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What is Arginine Ethyl Ester?

By Geisha A. Legazpi
Updated Feb 17, 2024
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A substance called L-arginine ethyl ester (LAE) is an arginine amino acid derivative. It is made through a process called esterification, wherein a carboxylic acid and an alcohol combine to produce a compound called ethyl ester. Arginine is an important component of proteins but is called a conditionally essential amino acid because it is not normally required from the diet, although it needs to be supplemented among people who do not produce it in adequate amounts. Regular L-arginine is not efficiently absorbed in the intestine. Through esterification, the dietary supplement arginine ethyl ester is not quickly degraded, thereby making its absorption more efficient.

On its own, the amino acid arginine helps the body eliminate ammonia, a nitrogenous waste product. Arginine appears to stimulate the release of growth hormones and insulin. It is also used to produce the substance nitric oxide (NO), which plays a role in the relaxation of blood vessels, or vasodilation. Nitric oxide is essential in the prevention of conditions such as atherosclerosis, erectile dysfunction and obstruction or claudication of leg arteries.

Arginine ethyl ester is used as a dietary supplement to facilitate the processes made possible by arginine. For instance, because it facilitates growth hormone release, it aids people who want to increase their muscle mass and decrease their body fat when used in conjunction with proper exercises. Therefore, it is a very good bodybuilding supplement.

Additionally, because it is a precursor in the production of NO, it can help decrease blood pressure and improve circulation. Erectile dysfunction is essentially a problem of blood supply. The substance acts like sildenafil citrate, so it can also be used to address erectile dysfunction. Unlike sildenafil citrate, however, arginine ethyl ester has to be taken daily.

Other conditions that can benefit from the regular intake of LAE are chest pain, or angina pectoris, and leg weakness or leg pain due to obstructed arteries. A person who has inflammation of the bladder or inflammation of the digestive tract might also benefit. LAE also appears to facilitate wound healing because it serves as a precursor for L-proline, an essential component of collagen.

Arginine ethyl ester should not be used immediately following a heart attack, because it can cause cardiac shock and death. A person might experience nausea and headache because of the blood pressure-lowering effect of the substance. Taken in excessive doses, it can cause heartburn and ulcers because it stimulates the production of gastrin, a stomach hormone that increases production of hydrochloric acid. People who have diabetes are advised to exercise caution when using this dietary supplement, because it can elevate blood sugar levels. Additionally, people who are taking potassium-sparing diuretics, such as spironolactone and amiloride, or angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, such as enalapril and captopril, are advised to take this supplement only under the supervision of a doctor.

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