Even for the most avid reader of the AminoGenesis blog, amino acids can be a tricky topic to understand. Not only are there several forms of amino acids (such as L-amino acids and non L-amino acids), but there is not nearly as much publically-available research about amino acids as there are for skincare powerhouses like Vitamins C and E, retinoids, and AHA’s. If you are considering using one of the AminoGenesis products or simply enjoy learning about dermatological science, you are bound to come across L-arginine – but just what is L-arginine, and how might it be of benefit to your skin?
What is L-arginine?
L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that is believed to play a role in wound healing and growth hormone release, among many other benefits. We typically receive our necessary dosages of L-arginine from red meats, poultry and dairy products. When taken orally, L-arginine is believed to treat heart and blood vessel conditions such as congestive heart failure, high blood pressure, and recurrent leg pain due to clogged arteries. L-arginine has also been employed in combination with other therapies to treat conditions such as weight loss in individuals who have AIDS and those suffering from migraine headaches. Owing to its ability to produce blood vessel-dilating nitric oxide, L-arginine is a popular supplement amongst athletes and those enjoy frequent exercise. Regretfully, more clinical research is required in order to confirm many of L-arginine’s uses.
How Might L-arginine Benefit Me?
Although clinical evidence about L-arginine’s topical applications is sparse, existing evidence is promising. For example, one research study found that topically-applied poly-l-arginine decreased tissue loss in mice who suffered from frostbite injuries, an application that may be of use to those who spend a great deal of time outdoors in the winter such as construction workers or hunters. Numerous other studies have suggested that L-arginine plays a significant role in wound healing when orally administered, although more research is needed to support these claims.
L-arginine doesn’t simply limit itself to wound healing; there is compelling evidence to suggest that it may encourage growth hormone release when ingested and paired with exercise. Human growth hormone plays many roles in human health, including muscle turnover, increased fat metabolism, and turnover of collagen and bone, among others. By increasing fibroblast activity, human growth hormone is believed to improve skin thickness, which may in turn make one’s skin appear more youthful. L-arginine supplementation has also been linked to improved antioxidant defense during physical exercise in rat models, although it would not be unreasonable to believe that these effects could translate to human models as well.
What Products Should I Use that Contain L-arginine?
If you are looking to add an L-arginine-containing product to your skincare routine, please make sure to consult with your dermatologist to confirm to determine if you may have an allergy or otherwise adverse reaction to topically-applied L-arginine. After getting the go-ahead from your dermatologist, we would suggest trying the AminoGenesis line of products, many of which contain L-arginine in addition to an assortment of other amino acids and extracts. Looking for a great anti-aging moisturizing cream? Then the AminoGenesis Therapeutic Facial Repair can certainly help you out. Do you have dark circles beneath your eyes or crow’s’ feet that simply won’t go away? We would suggest trying the AminoGenesis Counter Clockwise: Under Eye Treatment that can help to make your skin appear softer, smoother, and more refreshed. If you have any questions about which product to use (or just want to say “hello!”), feel free to email us and we will respond to your email as quickly as possible.
What Else Should I Know about L-arginine?
Overall, it would appear that L-arginine is safe for most individuals to use both topically and orally. However, before adding a new product to your skincare routine (or changing your nutritional intake), it is best to consult with your physician so as to ensure that there will be no easily-preventable complications. For example, some individuals with heart ailments should not use topically-applied or orally-ingested L-arginine without a physician’s approval, as L-arginine has been linked to death in certain individuals with heart ailments.
Additionally, due to a lack of clinical evidence, L-arginine should be used cautiously in children, pregnant women, and other populations who may have easily-compromised health. While there are many other potential health detriments to using L-arginine (such as low blood pressure, fluctuations in blood sugar levels, and hyperkalemia), it would appear that most of these are limited to dietary L-arginine, not L-arginine that is topically-administered. Nevertheless, please make sure to consult with your dermatologist before using any L-arginine-containing therapies and treatment.
Although more clinical research is needed to confirm L-arginine’s benefits as both as a topical and supplementary treatment, existing evidence is very promising. Recent research suggests that L-arginine may play a significant role in wound healing, in addition to promoting human growth hormone activity and improving antioxidant defense during exercise, among other benefits. However, before you add L-arginine to your skincare routine or diet, you should first consult with a physician as L-arginine has been linked to adverse effects in certain populations, such as those with heart ailments.
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