by Jane Rubin

For the Support of Heart function and Blood Vessels

This highly significant medical scientific discovery in 1987 - little understood at the time - was awarded the NOBEL PRIZE in Medicine in 1998. It recognized 3 independent researchers (Doctors Furchgott, Murad, and Ignarro) for their identification of nitric oxide as a 'signalling molecule' in the cardiovascular system - one of the most important systems in our bodies, by far.

What happens if your blood flows less-than-optimally?

For optimal health the cardiovascular system - which includes the heart, blood, arteries, veins, and capillaries - needs to work efficiently to keep your cardiovascular system in best possible working order. What keeps blood flowing optimally…what helps keep your blood vessels elastic and relaxed to best support your system? Some of the answers to this directly correlate to the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine… and to an essential amino acid involved in multiple areas of human physiology and metabolism.

How an Air Pollutant Gas Helps Your Blood Vessels Relax

The three recipients of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine discovered the remarkable way your blood vessels do everything possible to stay dilated (fully open) for optimal blood flow.

Prior to this nobody had appreciated just how extensive a role nitrogen played in the process.

Between them (working in their separate labs during the 1970s and 80s) the three Nobel Prize winners discovered how endothelial cells produce nitric oxide to help blood vessels stay relaxed and open for blood flow.

In 1978 Dr Furchgott discovered the role of the Vascular Endothelium Cells (VEC) in relaxing the blood vessels, resulting in better blood flow. He showed also that the observed relaxation could only take place if the Vascular Endothelium Cells were present and intact.

By 1983 Dr Ignarro had found that the substance he termed 'endothelium-derived relaxing factor' (EDRF) was released by theVascular Endothelium Cells.

By 1986 Dr Murad had discovered that EDRF was, in fact, Nitric Oxide. He demonstrated that nitroglycerin and related drugs worked by releasing nitric oxide into the body, which acted as a signalling molecule in the cardiovascular system, making blood vessels dilate.

It is clear why these three eminent scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine. The use of a gas, in this case nitric oxide, for signalling between cells in the body, is an entirely new concept with far-reaching scientific and potential health benefits, now and into the future.

To summarise:

  • Enhances your blood flow when produced by blood vessel cells
  • Helps support healthy blood pressure levels when already within normal range
  • Is used as a signal molecule in your brain and immune system

So What Happens to Your Blood Vessels as You Age?

With normal aging the efficiency with which you produce nitric oxide slows down and your body needs help to support optimal blood flow. But what actually happens to nitric oxide as you get older?

Quite simply, just like other bodily functions, nitric oxide signalling efficiency declines as a normal part of aging.

Remember, the endothelial cells produce nitric oxide to help vessels stay relaxed and open for blood flow. As efficiency in production of nitric oxide slows down, the body needs help to support optimal blood flow.

Knowing how nitric oxide works and its effects on blood vessel efficiency is critically important for health and science.

How Nitric Oxide is Efficiently Produced by Your Blood Vessels

Clinical research gives us a clue as to what's needed to efficiently produce nitric oxide in your vessels.

A semi-essential amino acid called L-Arginine appears to be at the heart of the matter.

L-Arginine is...

  • A precursor to nitric oxide
  • Needed by the lining in your vessels (endothelium) to create nitric oxide
  • The only known nutritional substrate in your vessel lining available to endothelial cells for nitric oxide production

Here are some examples of the research conducted to evaluate L-Arginine's potential...

  • 2005: Rainer H. Boger, MD, and Eval S. Ron, PhD
    Purpose: Evaluated endothelial function and supportive effects of L-Arginine
    Conclusions/Results: Sustained-release L-Arginine promotes improvement and helps support endothelial vascular function.

  • 2000: Alfonso Siani et al
    Purpose: Evaluated blood pressure and metabolic changes during L-Arginine supplementation in humans
    Conclusions/Results: Found indication that a moderate increase in L-Arginine could promote healthy blood pressure levels that are already within the normal range in healthy people.

How to Avoid L-Arginine Deficiencies

As mentioned above, L-Arginine is an amino acid functioning as a building block of proteins. Your body produces L-Arginine and it plays a significant role in multiple areas of your physiology and metabolism because it:

  • Significantly affects your cardiovascular system… in particular, your blood vessel vitality
  • Plays a critical role in maintaining the natural, healthy functions of your vascular endothelium (vessel lining)
  • Promotes blood vessel relaxation and flexibility from the nitric oxide created by your vascular endothelium
Without enough L-Arginine, your endothelial cells may not create enough nitric oxide to promote optimal blood flow and cardiovascular health. Also, in the case of your immune system, not having sufficient L-Arginine could de-sensitise important white cell components called neutrophils… vital in a healthy immune system response.

What could cause L-Arginine deficiencies in your system?
  • You might not consume and digest sufficient protein
  • You could require more L-Arginine in your system due to inherited genetics
  • You may be prone to lower levels of antioxidants and excessive free radicals
Making sure you get enough protein in your system and eating the right natural foods to increase antioxidant nutrients can help. But like almost everything else, as a normal part of aging, your bodily functions just seem to slow down and become less efficient. Since L-Arginine is available as a supplement today, the answer seems quite simple on how to enhance your body supply… and Forever Living Products has the answer in the form of a superior formula called ARGI+.

A helping hand from a Nobel Laureate

Forever Living Products sought the advice of Dr Ferid Murad and he kindly accepted the invitation to visit the nutraceuticals laboratory in Scottsdale. He was pleased to involve himself with the laboratory scientists there and help them fine tune the impressive formulation that was under development.

He believes that our ARGI+ product is of the highest standard and certainly one of the very best L-Arginine products to take yourself and, if you are a Team or Personal Coach, to recommend to others.

ARGI+ formulation:
  • Artificial fillers and additives are avoided
  • Fatty acid excipients (fillers) are never used
  • Great care is taken to minimize potential allergens in process and formulation
  • Blend of unique patented ingredient ensures 'sustained-release' of L-Arginine nutrient - so no need to take frequent doses during the day to maintain optimal levels in your system
9 Reasons This Formula is so good...

Here is a summary of the potential benefits of taking ARGI+

  • Helps blood vessels relax to promote optimal blood flow in your body
  • Enhances exercise tolerance
  • Promotes overall cardiovascular system vitality
  • Helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels already within the normal range
  • Helps support healthy sexual function in men
  • Promotes healthy breathing
  • Provides vital support for the immune system
  • Supports healthy kidney function
  • Boosts skin health
L-Arginine for Amateurs and Professionals in Athletics and Sports

These are some of the reported benefits of regular daily L-Arginine supplementation:
  • increase in peak power
  • improvement in 'VO2max' (a measure of aerobic fitness)
  • improvement in muscle endurance
  • potential increase in growth hormone secretion
  • enhanced exercise tolerance
  • optimal blood flow throughout the body
Of course these enhancements will be of benefit to every human being, but in the case of the athletics or sports professional this comprehensive range of benefits makes L-Arginine supplementation something to seriously consider. Note that any performance enhancements depend upon regular daily supplementation with L-Arginine (ARGI+) and that a single dose is not likely to be beneficial.

by Jane Rubin

[Note: these are general areas of research with no specific scientific references]

Since high quality L-Arginine formulations are relatively new there is very little research so far. Here are some additional notes on the various topics:

L-arginine is used for heart and blood vessel conditions including congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. L-arginine is also used for recurrent pain in the legs due to blocked arteries (intermittent claudication), decreased mental capacity in the elderly (senile dementia), erectile dysfunction (ED), and male infertility. Some people use L-arginine for preventing the common cold, improving kidney function after a kidney transplant, high blood pressure during pregnancy (pre-eclampsia), improving athletic performance, boosting the immune system, and preventing inflammation of the digestive tract in premature infants.

L-Arginine has been shown to be used by the cells in your blood vessels to make nitric oxide, or NO. NO causes the blood vessels to dilate, which may increase blood flow to the muscles when working out. One study performed at McMaster University tested whether arginine taken post-workout had an effect on NO levels. The results showed that it did not have any additional effects or benefits. If L-Arginine is taken pre-workout, then it may be a different story.

L-Argenine appears to help speed wound healing. L-Arginine is a precursor to the substances ornithine, proline and hydroxyproline. These three substances are all involved in the production of the protein collagen -- the main component of your skin. Mice were fed arginine equal to about 1 percent of their body-weight and compared to a control group. These mice healed faster than the control group.

Although more studies need to be performed, L-Arginine appears to have growth promoting abilities. Researchers at Baylor University fed 10 trained males approximately 12 g of L-Arginine per day for eight weeks while the males followed a weight lifting regimen. At the conclusion of the study, the males in the L-Arginine group had greater increases in the bench press strength and greater increases in muscle mass than did individuals in the placebo group.

The combination of L-Arginine, branched-chain amino acids, and glutamine was shown by Japanese researchers to increase aerobic activities. Researchers gave middle- and long-distance runners either 2.2 g, 4.4g, or 6.6 g of the mixture for one month. The mixture increased the participants red blood cell counts and increased their amounts of hemoglobin -- which is a protein that carries oxygen in the blood. Increased red blood cells and hemoglobin can increase athletic performance.

As scientists' knowledge of sports physiology expands and athletic training techniques improve, the differences between world-record performances and mediocre efforts have narrowed. In their endeavor to excel, athletes experiment with any available means to close the "championship gap." Amino acids, the building blocks for proteins and other functional molecules, have garnered a great deal of interest among competitors and researchers alike. L-arginine has gained a reputation for improving endurance, but that benefit may come at a price.

Your body can manufacture about half of the amino acids it needs to perform its metabolic tasks. The remainder, called essential amino acids, must be obtained from your diet. Under certain conditions, some amino acids that are normally "non-essential" - L-arginine is among this group - may be required in larger amounts than your cells can provide. For example, growing children and pregnant women need to get extra arginine from foods to meet increased metabolic demands. Athletes also appear to benefit from arginine supplementation.

Your cells create waste products that must either be removed from your body or neutralized. Protein metabolism generates ammonia, a toxic compound that is converted to a non-toxic, water-soluble molecule called urea, which is transported through your bloodstream and eliminated in your urine. L-arginine is an essential participant in the urea cycle, a metabolic pathway that converts ammonia to urea. According to scientists at Japan's University of Tsukuba, L-arginine helps to lower ammonia levels in exercising muscle, but it is unclear if this improves exercise performance.

A more compelling argument for L-arginine's benefits in exercising athletes revolves around its ability to increase nitric oxide synthesis. Nitric oxide is a reactive gas that exerts a number of effects in your body, including blood vessel dilation. Presumably, nitric oxide enhances blood flow to working muscles, thereby improving oxygen and nutrient delivery and removal of waste products. The authors of a study published in the March 2010 issue of "The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" reported that arginine supplementation improves nitric oxide production and exercise capacity in both healthy subjects and those with chronic disease, such as diabetes and heart failure.


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Parts of this article are based upon an earlier publication by Dr Mercola:

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