all 21 subjects wanted to continue taking the supplement.
"The demonstrated anti-aging benefits of l-arginine show promises greater than any pharmaceutical or nutraceutical agent ever previously discovered", Gad concludes in his article.
Journal of Advanced Research (2010) 1, 169–177.