Amino acids are found in the body and used as building blocks for protein and muscle fibers. When your body breaks down protein, it uses the various amino acids to facilitate a variety of processes that are vital and essential to human existence. Some of the more famous amino acids are arginine, L-carnitine, creatine, and glutamine, but some people, such as bodybuilders, have probably found a use for many more.

One of these amino acids, called ornithine, is an often unheard of, but is just as essential as the rest. Studies have shown that ornithine, which is produced as a result of your body creating urine from arginine, is useful for enhancing muscle growth and increasing testosterone and insulin levels. As a result, ornithine is popular with bodybuilders and athletes. When combined with strength training, studies have shown that supplementing with the amino pair will significantly increase lean muscle mass.

There are also some studies that negate these results, but until further research is conducted, it will be hard to say which side is accurate. Some side effects are gastrointestinal discomfort, but that only occurs when taking more than 10g per day. On the upside, ornithine has been shown to help people recover from acute illnesses, especially those where the patient has difficulty eating and/or gaining weight. Supplementing with ornithine has increased both appetite and the ability to put on the pounds for many ill elderly patients. It has also been shown to improve the quickness in which burn wounds heal on burn victims.

Ornithine is most often found in meat and dairy products, such as red meat, fish, milk, and eggs. If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, you might be at risk of ornithine deficiency. In fact, those diets that lack in meat or dairy products, without supplementation, can easily lead to a deficiency in several amino acids. Pregnant women are also at risk for being deficient, largely in part because of the general need for more food during the growth of the fetus. Lastly, people that suffer from malnutrition will obviously be at risk for nutrient and mineral deficiencies.

Also, since arginine is required to create ornithine in the body, then a deficiency in arginine can lead to an ornithine deficiency. This is one of the reasons why supplementation of these aminos, and others, might be important for you. Lacking in any amino acid or in protein can result in muscle catabolism, lack of growth tissue inside the body, and several side effects, such as fatigue.

You can find ornithine supplements in both health food stores and online, but you’ll probably find a better price online than you would locally. You can do your research to find a reputable brand, but generally you can use the brand you trust for all supplements that you purchase. Generally, you’ll find doses of 500-1000mg in pill form, which is the perfect daily dose for you. If you seek an amino supplement, then you should look for one that contains a moderate dose of every essential amino. In otherwords, you need to make sure that your amino acid supplement is a complete one.

You can also get a decent dose of aminos in whey protein powders, as aminos are the building blocks for protein cells. Taking a daily protein shake will help you build muscle but will also keep you from being deficient. If you are a bodybuilder or athlete, this is especially important for you, as hard work and exercise will starve your body of fuel. When you lack fuel, not only will muscle growth slow down, but you’ll probably burn muscle in order to feed your body. So, do your research, find out if you are deficient in ornithine or any other amino acid, and then find a reputable brand to purchase. You’ll find that your health might improve more than you think.

Last updated on Sep 19th, 2009 and filed under Health Supplements. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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