Correction of endothelial dysfunction in chronic heart failure: additional effects of exercise training and oral L-arginine supplementation
The aim of this study was to analyze whether in patients with chronic heart failure (heart inability to pump an adequate amount of blood) the natural amino acid L-arginine has comparable or additive effects to physical exercise regarding the widening of blood vessels (vasodilation) mediated by the endothelium (inner lining of blood vessels) (). 40 patients with heart failure were randomized to an L-arginine group, a training group, L-arginine and training or an inactive control group. The results revealed that dietary supplementation of L-arginine as well as regular physical exercise improved endothelium functionality. Further details can be found in the study.
The heart is the “motor” of our body, contracting about 80,000 times a day to pump the blood through our circulatory system. It is the mechanically the most active organ of our body. The actual “work” is performed by billions of muscle cells that contract at the same time to form the heartbeat. And just like in a car, the biological motor “heart” needs energy to function properly. Micronutrients are the most important carriers of biological energy for an optimum contraction of the heart muscle cells. A long-term dietary deficiency of micronutrients leads to an insufficient contraction of the heart muscle cells, to a suboptimal pumping function of the heart and eventually to heart failure (cardiomyopathy). Typical heart failure symptoms include shortness of breath, edema and chronic fatigue, making everyday activities such as house cleaning, walking or going to the supermarket very difficult.
Rainer Hambrecht, Lutz Hilbrich, Sandra Erbs, Stephan Gielen, Eduard Fiehn, Nina Schoene, Gerhard Schuler. Correction of endothelial dysfunction in chronic heart failure: additional effects of exercise training and oral L-arginine supplementation. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2000;35(3):706-713.