What Is Arginine & What Foods Can I Find It In?

3D-model of Arginine (src)

Arginine is an essential amino acid for children.

Essential means that the body cannot synthesize it, and therefore must be ingested through the diet.

Adults can synthesize arginine, and then it becomes non-essential.

Arginine is therefore classified as a semi-essential or conditionally essential amino acid.

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Benefits Of Arginine

Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that has numerous functions in the body. For instance, it helps dispose of ammonia.

It can be converted into glucose and glycogen if needed. (source )

Arginine is converted in the body into a chemical called nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to open wider for improved blood flow.

You can find other benefits of arginine in Arginine: 6 Research-Backed Benefits .

Importance Of Arginine

Depending on the developmental stage and health status of an individual, is arginine classified as a conditionally essential amino acid.

Infants are unable to synthesize arginine. Making it nutritionally essential for infants.

Adults, however, can synthesize arginine in the urea cycle. (The urea cycle is a cycle of biochemical reactions that produces urea from ammonia.)

Arginine is also an important intermediate in the urea cycle and detoxification of nitrogenous wastes. (source )

Foods You Can Find Arginine In

Pork skins in a bowl
Pork skin contain arginine

You find arginine mostly in nuts and seeds, legumes, sweets, and seafood.

Examples of food sources include

Foods in our nutrition tool

You can find regularly updated, top ranked lists of foods for over 200+ nutrients in our nutrition tool.

If you are interested in what foods contain the most arginine, we recommend you visit our tool.

Here's our top ranked list of foods that contain Arginine.

Sara Niemelä

co-founder Care Omnia, Head Content Creator

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Nutrition is my passion. I've spent thousands upon thousands of hours reading, analyzing, categorizing and comparing research studies.

I’m a wife and a mother of three. I enjoy the outdoors, cooking, and spending time with my family.