The uses of arginine for bodybuilding relate to increasing blood flow and increasing the secretion of growth hormone. Research has confirmed a link between arginine and nitric oxide production: nitric oxide can cause increased blood flow. Bodybuilders believe that increased blood flow and extra growth hormone secretion leads to an increase in muscle mass when combined with exercises. Scientific research conducted into the subject, however, has found that use of arginine for bodybuilding doesn’t cause increased muscle growth. It does increase the amount of growth hormone found in the blood, however.
People use arginine for bodybuilding as a method of increasing the blood flow to their muscles. This is believed to occur because arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide, which has been shown to widen blood vessels. For this reason, patients previously taking anabolic steroids may be given arginine to help combat the high blood pressure commonly caused by steroids. Bodybuilders believe that the increased blood flow can improve their performance. In addition, the nitric oxide produced is believed to increase metabolism of fat and reduce cholesterol.
Another reason that people use arginine for bodybuilding is that it can lead to increases in the production of growth hormone. Growth hormone is a chemical which encourages the body to grow, which is of primary concern for bodybuilders. Growth hormone prompts the body to divert calories into the production of proteins required by the muscles as opposed to fat. The most receptive people to growth hormone can achieve a 15 percent increase in muscle mass as a result. These results can only be achieved if the increased levels of the hormone are combined with regular muscle-building exercise.
Research into the effects of arginine for bodybuilding has generally had inconclusive results. Most research takes a group of bodybuilders and sets them on an identical training regime and diet, giving one half arginine and the other half a placebo. These studies have found no major improvement in terms of muscle mass for the group taking arginine, indicating that the supplement does less than it purports to. Growth hormone levels within the blood do increase in bodybuilders taking arginine, however.
Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that is not produced naturally by the body. It can be found in foods such as chocolate, raisins, and peanuts. The amino acid is part of many processes in the body, including hormone secretion and immune system defenses. It can also help to regulate salt levels.