Amino acids are building blocks of protein, used by your body to construct many different types of these essential compounds. But some amino acids, including one called L-ornithine -- or, more commonly, ornithine -- may have other important roles. L-ornithine is crucial for removal of bodily wastes, and some research also suggests this amino acid may help boost your energy level and provide your body with other significant benefits. A number of our products at Shop Soma Life contain healthy amounts of L-ornithine
Understanding the Urea Cycle
When your cells break down nitrogen-containing compounds such as proteins, they produce ammonia as a byproduct. This can be toxic if not removed. In the urea cycle, liver cells convert ammonia into urea, a waste product eliminated by your kidneys -- ornithine is central to this process and gives the cycle its alternate name, the ornithine cycle. When a problem develops and ornithine can't participate effectively in the urea cycle, potentially serious conditions can result, including one called ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency. This rare inherited disorder occurs in 1 in 80,000 people. It interferes with the urea cycle, allowing ammonia to accumulate in the blood, and this can cause lack of energy, seizures or other symptoms.
Your kidneys convert ornithine into arginine, another amino acid that benefits your body in several ways. Arginine is a precursor for a compound called nitric oxide, which helps dilate your blood vessels when you require extra blood to your tissues. Arginine also helps your muscle cells produce creatine, a compound they need to contract. Research suggests that consuming extra ornithine can help promote physical strength and endurance. For example, a study published in the November 2008 issue of "Nutrition Research" found that healthy subjects who took extra ornithine experienced less exercise-induced fatigue than a placebo group. The authors concluded that ornithine promotes more efficient energy usage by cells, and they recommend it as a nutritional supplement to prevent fatigue.