Many human studies show the close relationship between cerebral blood flow and nueronal activity in response to cognitive work.
But a recent medical study found taking L-arginine worsens blood flow and brain functions in persons with cardiovascular risk.
The purpose of the study was to evaluate whether taking L-arginine would improve nitric oxide functioning (endothelial function) and the researchers measured the results both in the vessels and in testing executive brain functions (mental flexibility, sequencing, visual search and information processing pace. Baseline testing was performed at screening and on day 4 of each treatment, by a blinded-to-treatment researcher.
The findings were surprising because animal studies found opposite results. In animals, L-arginine restored memory formation and increased nitric oxide concentration.
This study was the first to show L-arginine supplementation impairs cognitive brain functions in humans. The researchers concluded L-arginine supplementation resulted in a direct neurotoxic effect. (Earlier studies show that changes in nitric oxide bioavailability affects memory and cognition through its production in the hippocampal and other brain tissues.) The researchers described the effect as "adverse" to brain functions and "harmful" so they discontinued the human study because it "would likely make the changes in blood pressure and peripheral artery endothelial function reach statistical significance" and thereby "unsafe" for the volunteers.
The researchers also noted that a previous study found flavanols (Flavay®) improved cerebral blood flow and nueronal activity in response to cognitive work.
SOURCE: Beckman JA, et al. Arginine impairs endothelial and executive function in older subjects with cardiovascular risk. J Am Soc Hypertens. 2018 Oct; 12(10):723–731.
Studies show Flavay® improves endothelial function so nitric oxide levels are restored, muscles surrounding vessels relax and blood flow increases. (239,265,286,287,292,296)
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