Ornithine is an amino acid, but does not play a role in creating complete protein. Ornithine does, however, play a major role in the urea cycle along with Citrulline and Arginine. These three amino acids show promising evidence in reducing elevated ammonia levels when consumed and increased ergogenic responses in the body.
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Ornithine, or L-Ornithine, is an amino acid that plays a key role in general health and functioning of the human body. Amino acids are referred to as being the building blocks of protein molecules, and because of that, they are essential for the growth and repair of our muscles, and indeed, our cells in general. Ornithine however, is involved in much more than building and maintaining muscle, as it also plays a vital role in the removal of harmful substances and compounds from the human body. As if that wasn’t all, the amino acid has also been found to help increase energy levels. The amino acid is essential, which means that the body cannot synthesize it naturally, and it functions as a precursor for the pituitary gland, not to mention the fact that it plays a vital role in the krebs cycle.
In the body, our cells actually break down compounds containing Nitrogen, including protein, which then produces harmful by-products such as ammonia. If left unremoved, ammonia can be harmful to the body and toxic. In the liver, ammonia is converted into urea, which is then filtered from the body by the kidneys, which we then excrete in our urine. Ornithine however, plays a vital role in the urea cycle, so basically without it, we wouldn’t be able to remove harmful by-products from our bodies. On top of that, ornithine also helps to provide increases in energy. In the body, ornithine is converted into another amino acid known as Arginine. Arginine functions as a Nitric Oxide precursor, which functions as a potent vasodilator in the body. As the blood vessels become dilated, more oxygen rich blood can pass through them and be transported to the cells in the body. The more oxygen and nutrients the cells have, the more energy they can produce, and the more productive the muscles will be. This means that ornithine can not only help produce more energy, it can also enhance athletic performance and physical strength in the process.
Some of the main benefits of ornithine supplements include:
As mentioned, ornithine plays a vital role in the removal of ammonia from the body, as well as other harmful by-products that can damage our health and be potentially toxic. Without ornithine, our kidneys would not be able to filter ammonia/urea from our systems.
Another benefit of ornithine supplementation is the fact that it helps to increase overall energy levels in the process. As it functions as a vasodilator, as the blood vessels widen, more blood can pass through them and be carried to the cells. The blood is rich in oxygen and nutrients essential for energy, so obviously the more oxygen and nutrients that are transported, the more energy the body will be able to generate.
Another benefit of ornithine is the fact that, as it allows muscle cells to absorb more oxygen and nutrients, the more they can absorb, the more effective the muscles will be. This means each contraction will generate more power, thus increasing lean muscle mass and strength in the process.
Other benefits include:
Commonly, ornithine supplements come in powdered form and can be combined with water, or fruit juice, and consumed as necessary. Experts recommend consuming 1g or ornithine powder with your beverage of choice, 1 – 3 times per day. For optimal results, have one serving in the morning, one serving post-workout, and one serving in the evening.
Although ornithine is actually converted into arginine, the two amino acids are still very different to one another, and function in different ways. Arginine for example, plays a vital role in protein synthesis, whereas ornithine does not. The two actually work in synergy with each other, helping to reduce blood pressure, increase hormone production, detoxify the body, and much more besides.
Ornithine supplements are commonly stacked with other amino acids, and performance enhancing supplements. Commonly, ornithine will be stacked with supplements including: L-Arginine, Creatine Monohydrate, pre-workout supplements, and Whey Protein.
Always consult your doctor before using any new supplements, and discontinue usage if you experience any adverse side effects. Ornithine is not considered suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding women. Although a very safe and healthy supplement, some users have experienced the following side effects when using ornithine supplements: