L-Arginine is an essential amino acid that is most well known as a natural testosterone booster. Testosterone is not only a male-dominant hormone that enhances male sex drive and encourages other youthful masculine traits in men. It is also a necessity in the female body for producing a healthy sex drive, keeping a desirable muscle to fat ratio, and even contributing to a healthy dose of assertiveness and confidence as well as energy.
Of course, it is still important that women have the proper balance of this predominantly male trait oriented hormone since too much can result in acne and other unpleasant conditions associated with menopause when estrogen levels are outweighed by testosterone.
So it’s no surprise that maintaining a common-sense diet helps to encourage healthy levels of this hormone in both men and women. L-Arginine, like most other nutrients, has been isolated and can be taken as a supplement. However, as with most other nutrients that sustain and enhance human life, it is best to get this amino acid in synergistic foods that contain other beneficial nutrients that may enhance one another’s absorption and/or utilization by the body.
You may have seen this as an ingredient in “male enhancement” herbal formulas and other similar male hormone boosting natural formulas. This is because it has a two-fold purpose of both enhancing blood flow by acting as a natural vasodilator (opens up and relaxes the muscles of the vessels which allow blood to flow) and enhancing the levels of testosterone in the body, which is a natural libido booster.
As with any other nutrient, it is far more effective when received via the food we eat. Natural, unadulterated foods have a way of providing a synergy which enhances the various nutrients contained within the food, which is why no supplement can ever totally compensate for a diet full of naturally synergistic foods.
Seafood – One of the best sources of L-Arginine
Seafood, particularly mollusks (shellfish) are an excellent source of this amino acid. Aside from the rather expensive nature of this type of food, and the fact that our sea has become so polluted that it’s no longer the purest form of protein and omega 3 fatty acids, shellfish is a great source of lowfat protein. The high content of L-arginine helps boost testosterone while also facilitating enhanced blood flow, and the blood thinning action of the omega 3 fatty acids combined with the enhanced blood flow is what give shellfish a reputation as a great aphrodisiac.
Anchovies are another rich source of this nutrient. While they are certainly taste-specific, they are actually nutrient dense fish. If you can stomach the somewhat pungent flavor, anchovies are actually a great seafood alternative to larger fish. Larger fish tend to be more “polluted” with toxins because they live longer, and they also tend to eat other fish which are also polluted with things like mercury and other sea-polluting toxins.
Lean ground beef, particularly grass fed, is also a rich source. Grass fed meat offers more of this nutrient since the grass itself lends to a higher level in meat. Surprisingly, dried beef offers just as much if not more L-Arginine than the fresh version.
Non-meat sources of L-Arginine
While shell fish remains one of the richest sources, there are definitely some great non-meat options for getting this amino acid in your diet. Almonds are a great source, and the natural omega 3 fats in almonds complement the vasodilation by adding an additional component of blood-thinning. Brazil nuts are a good source, but not as much
Two of the most easily accessed and convenient healthy snack foods in the fruit group also give us a good source of this nutrient. Apples and bananas both contain L-Arginine. Dried apples contain even more than the raw fruit itself. Dried apricots are also a good source. Unsulfured dried apples may be a great source if you’re go. Bananas are also a good source that offer more than just this amino acid since they have a ton of filling fiber, the electrolyte potassium and a slew of other nutritional components.
If you’re looking for vegetables as a source, then try adding asparagus and avocados. Cottage cheese supplies some, eggs as well, and some dried beans also have this nutrient in small amount that add up over time.
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