An alpha-amino acid that is physiologically active in the L-form with molecular weight of 174.20, and functions by improving immune response, promoting wound healing by repairing tissues, releasing of growth hormones, promoting muscle growth, and improving cardiovascular function.
Arginine may be essential or nonessential amino acid. By essential it means that it is not synthesized readily in the body thus it has to be obtained through diet or supplementation. In mammals, arginine is essential for infants whereas it is nonessential in adults. Adult humans are capable of producing arginine through digestion or hydrolysis of proteins.
Arginine is found to speed up healing of tissues, especially bone, help decrease blood pressure, and act as precursor for the synthesis of nitric oxide. It has also been found to treat erectile dysfunction when taken in combination with proanthocyanidins.
Word origin: German Arginin, possibly from Greek arginoeis, bright
IUPAC name: 2-amino-5-(diaminomethylideneamino)pentanoic acid
Molecular formula: C6H14N4O2
See also: amino acid