Amino acids are formed when proteins have been digested and broken down. In the body, amino acids help the body function correctly and one of the most vital amino acids is arginine. Also referred to as L-arginine, this nonessential amino acid has many health benefits, including the ability to help people lose weight.
The Effects of Belly Fat
Although arginine is known for its muscle building capabilities, it can also help to fight obesity by helping to shed fat, including visceral adipose tissue, which is belly fat. Obese people who have a high visceral fat content in the abdomen have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure. Visceral fat collects around vital organs like the kidneys, liver and the intestines.
By cutting excess fat around the middle, people can dramatically improve their overall health and relieve the pressure on their internal organs. In order to cut the fat, studies have shown that taking arginine supplements can play a role in helping dieters to burn fat from their belly and waist.
Obesity Suppresses Growth Hormone
Growth hormone is an anabolic hormone that comes from the pituitary gland and its primary purpose is to help children to get taller and fill out as it helps muscles, bones and tissues grow. It also works within the muscles to stimulate fat metabolism. Growth hormone takes fat from stores in the body and metabolizes it to use for energy.
One of the roles played by arginine is to stimulate growth hormone so it is released in the body. By helping to release the hormone, arginine can be used to help the body use fat as energy and help people lose weight. However, studies have shown that people who carry more belly fat have less growth hormone, which means they cannot properly breakdown fat and use it as energy.
Using Arginine Supplements for Weight Loss
While normally healthy people do not need to supplement with arginine since a healthy body will produce enough arginine to allow the body to function as it should. Also, arginine is available in foods make from animals and plants, so most people are constantly supplying their bodies with arginine when they eat.
However, taking arginine supplements can help to increase the secretion of growth hormone, which means burning more fat.
Arginine supplements can also increase the levels of nitric oxide, which helps to
quickly burn fat within the body. Nitric oxide helps to relax blood vessels and helps them to dilate or open up. When the vessels open up, this helps to increase blood flow and the delivery of oxygen, as well as nutrients, throughout the body, including to muscles.
Oxygenating the muscles helps to provide more energy to muscles, which allows people to work out longer and harder. This helps to build lean muscle mass, which in turn helps to burn fat. Lean muscle mass helps to burn fat 24 hours a day, even when sleeping.
A study done by researchers at the Mayo Clinic helped to confirm arginine supplements as being fat burners by helping to burn belly fat. The study was done with 20 participants, who were obese women who did not have diabetes. Obesity is indicated when the waist circumference exceeds 89 centimeters. The women were between the ages of 18 to 40 with BMIs ranging from 30 to 40.
The women were given 3 grams of arginine three times a day for 12 weeks. The study showed that the average waist circumference was measured at 109 cm after 12 weeks, which dropped from a beginning circumference of 116 cm. The study also shows that participants had lower BMIs and lost an average of 6.5 pounds.
How Much Arginine Should be Taken?
Knowing how much of the arginine supplement to use can be confusing because, as shown above, studies tend to use the least possible amount to produce results. In the Mayo Clinic study, the participants used a total of 9 grams of arginine per day. However, some websites that discuss the fat burning effects of arginine supplements suggest taking 6,000 milligrams of arginine daily.
Most findings agree that taking arginine three times a day is the best way to optimize the supplement. However, to burn as much fat as possible, it is suggested that three to five grams be taken in the morning after waking and before working out. A third dose is recommended before bed increasing to seven to 10 grams.
Arginine has been shown to help promote weight loss by burning fat by releasing more growth hormone, aiding the increase of lean muscle mass and by helping to burn belly fat. Before taking arginine supplements, speak to your doctor about taking them and about how much should be taken. They do have some side effects if too much arginine is consumed.