Amino acids and their importance for cholesterol

Studies show that the amino acid arginine lowers cholesterol levels around 10%

To find out what influence the amino acid arginine has on the cardiovascular system, 45 people between the ages of 67 and 82 were administered arginine daily. After a specified time period the cholesterol levels in the blood were determined. This showed that the cholesterol levels were reduced on average from 231mg/dl to 207mg/dl. The control group, who were not given any arginine, did not show any change in their blood values. The levels of the 'good' vascular protecting cholesterol HDL (high density lipoprotein) remained stable in all participants.1

Almonds contain a lot of arginine

In a study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the author analysed the cholesterol reducing effect of almonds. These contain a lot of unsaturated fatty acids, vitamin E and a lot of arginine. In the study, almonds reduced the 'bad' cholesterol levels LDL (low density lipoproteins) around 7%.The Federal Research Center for Nutrition also reached a similar conclusion: French scientists discovered a lowered blood cholesterol in rabbits and rats that were given deoiled walnut flour and walnut oil respectively.

This is particularly interesting because it shows that cholesterol levels are also reduced by the low fat and fat free part of the walnut.3 Deoiled walnut flour is very rich in protein. The protein contained in the walnut flour has a particularly high concentration of arginine. The amino acid arginine keeps the walls of the blood vessels elastic and prevents the clumping of blood platelets and white blood cells. Thereby preventing the formation of thromboses.4

This and other studies have shown that arginine is generally very beneficial for good health. In addition to this, it has been established that supplementation with arginine has a very positive effect on both the cardiovascular system and the kidneys.5

Taurine is important for the heart muscle

The amino acid taurine is more concentrated in the heart muscle than any other amino acids. The heart rhythm is regulated by potassium and calcium. They cause the tension and relaxation of the heart musculature. Taurine regulates the supply of potassium and calcium to the heart and can thereby eliminate cardiac arrhythmias. Furthermore, taurine lowers the blood pressure which has been proven to lower cholesterol levels, because it stimulates the flow of bile. Apart from that it also inhibits the clumping of the blood platelets.6

Carnitine can lower high blood lipid levels

Carnitine is a vitamin-like substance, which has very important implications for cholesterol levels. It prevents the solidification of cholesterol in old age.

Carnitine affects the blood lipid levels positively: every person who supplemented with carnitine lowered their cholesterol levels. The vascular protective cholesterol was thereby better preserved by the people who took carnitine than by the people who were in the placebo group.7

The human body does produce its own carnitine, but it is primarily obtained through eating meat. Because people with high blood lipid levels should avoid animal products, supplementing with nutritional supplements which contain carnitine can be useful.8


1Hursen, M., Regan, M.C. & Kirk S.J. (1995) Metabolic effects of arginine in a healthy elderly population, Journal of Parenteral & Enteral Nutrition, Volume 19, (pp. 227-230)

2Abbey, M., Noakes, M., Belling, G.B. & Nestel, P.J. (1994) Partial replacement of saturated fatty acids with almonds or walnuts lowers total plasma cholesterol and low-density-lipoprotein cholesterol, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Volume 59, (pp. 995-999)

3Diehl, J.F. (2001) Nüsse in der Ernährung, Berichte der Bundesforschungsanstalt für Ernährung, R-01-01, Karlsruhe

4Palloshi, A., Fragasso, G., Piatti, P., Monti, L.D., Setola, E., Valsecchi, G., Galuccio, E., Chierchia, S.L. & Margonato, A. (2004) Effect of Oral L-arginine on Blood Pressure and Symptoms and Endothelial Function in Patients With Systemic Hypertension, Positive Exercise Tests, and Normal Coronary Arteries, The American Journal of Cardiology, Volume 93, (pp. 933-935)

5Wu, G.A.B., Meininger, C.J., Knabe, D.A., Baze, F.W.A. & Rhoads, J.M. (2000) Arginine nutrition in development, health and disease, Current Opinion in Clinical Nutrition & Metabolic Care, Volume 3, issue 1, (pp. 59-66)

6Chapman, R.A., Suleinan, M.S. & Earm, Y.E. (1993) Taurine and the heart, Cardiovascular Research, Volume 27, issue 3, (pp. 358-363)

7Hopkins, J. (1982) Effect of carnitine on serum HDL-cholesterol: report of two cases, Medical Journal, Volume 150, issue 2, (pp. 51-54)

8Evangeliou, A. & Vlassopoulos, D. (2003) Carnitine Metabolism and Deficit – When Supplementation is Necessary?, Current Pharmaceutical Biotechnology, Volume 4, issue 3, (pp. 211-219)

Dear reader,

We are often asked for amino acid product recommendations. As we generally cannot answer this in a universal way, the information collected from our German colleagues could be used as a guide to those who are looking for quality supplements: The site trialed and evaluated the products and services of the main providers in German-speaking countries. The information is currently only available in German, but you will nevertheless be able to see the names of the best manufacturers.


  • »Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper«

    Arginine and zinc make sperm cells more resilient

    “Men should ensure that they consume a balanced diet and get enough exercise” explained Professor Frank Sommer from the Institute for Men’s Health, at the Hamburg-Eppendorf Clinic in Germany. He specifically recommended arginine when presenting his nutritional advice, as the amino acid can have a positive effect on the dynamics and fitness of sperm cells. The trace element zinc also contributes to the resilience of these cells.