Arginine

Arginine is a non-essential amino acid in adults, but it is also a potent stimulator of prolactin, growth hormone, glucagon, and insulin release, and a precursor of nitric oxide. Indirect measures of immune function have been improved by arginine supplementation in both experimental and clinical studies. However, clear benefit in critically ill patients has still to be shown, and it is of concern that large arginine supplements (6 per cent of total energy intake) decreased survival in guinea pigs with peritonitis.

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