Cardio Hero: l-Arginine
Hempseed oil contains all of the essential amino acids and also contains surprisingly high levels of the amino acid arginine, a metabolic precursor for the production of nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide is a molecule now recognized as a pivotal signaling messenger in the cardiovascular system with the arterial wall, regulation of vascular tone, proliferation of vascular smooth muscle cells, and homeostasis of blood pressure.
l-Arginine is one of the most metabolically versatile amino acids. In addition to its role in the synthesis of nitric oxide, l-arginine serves as a precursor for the synthesis of polyamines, proline, glutamate, creatine, agmatine and urea. Several human and experimental animal studies have indicated that exogenous l-arginine intake has multiple beneficial pharmacological effects when taken in doses larger than normal dietary consumption.
Such effects include reduction in the risk of vascular and heart diseases, reduction in erectile dysfunction, improvement in immune response and inhibition of gastric hyperacidity.
As part of this, l-arginine is an essential component of the urea cycle, the only pathway in mammals that allows the elimination of toxic ammonia from the body. l-Arginine is also required for the synthesis of creatine, an essential energy source for muscle contraction. Agmatine, which has a clonidine-like action on blood pressure, is also formed from l-arginine, though its physiological function is not yet fully understood. However, current interest in l-arginine is focused mainly on its close relationship with the important signal molecule nitric oxide (NO).
Many body functions described in this text are debilitated by aging and studies have shown that l-arginine, through its versatile metabolic and physiological pathways, can improve many of these functions. It is the physiological precursor of diverse biological compounds such as nitric oxide, polyamines, proline, glutamate, creatine, agmatine and urea. Arginine has a positive effect on cerebral as well as systemic circulation. It enhances sexual performance in males. The demonstrated anti-aging benefits of l-arginine show promises greater than any pharmaceutical or nutraceutical agent ever previously discovered.
Power of Omega-3s
Moreover, some studies have shown the effect of omega-3 fatty acid rich foods, such as hemp seeds, on improving flow-mediated arterial dilation and improvement of the mechanical function of the heart. And since
Omega-3 fatty acids might directly influence heart rate because they can inhibit myocyte voltage-gated sodium channels and prolong the relative refractory period. Therefore, higher voltages will be required to depolarize the cell membrane and the heart rate will decrease. In summary and in light of the current best evidence, we can conclude that omega-3 supplements might possibly confer cardiovascular benefits, but much more research needs to be done.