Most of us, especially people who take an active interest in their health and fitness, worry about what we put into our bodies. A lot of people have some very strong ideas about what is and isn't healthy. To most people, amino acid supplements fall into the "healthy" catergory. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein, and we eat amino acids every day in our food. What's more, a lot of research has shown that supplementing the diet with amino acids like creatine, the BCAAs and glutamine are both safe and effective.
In spite of these strong positive indicators, there is no absolute guarantee that even an amino acid supplement will not have long term effects down the line - it is only through many years of use and scientific reporting that these supplements are universally regarded as safe.
Agmatine is a non-proteinogenic amino acid that is naturally present in food like meat and shellfish, and is produced from L-Arginine in the human body. Bodybuilders began to take interest in agmatine for a number of different reasons.
Firstly, it acts as a neuromodulator and it is known to improve the mind-muscle connection. Strengthening the connection between mind and body means improved muscle control, and better results.
Secongly, agmatine is though to stimulate the release of the hormones that tell the body to make more testosterone. In this way, it can increase strength.
On top of this, agmatine can reduce the perception of pain, which can help athletes push through to the next level, and it may help the body use insulin more efficiently.
Two researchers in the US took high dose of agmatine for five years. They each consumed 2.67g of Agmatine per day, split into two doses which were taken morning and night. Over the course of the experiment, they subjected themselves to periodic blood and urinary analyses. After five years, the researchers concluded that this high dose had produced no ill effects, nor had any bearing on overall health.
Small scale research like this not only gives users confidence that they can use a substance long-term, but it is vital to open the discussion on the safety of nutriceuticals like agmatine, forming an excellent basis for larger scale studies down the track. In spite of this reassuring experiment, it is important for every individual to be aware that they may respond to this substance in a different manner. Because health is too important to play around with, people using a nutriceutical supplement in the long term, even a natural and seemingly benign amino acid such as agmatine, is urged to discuss this with their doctor.
Gilad GM, Gilad VH. Long-Term (5 Years), High Daily Dosage of Dietary Agmatine-Evidence of Safety: A Case Report. J Med Food. 2014 Sep 23.