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Arginine deficiency: why do we have high arginine levels?

Recently, the use of lysine as a flavour enhancer has become widespread in food manufacturing because lysine contains umami flavour (a Japanese word meaning “savoury deliciousness”), one of the five basic tastes. Let’s look at what’s wrong with it and what you can do against it.

Table of Contents

Excessive amounts of the “savoury” lysine are unfavourable for optimal blood circulation.

What is lysine and arginine?

Both lysine and arginine are dibasic amino acids, and they use the same membrane-bound transport protein to mediate their transfer into and out of cells or cellular organelles. Therefore, there is antagonism between these two amino acids. Lysine, consumed as a free amino acid, causes arginine deficiency in the body.

The absorption of lysine binds carrier molecules and disrupts arginine metabolism, resulting in local arginine deficiency in the body.

How can arginine be introduced to the human body?

Fulvic acid has two beneficial properties for humans:

  • First, due to its molecule weight, it is easily absorbed in the first part of the small intestine (duodenum) by simple diffusion.
  • Second, it contains a high number of carboxyl radicals relative to the weight of its molecule, which allows the binding of free amino acids in a complex form.
    Fulvic acid is absorbed as a complex with free amino acids present in foodstuffs, especially with lysine. When lysine is absorbed as a complex, no lysine-arginine antagonism occurs.
    Where arginine is absorbed in the form of a fulvic acid–arginine complex, there will be no amino acid antagonism.

The presence of arginine in the body allows the generation of nitric oxide and vasodilation (a widening of blood vessels). The latter physiological effect boosts circulation and helps maintain optimal blood pressure.

A vast number of research papers have been published claiming that homeostasis (a state of steady internal, physical, and chemical conditions) can be ensured in the body only with adequate arginine intake. The absence of arginine (as a NO donor) causes a myriad of imbalances (Marcin Magierowski, Katarzyna Magierowska, Slawomir Kwiecien and Tomasz Brzozowski Department of Physiology, Jagiellonian University Medical College, Cracow, Poland. Molecules 2015, 9099-9123. This article represents the diverse role of NO in the body).

Nitric oxide

Nitric oxide (NO) is a signalling molecule, which plays an important role in the human body and contributes to several physiological and pathophysiological processes. To the best of our knowledge, nitric oxide is produced in the body from L-arginine by 4 types of nitric oxide synthetase (NOS) enzymes.
The nitric oxide produced in different places plays numerous roles in the body:

  • In the controlling of optimal blood pressure through its effect on the vasodilation of blood vessels and capillaries.
  • In wound healing through the formation of fibroblasts, via the growth of new blood vessels.
  • It reduces the amount of superoxide dismutase enzyme which causes cell damage. It reduces the adhesion of the formed elements of the blood.
  • It contributes to the proper functioning of cell-mediated immunity.

The integrity of the oesophagus, stomach and intestinal mucosa also depends on nitric oxide. Nitric oxide deficiency is relevant in the development of Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and irritable bowel syndrome.
Nitric oxide deficiency impairs the Krebs cycle (also known as citric acid cycle), which is a series of biochemical reactions, responsible for most of the energy needs in complex organisms.

Insulin sensitivity and nitric oxide

A research team based in both Italy and England has recently published the results of a study showing that the insulin sensitivity of cells could be increased by increasing the level of nitric oxide (NO), which could be induced by administering L-arginine, the donor of NO (Piatti PM, Monti LD, Valsecchi G, Magni F, Setola E, Marchesi F, Galli-Kienle M, Pozza G, Alberti KGMM). Long-term oral L-arginine administration improves peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients (Diabetes Care, 2001 May; 24 (5): 875-80).

L-arginine supplementation improves insulin sensitivity and beta cell function in the offspring of diabetic rats through AKT and PDX-1 activation (Diego Soares Carvalho, Marilia Melo Diniz, André Abour Haidar, Maria de Fátima Cavanal, Eduardo da Silva Alves, Angelo Rafael Carpinelli, Frida Zaladek Gil, Aparecida Emiko Hirata European Journal of Pharmacology. 15 Nov. 2016; 791:780-787. doi: 10.1016/j.ejphar. 2016.10.001. Epub 4 Oct 2016).

Fulvicherb – Synergy contains arginine (the most important precursor of nitric oxide) in a patented form – called fulvic acid-arginine complex. It can be absorbed by simple diffusion at the beginning of the small intestine without a carrier molecule (membrane transporter protein). Many people have a low amount of these molecules due to their limited availability in the body.


Read the article in German: Fulvinsäure – das wirksamste Hilfsstoff für Arginin

Read the article in Polish: Co to jest arginina i dlaczego potrzebujemy wysokiego poziomu argininy

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