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Researchers may have just found a safer way for high blood pressure patients to exercise involving L-Arginine supplementation.

According to Juliano Casonatto, oral supplementation with L-arginine may influence post-aerobic exercise blood pressure responses in hypertensive individuals.

Among the primary factors involved in lowering blood pressure is decreasing peripheral vascular resistance, which is facilitated by nitric oxide, and l-arginine plays an integral role in its synthesis. As a result, oral l-arginine supplementation may potentiate post-exercise hypotension due to its vasodilator properties. 

Hence, the purpose of this study was to determine whether l-arginine oral supplementation could affect the blood pressure responses in hypertensive individuals following aerobic exercise.

Participants & Methods

The sample consisted of four males, and six females [62 years ± 10 years] in a double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover trial. In this study, participants were randomized to either receive l-arginine or a placebo dissolved in water (100 ml). 

The substances were self-administered 120 minutes before experimental or control sessions.

During the treadmill exercise, participants warm up for 5 minutes (50-65% HR reserve); run/walk for 40 minutes at 60-70% HR reserve, and cool down for 5 minutes. Blood pressure was taken every 10 minutes for 60 minutes following the exercise.

Blood Pressure & L- Arginine

For a variety of reasons, many populations, including athletes and those with certain medical conditions like high blood pressure, take L-arginine supplements. Clinically, they are used to treat patients with critical illnesses or wounds. 

L-arginine appears to have a number of potential health benefits when used as a supplement. However, there is mixed evidence, and some supplement companies claim L-arginine is not as effective for certain conditions as they claim.

There is limited evidence to suggest that L-arginine supplements can improve exercise performance by increasing the body’s nitric oxide production, which improves blood flow to muscles and oxygenation. 

According to a 2017 randomized study involving 56 male soccer players, 2 grams of L-arginine per day for 45 days resulted in significant improvements in sports performance when compared to a placebo.

Researchers have shown that taking L-arginine supplements lowers both systolic (the top number) and diastolic (the bottom number) blood pressure readings, resulting in lower blood pressure. 

A person’s blood pressure is regulated by nitric oxide, which is produced from L-arginine. Nitric oxide is necessary for the relaxation of blood vessels and the relaxation of cells.

The authors of a 2016 review of seven studies found that supplementing with L-arginine, either orally or intravenously, significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults with high blood pressure.

Furthermore, research suggests that L-arginine may improve glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity in diabetics, as it is necessary to produce nitric oxide. 

In addition to improving cell function, nitric oxide also affects how your body responds to insulin, a hormone responsible for transporting blood sugar from your blood into your cells, where it is used to fuel your body.

As a result, increasing nitric oxide availability can improve the function of insulin-secreting cells and improve blood sugar metabolism. According to some research, long-term supplementation with L-arginine may reduce the risk of diabetes in those at risk for diabetes.

According to a study, when treated with 6.4 grams of L-arginine per day for 18 months, people with impaired blood sugar regulation had a reduced chance of developing diabetes over a 90-month period, compared with those treated with a placebo.

What Did The Study Reveal?

A significant difference was found between l-arginine supplementation and placebo in terms of post-exercise systolic hypotension (mean post-exercise) (117 mmHg vs. 125 mmHg, p  0.004 and 121 mmHg vs. 125 mmHg, p  0.341, respectively).

Additionally, systolic net effects of 6.9 x 3.6 mmHg [p = 0.046] were found for mean post-exercise values. Thus, this study demonstrated that an oral dose of l-arginine induced post-aerobic exercise hypotension in hypertensive patients.

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