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l-Arginine is an amino acid present in the proteins of all life forms. It is classified as a semiessential or conditionally essential amino acid. This means that under normal circumstances, the body can synthesize sufficient l-arginine to meet physiological demands; there are, however, conditions where the body cannot.
l-Arginine is essential for young children and for those with certain rare genetic disorders in which synthesis of the amino acid is impaired. Some stress conditions that put an increased demand on the body for the synthesis of l-arginine include trauma (including surgical trauma), sepsis, and burns. Under these conditions, l-arginine becomes essential, and it is then very important to ensure adequate dietary intake of the amino acid to meet the increased physiological demands created by these situations.
l-Arginine is found in many foods, including dairy products, meat, poultry, and fish. It plays a role in several important mechanisms in the body, including cell division, wound healing, removal of ammonia from the body, immunity to illness, and the secretion of many important hormones.
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