Ornithine may also help combat the muscle loss that is a normal part of the aging process. As the body ages, it is less efficient at synthesizing proteins and can’t regenerate muscle tissue as quickly—strength and muscularity begin to decline. By helping to elevate growth hormone levels, ornithine may help speed the production of muscle tissue and offset the effects of aging. Although both arginine and ornithine help protect and build muscle mass, ornithine is generally thought to be twice as effective at stimulating growth hormone production as arginine, so a combination supplement is not necessary if you wish to use ornithine for this purpose.
In clinical studies on people hospitalized for surgery, generalized infections, cancer, trauma, or burns, supplementation with ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate (OKG) has been reported to produce several beneficial effects including increased ability to heal, improvement in appetite, weight gain, and quality of life compared with those who did not supplement with OKG.
Preliminary trials using ornithine aspartate, another derivative of ornithine, has shown to help people with brain abnormalities (hepatic encephalopathy) due to liver cirrhosis. Those taking the ornithine had significant improvements in liver function and blood tests compared with those who did not take ornithine.
Other studies also indicate that ornithine can help those who have suffered from severe burns. In a clinical trial, burn patients who took 10-30 grams of ornithine alpha-ketoglutarate per day experienced an improved healing and shorter hospital stays .
Arginine is needed for the production of ornithine and should be supplied in adequate quantities to the body. Carnitine also enhances the effect of this nutrient
Sources of ornithine
The body can manufacture ornithine but is abundant in protein foods such as meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.
Benefits of ornithine
Ornithine is important since it induce the release of growth hormone in the body, which in turn helps with fat metabolism. It is further required for a properly functioning immune system and liver and assists in ammonia detoxification and liver rejuvenation.
It is also of 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.
Ornithine helps remove toxic ammonia from the liver, and may reduce the effects of cirrhosis of the liver and disorders associated with liver malfunction.
Ornithine may also help combat the muscle loss that is a normal part of the aging process. As the body ages, it is less efficient at synthesizing proteins and can’t regenerate muscle tissue as quickly—strength and muscularity begin to decline. By helping to elevate growth hormone levels, ornithine may help speed the production of muscle tissue and offset the effects of aging
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.
Deficiency symptoms of ornithine
Since the body can produce ornithine, a deficiency of this non-essential amino acid is rare. Few people are really deficient in ornithine, unless they are extremely malnourished or have a disorder that disrupts the citric acid cycle
Symptoms of high intake
There are no reported side effects from the use of ornithine, but children, pregnant or nursing mothers, or anybody suffering from schizophrenia should NOT take L-ornithine.
No side effects have been reported with the use of ornithine, although gastrointestinal distress may develop with intakes over 10 grams per day.
When more is needed
People recovering after surgery and athletes may benefit from this nutrient.
In human research involving ornithine, several grams are typically used per day, sometimes combined with arginine.
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.