According to research, agmatine can also potentially be used to boost brain health and improve mood.
In one scientific review, researchers suggest that the compound can help prevent neurodegenerative diseases and assist in the recovery of brain injury patients.
Agmatine or 4-aminobutyl-guanidine is produced in your body from arginine, an amino acid found in foods like chickpeas, lentils, pork and poultry.
When used as a pre-workout supplement, experts recommend not taking it with protein since dietary protein can slow the absorption of agmatine. This then diminishes its benefits.
Agmatine is often listed on supplement labels as agmatine sulfate. Dosages range between 250 mg to 1,000 mg per scoop, with intake recommendations between one to two grams per day.
Agmatine has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and can scavenge harmful free radicals that cause oxidative damage to your organs and tissues. Some people believe agmatine can help enhance workouts by increasing levels of beneficial nitric oxide. This then dilates blood vessels and promotes healthy circulation.
Data also suggests that agmatine may help activate the release of pain-killing, mood-lifting endorphins, which can boost motivation and mood. This suggests taking agmatine can help make you feel more inclined to exercise.
The compound may also help block aged glycation end products. Your body produces these potentially carcinogenic compounds after you eat charcoal-broiled or well-done meats.
Agmatine may also help down-regulate matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs), which are tissue-degrading enzymes that can facilitate the spread of malignant tumors. (Related: Healthy habits that can boost brain health.)
Studies show that agmatine works against the glutamate receptors that affect pain perception.
Data from preliminary studies have supported agmatine's ability to reduce pain and strengthen the pain-killing effects of prescription opioids. Experts hope that agmatine can be used to help reduce the amount of medications needed and decrease the possibility of addiction to opioids.
In a controlled trial published in the journal Pain Medicine, scientists reported that agmatine sulfate significantly relieved the pain of herniated lumbar disc-associated radiculopathy or painful nerve dysfunction caused by spinal compression without causing serious adverse events.
The research team believes that agmatine can be used as a "safe and effective treatment for alleviating pain and improving quality of life."
In a 2021 review published in the journal Neurochemical Research, scientists wrote that using agmatine helped relieve idiopathic pain or chronic pain with no clear medical cause in participants and improved stress-mediated behavior.
Some natural healers recommend agmatine to promote a calm, stable mood and ease routine anxiety.
Supplementation with agmatine may help activate serotonin, the "feel good" chemical in your body while also decreasing levels of cortisol, the "stress" hormone that builds up when you are under duress.
More research is needed, but some small studies have suggested that agmatine can reduce depressive symptoms.
In a review published in the European Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, scientists suggest that agmatine has antidepressant effects.
Additionally, agmatine may help regulate blood sugar, which could help alleviate the mood swings that are linked to post-meal blood sugar "spikes."
Research also suggests that agmatine may have "positive effects" on Parkinson's and Alzheimer's disease and that it may help protect against ischemic stroke.
Scientists have also found that agmatine can help relieve symptoms of morphine withdrawal, suggesting that the compound can be used to prevent drug addiction.
At the same time, agmatine holds promise because it can help protect brain cells among patients with traumatic brain injuries.
According to a 2018 study published in the journal Human and Experimental Toxicology, agmatine can help protect brain cells from oxidative stress and inflammation caused by laboratory-induced Parkinson's.
Researchers discovered that agmatine significantly improved motor activity and helped improve performance on tests. Results also showed that agmatine helped reduce markers of inflammation like interleukin and tumor necrosis factor.
Experts recommend taking 150 mg to 2,000 mg of agmatine a day. If you are not used to taking the compound, check with your integrative physician before supplementing.
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