L-arginine is an amino acid naturally occurring in the body. It is found in certain protein-rich foods like red meat, chicken, and dairy products, as well as in supplement form. It has a variety of benefits, but in this article, we will focus on L-arginine for muscle building.
What is L-Arginine?
L-arginine is still new to the supplement playing field. There is not a lot of information about it but some of the studies up to this point show positive results to taking l-arginine supplements for muscle building and increased athletic performance. There is continued research happening surrounding L-arginine, so it’s important to stay up to date on any new findings.
What does it do?
L-arginine helps our bodies build protein. Some evidence suggests that l-arginine supplements can increase nitric oxide in the body, improving athletic performance. Nitric oxide, a molecule produced in the body, allows for the increased flow of blood and oxygen to the muscles.
In some studies, L-arginine has been shown to reduce high blood pressure, treat heart disease, and control blood sugar in those with diabetes. It has also shown potential in healing wounds, alleviating anxiety, and improving kidney function.
L-arginine has also been shown to stimulate fat metabolism. Thus, when you work out, your body uses fat as a source of energy, and you burn fat while building muscle mass.
L-arginine is a base for the body’s synthesis of most proteins, some of which are big contributors to muscle growth. Alongside that, as muscles grow, L-arginine encourages the release of growth hormones and promotes metabolizing fats. It does this by “signaling” muscle cells and reducing fat stores underneath the skin.
All these things work together to create toned and lean muscles from working out.
As L-Arginine increases nitric oxide in the body, it also helps increase endurance and conditioning. Through nitric oxide, it increases the flow of oxygen and nutrients to your muscles, allowing you to exercise longer and with more energy. Overall, your body as a whole will be able to perform better.
The increased flow can help reduce muscle damage and soreness, as well. Anyone who works out regularly will know how important this is, as any injury or even muscle soreness can knock you off track and keep you from the gym.
L-Arginine also aids in the development of T-cells, which are white blood cells. These are important in the immune system’s responses, keeping you a little safer from a cold or other illness that could knock you out of your routine. Building muscles is hard work, and it’s best to make sure that your immune system is protected to decrease the risk of infection and protect you from any physical stress.
When to Take it
This is a daily supplement. Taking it consistently is important to get the best results. Unlike other supplements, L-Arginine has timeframes for each dose. These will vary a little depending on your own workout schedule, but generally, it is one in the morning, followed by one before your workout, and the third and final dose after your workout.
While there isn’t a standard dose set for L-Arginine, it is a supplement that your body needs to adjust to, and thus, it’s best to work up slowly. It’s recommended that you start off with a low dose of 3 to 5 grams daily before and after your workouts. This dosage can begin to gradually decrease after your first week. Everyone is different, so it’s about finding the dosage that makes you feel best and gets you the most benefits without side effects. It is also suggested that you give your body a break from the supplement after two months, then restart after another two months.
Figuring out ways to remember to take this supplement is important, especially in the first few weeks of using it. Especially if you haven’t taken a supplement or pre-workout before, it is very easy to forget to take each dose during the day.
For the morning dose, it is recommended to take it as a part of your morning routine. Be it after brushing your teeth or combing your hair, or with your morning cup of coffee or with breakfast, any way you can help get into the habit of taking it will help you remember.
In a similar vein, your pre and post-workout dose will be easiest to remember if you tie it together with another part of your current routine. If you like to have a glass of water or a snack before working out, that is a great time to add the second dose of L-Arginine.
L-Arginine should be taken three times a day. Dr. Emil Nutrition’s Goliath - Arginine Plus packs a powerful 2.5 g combo of L-Arginine and L-citrulline malate in pill form, easy to take with a glass of water.
L-citrulline malate works beside L-Arginine to promote the production of nitric oxide.
It is recommended to take one dose when you wake up, one before working out, and one after. This will help your body prepare for the workout and recover after, as well as give you a boost during it. And make sure to take it with at least 8 oz of water.
Adding it to Your Routine
To maximize this supplement’s efficiency, it is recommended to take it every day. Giving your body a constant supply of it will net you the greatest results.
It is a gradual process, and the driving force behind building muscle is still the workout itself. The supplement will help, but getting into or sticking with your workout routine is the best way to get after the results you are looking for.
Alongside that, eating a balanced diet is another important factor in muscle building. Making sure your body has enough nutrients and a lot of energy during and after your workout is another important step in helping your body get where you want it to be.
L-Arginine can help you stay on track with your workout schedule. Consistency is important in taking the supplement just as it is in working out. If you take your supplement at the same time every day, eventually your brain will be trained to recognize that taking your second dose of L-Arginine means it’s time to work out, and your body will be ready to start moving.
Above all else, making sure you have a workout that hits on all the right points is the key to muscle growth. Progressive overload, or the style of training where you gradually increase the weight or reps of your routine, is one great way to build muscle while using L-Arginine. As with all training routines, progressive overload is dependent on working out over a long period of time. Progress doesn’t happen overnight, and it is easy to get discouraged, but after a while you’ll see the results and will be ready to see more.
No matter your routine, increasing its difficulty will get you on the road to the results you are looking for. Note that this is a long process. It is through consistent dedication that you will achieve the results you are looking for.
Is L-Arginine for You?
L-Arginine can provide a well-deserved boost to your workout routine when used correctly. As with any supplement, be sure to discuss its potential addition with your healthcare provider. They can inform you about any interactions this supplement may have with other supplements, herbal remedies, prescription medications, or over-the-counter medications. Before trying L-Arginine, make sure to consult with your doctor to make sure this supplement is right for you.