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Ornithine - Benefits, Deficiency Symptoms And Food Sources

Ornithine is a nonprotein amino acid. It is used in the body in the biosynthesis of L-arginine, L-proline, and polyamines. It is an amino acid formed by the hydrolysis of arginine and important in the formation of urea.

Functions and Benefits of Ornithine

It is use in healing and repairing skin and tissue and is found in both these body parts. There are some unsupported claims that ornithine promotes muscle building, but this has not been proven. It has been suggested by some in the medical research industry that ornithine, along with arginine, may help to enhance muscle-building ability in the body by increasing levels of anabolic hormones such as insulin and growth hormone, but to date these claims have not been supported by human studies. Ornithine is also needed for the formation of citrulline, proline, and glutamic acid three amino acids that help supply energy to every cell in the body. It also helps to fasten the process of healing in cases of burns, trauma, improvement in appetite, weight gain and improvement in quality of life.

Ornithine is also included in many sport and protein drinks marketed for fat burning and muscle building. No side effects have been reported with the use of ornithine, although gastrointestinal distress may develop with intakes over 10 grams per day.

Ornithine has been used in connection with the following condition (refer to the individual health concern for complete information):

  • Secondary Burns.
  • Liver cirrhosis (hepatic encephalopathy).
  • Recovery from illness.
  • Athletic performance (for body composition and strength).

Recommended Dosage for Ornithine

For those who supplement with ornithine, 5-10 grams is a typical daily dosage (sometime combined with arginine). However, most healthy people do not need to take ornithine supplements.

Food Sources of Ornithine

As with amino acids in general, ornithine is predominantly found in meat, fish, dairy, and eggs. Western diets typically provide 5 grams per day. The body also produces ornithine.

Deficiency Symptoms of Ornithine

Since ornithine is produced by the body, a deficiency of this nonessential amino acid is unlikely, though depletion can occur during growth or pregnancy, and after severe trauma or malnutrition.



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