L-ornithine is a type of basic amino acid that is helpful in the formation of urea. It’s not a protein amino acid, however, so it cannot be obtained from eating meat. Our bodies use L-ornithine in the biosynthesis of L-proline, L-arginine, and polyamines. L-ornithine can also be taken for various other purposes. There is also a derivative of the compound called ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate that has been shown to have anticatabolic and immunomodulatory functions under specific conditions.
Most often, people take L-ornithine as a nutritional supplement. L-ornithine is most often used alongside Arginine to boost the levels of human growth hormone. This helps the body produce more muscle and may also increase the level of insulin the body creates. The compound helps generate more L-arginine, which in turn helps their muscles recover faster after a workout. It can also help with weight loss, another reason many athletes take this supplement.
Studies have shown that L-ornithine, while often used with Arginine, is more than twice as effective. In addition to helping promote muscle growth, L-ornithine also helps wounds to heal and can help promote liver regeneration and ammonia detoxification. The liver and immune system do, in fact, require some L-ornithine to function properly. If you’re recovering from a surgery, you may find that taking L-ornithine is helpful in promoting your recovery. When injured, the body needs a great deal more L-arginine, and taking L-ornithine can help generate the creation of this substance.
Another use of L-ornithine is for hypertension. The body requires L-ornithine and the compounds it helps to biosynthesize for the synthesis of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is what keeps our arteries flexible, the key to defeating hypertension. It also helps with the endothelial relaxation factor, which is the term for the expansion and contraction of the arteries as the heart beats. This expansion and contraction becomes more and more difficult as we age, which is why many of the elderly have hypertension and high blood pressure. However, taking L-ornithine supplements can help lower blood pressure, although it is certainly recommended that you discuss this option with a doctor before taking it. For some, this supplement actually won’t do anything, although there’s no way of telling if it will help with your high blood pressure or not until you try it.
Generally, people take two to three grams of the compound before they start their exercise routine, although some find that taking the compound on an empty stomach before bed is more helpful. Side effects of L-ornithine include insomnia, so if you have trouble sleeping at night, you may want to avoid this supplement. If you take more than ten grams of L-ornithine a day, you may experience nausea, diarrhea, and abdominal cramps.
There are several groups of people who should not take L-ornithine supplements. Women who are nursing or pregnant should not take L-ornithine at all. Diabetics and those who are borderline should be very careful using the supplement. It may help their condition, but in some cases, L-ornithine supplements have actually had a detrimental affect. Teens should not use the product, either, since they are still growing and have varying levels of human growth hormone in their bodies. Anyone with herpes should also be very careful when using L-ornithine since the compound has been known to reactive the virus.
There are many benefits to taking L-ornithine supplements, especially if you are an athlete and are looking for a product to help with weight loss and to build up muscle. However, because of the risks to numerous different groups, it is very important to discuss using L-ornithine supplements with a health care provider before you begin your regimen.
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