Agmatine, which also goes by the name (4-aminobutyl)guanidine, is a biogenic amine and a metabolite of the amino acid L-Arginie, which was discovered over 100 years ago in 1910 by Albrecht Kossel. Agmatine results from L-Arginine due to the process of decarboxylation that entails the removal of a carboxylic acid group from the amino acid L-Arginine.
Agmatine is then stored in the neurons of the brain and released during neuronal activation. It is considered to be a neuromodulator as well as a neurotransmitter. Agmatine has been attributed to a number of health benefits, as discussed below.
Nitric Oxide Production
Agmatine is responsible for triggering nitric oxide production, which is a vasodilator. Vasodilatation is important since it allows for blood to flow easily throughout the body, increasing heart health and improved nourishment and strength.
As pointed out by Nobel winning researcher Louis Ignarro, nitric oxide, which is modulated by agmatine, is responsible for preventing strokes and heart attacks since by increasing blood flow, it prevents the formation of clots which can cause cardiac issues.
Baylor University conducted a study in 2001 which involved supplementation of nitric oxide using supplements such as agmatine. The study showed that subjects on the supplements improved their maximum bench press by a greater amount compared to those taking a placebo.
Agmatine also affects nitric oxide production differently. It enhances production of other types of nitric oxide synthase, while it also inhibits others. The resultant effect is promotion of proper functioning of the polyamine biosynthetic pathways required for optimal healthy cell growth.
Agmatine reduces cortisol production, which is a stress hormone that piles weight on the abs and breaks down muscle reducing protein synthesis, and hence prevents muscle growth. This is an important factor to consider in those exercising in building body muscles.
Agmatine has the properties of reducing anxiety and depression, which combats the effects. In one study, subjects on agmatine showed significantly fewer anxiety and depression markers while under stressful physical situations. This makes it possible to have longer workouts that are more manageable and ensures better outcomes.
Since anecdotal evidence shows agmatine is able to reduce anxiety, it translates to decreased cortisol production. Agmatine also increases neural activity in the areas of the brain responsible for handling stress, anxiety, and depression.
Energy And Endurance
Agmatine is partly responsible for the release of the catecholamine hormones epinephrine, dopamine, and norepinephrine. These hormones have a great influence on many physical functions, such as energy production and stress management.
In a study where subjects were given epinephrine infusions, it showed that they exhibited higher energy expenditure, heart rate, and blood pressure than the other subjects forming the control group. Epinephrine is associated with improved energy metabolism, as evident. The improved metabolic rate in the above study was evident both in long and short term use.
Dopamine, on the other hand, increases endurance and subjective strength. This was demonstrated in a study in 1997 which involved cyclists and on fixed bikes. Subjects on dopamine precursors showed increased time to exhaustion.
Improved Insulin Response
Agmatine is also responsible for enhancing insulin production and thus response to insulin in our bodies. Agmatine activates imidazoline receptors, which plays a vital role in reduction of blood glucose levels. This, in turn, increases beta endorphin. Beta endorphin enhances glucose uptake into muscles, even during inactivity.
In addition, beta endorphin has been shown to help the pancreas secrete insulin. A healthy blood glucose level translates to greater energy, healthy body composition, and fewer unhealthy cravings, and therefore ensures healthy blood sugar levels and optimal physical and emotional health.
Agmatine has been associated with a number of side effects, which include:
- Lowering blood pressure. As mentioned above, agmatine is responsible for vasodilatation of blood vessels, which is desirable. However, it is a different case when it involves an individual being treated for hypotension or low blood pressure.
- Agmatine also increases appetite even when full. This is shrewd when trying to gain weight but not desirable during fat loss.
- Some individuals on agmatine have reported minor gastrointestinal discomfort and nausea when using it on a daily basis as a supplement. It is important to note that this was reported by individuals supplementing with 3.5 grams of agmatine daily over a span of 3 weeks.
- All research hints to the fact that agmatine is rather nontoxic. However, there is limited research as to the effects that would occur on administration of agmatine above 2600 milligrams daily. Most research has shown benefits on dosage ranging between 500 – 2600 milligrams per day.
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Agmatine Review Summary
Agmatine has been shown to have a range of health benefits ranging from hypertension, anxiety, and stress, among others. However, it is important to be cautious when supplementing with agmatine since its effects have not been established or clearly understood by research.