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Is L-Arginine Effective Against COVID-19?

L-arginine is an amino acid. Your body needs it to function optimally. Like other amino acids, L-arginine is heavily involved in the build-up of muscles and the rebuilding of tissues.

This has piqued the interest of researchers, causing them to investigate how effective L-arginine is in the treatment of wounds, tissue wasting in chronic illnesses, and even viral conditions like COVID-19.

What is L-arginine?

L-arginine is an amino acid found in the blood. It releases nitric oxide into the blood. Nitric oxide plays a vital role in widening blood vessels, which may enhance some circulatory conditions.

The human body is capable of producing L-arginine under normal conditions. Therefore, L-arginine is also sourced from certain foods.

Fish, red meats, eggs, and dairy contain very little L-arginine. The amount of L-arginine in these foods helps the body replenish its resources.

In some cases, a person’s body may require more L-arginine than the body produces naturally. This is true in most cases for the elderly or people with some underlying medical conditions.

In cases such as these, the affected persons may receive an L-arginine prescription, usually in the form of creams, injections, or oral medication. In addition, some potential health conditions gain from an increased intake of L-arginine.

L-arginine may be taken as a supplement. However, like every other supplement, it should be used cautiously.

No doubt, L-arginine is safe when taken moderately. However, taking it in excess can trigger some side effects, death included. As such, it is essential to understand how this supplement may interact with your body or with other medications before taking it.

L-arginine and COVID-19

Everyone has an endothelium. It is a thin membrane that lines every organ and cell in your body. It plays a significant role in regulating immune response, including inflammation. Clinicians and medical researchers believe that SARS-COV-2 targets the endothelium. This may be a pointer as to how it affects multiple organs.

The amino acid, known as arginine, plays a couple of vital functions in the body, such as in the production of proteins, nitric oxide, and hormones. Therefore, it is naturally present in many foods. However, it can also be synthesized by your body.

The endothelial cells control the regulation of contraction and relaxation of blood vessels through nitric oxide. Studies have shown that arginine increases the proliferation of T-cells in cells obtained from COVID-19 patients. This indicates that arginine supplementation may be beneficial as adjuvant therapy.

What does the study say?

An ongoing randomized controlled trial assessed 101 adult patients who received 1.66g of oral arginine or a placebo two times daily. The administration started 7.8 days after the onset of symptoms. All participants received oxygen at randomization and continued with the standard treatment.

This interim analysis found that combining L-arginine with standard therapy in patients suffering severe COVID-19 caused a significant decrease in the length of hospitalization. L-arginine supplementation for COVID-19 needs more research to confirm this, but for now, this is a remarkable finding that can potentially help many.

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