Grandma's Arginine
A Nonessential Amino Acid Guide

photo of dark chocolate cubes natural source of arginine a photo of half of fresh coconut natural source of arginine photo of three walnuts a natural  source of valine

Arginine retards the growth of tumors and cancer by enhancing immune function. It increases the size and activity of the thymus gland, which manufactures T lymphocytes (T cells), crucial components of the immune system.

This nonessential amino acid may therefore benefit those suffering from AIDS and malignant diseases that suppress the immune system.

It is also good for liver disorders such as cirrhosis of the liver and fatty liver; it aids in liver detoxification by neutralizing ammonia.

Seminal fluid contains arginine. Studies suggest that sexual maturity may be delayed by arginine deficiency; conversely, arginine is useful in treating sterility in men. It is found in high concentrations in the skin and connective tissues, making it helpful for healing and repair of damaged tissue.

Important for Muscle Metabolism

It helps to maintain a proper nitrogen balance by acting as a vehicle for transportation and storage, and aiding in the excretion, of excess nitrogen.

This amino acid aids in weight loss because it facilitates an increase in muscle mass and reduction of body fat. It is also involved in a variety of enzymes and hormones. It aids in stimulating the pancreas to release insulin, is a component of the pituitary hormone vasopressin, and assists in the release of growth hormones.

Because arginine is a component of collagen and aids in the building new bones and tendon cells, it can be good for arthritis and connective tissue disorders. Scar tissue that forms during wounds healing is made up of collagen, which is rich in this nonessential amino acid. A variety of functions, including insulin production, glucose tolerance, and liver lipid metabolism, are impaired when the body is deficient in arginine.

This nonessential amino acid can be produced in the body; however, in newborn infants, production may not occur quickly enough to keep up with requirement.

Food high in arginine include:

  • carob
  • chocolate
  • coconut
  • dairy products
  • gelatin
  • meat
  • oats
  • peanuts
  • soybeans
  • walnuts
  • wheat flour
  • wheat
  • wheat germ


  • Those with viral infections such as herpes should not take supplemental arginine, and should avoid foods rich in this amino acid, as it appears to promote the growth of certain viruses.
  • L-arginine supplements should be avoided by pregnant and lactating women!
  • Persons with schizophrenia should avoid amounts over 30 milligrams daily.
  • Long term use, especially of high doses, is not recommended. One study found that several weeks of large does may result in thickening and coarsening of the skin.


The statements made here have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration. These statements are not intended to diagnose, treat or cure or prevent any disease. This notice is required by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.


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