Lee Swanson, President of Swanson Health Products®
Joel Baumgartner, M.D. founder of ReJuv Medical Clinic in Minnesota. rejuvmedical.com
BAUMGARTNER: Agmatine is a metabolite of the amino acid arginine—that is, it is a product of arginine metabolism, or breakdown. It was discovered over 100 years ago by the Nobel-prize-winning scientist Albrecht Kossel. It was first understood that agmatine was synthesized in plants, fish and some bacteria; but it wasn't until 1994 that researchers discovered that the compound is, in fact, created and stored within the human body. This "rediscovery" led to a rapid increase in agmatine research.
Agmatine works in some manners similar to its parent compound arginine; but it appears to have other, possibly more profound, actions not observed with arginine itself. Studies show that agmatine has cardio-protective and supportive benefits through (among other actions) its impact on nitric oxide regulation, neuroprotective benefits through its role as a modulator and supportive agent for neurotransmitters, and cognitive/mood-supporting benefits through its combined influences on nitric oxide synthesis and neurotransmitter modulation. Agmatine is also active in glucose regulation which, in fact, was the first application that researchers investigated after its discovery in 1910.
Due to these varied actions and benefits, some researchers have proposed that agmatine acts as a "magic shotgun" capable of supporting numerous complex systems simultaneously—a stark contrast to the prevailing "magic bullet" approach used to develop very selective biological modifiers.
BAUMGARTNER: As I said, agmatine is a metabolite of the amino acid arginine—in other words, it's what arginine becomes when it is broken down (metabolized) after ingestion. It works in much the same manner as arginine, but its actions are subtly different, more powerful, and more efficient. Like arginine, agmatine influences the production and activity of nitric oxide (NO), a compound that dilates blood vessels to promote healthy circulation and help bring oxygen and nutrients into our muscles and vascular tissues. But agmatine's influence here differs from that of arginine itself. While arginine is known to stimulate NO synthesis, agmatine's action appears to be more regulatory in nature, promoting NO balance and protecting against overproduction. Researchers have stated that agmatine should be considered a modulator of cellular NO concentrations.
BAUMGARTNER: Yes, agmatine's influence on nitric oxide is certainly related to its cardiovascular benefits. Researchers have recorded mild, positive impacts on heart rate and blood pressure levels [already within normal range] in relation to agmatine concentrations, noted as likely being a result of agmatine's influence on nitric oxide production, norepinephrine release and related receptor systems. Preliminary studies in animal models indicate potential cardioprotective benefits associated with these mechanisms as well. That means that not only can agmatine directly and immediately support healthy cardiovascular function; but it may protect related systems to promote future health and stability should challenges arise.
BAUMGARTNER: Absolutely. From my perspective as a specialist in regenerative care, this is perhaps the most interesting application for agmatine. When we look at tissue and fluid concentrations—where arginine is found within the body—we see that some of the highest concentrations are within tissues related to the central nervous system. A number of studies demonstrate active benefits and protective influences within neuronal system models. Agmatine appears to modulate a variety of neurotransmitter receptors and signaling channels. Furthermore, there's evidence that agmatine acts directly as a co-neurotransmitter and, in fact, it does fulfill the clinical criteria for a neurotransmitter.
So what does this all mean? Quite simply, it means that agmatine may have the potential to promote the health and functioning of organs and systems that are dependent on normal neurotransmission. That means the brain, the central nervous system and really, the entire body, as the health and function of our nervous system can impact comfort and performance from head to toe.
Human clinical studies support the role of agmatine in maintaining physical comfort amidst direct challenges within the spine, and evidence suggests benefits for peripheral systems as well. In addition, research with alternative experimental models suggests great promise for agmatine to benefit CNS-related systems within the brain.
BAUMGARTNER: Certainly; this is truly profound. Everyone has heard of the mind-body connection, and agmatine is one of those rare compounds that appear to provide real, comprehensive mind-body support.
As I mentioned, agmatine is found in its highest concentrations within central nervous system tissues, and what this really means, primarily, is the brain. It's also important to note that orally ingested agmatine has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier to contribute to our agmatine stores. So, when we think of our brain—our mind—we think of mood and cognition. Let's start with mood.
Research into the mood-supporting benefits of agmatine is very new and somewhat limited, but anecdotal reports are overwhelmingly positive and quickly multiplying. Much of the research is designed to elucidate the mechanisms underlying the observed benefits. To date, what we do know is that agmatine appears to act independently of the common serotonin-related mechanisms most mood-supporting agents employ. Several studies suggest that agmatine supports healthy stress response within the brain, which may be an important aspect of its mood-supporting benefits.
Turning to cognition, we know from animal research that agmatine is found concentrated within the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex, areas associated with learning and memory. Preliminary studies suggest that supplemental agmatine may promote healthy performance in these areas. While the data here is limited, the evidence is quite encouraging and I expect we'll see a lot more focus on agmatine's potential to support cognition and age-related cognitive maintenance in the future.
BAUMGARTNER: It's my pleasure. I firmly believe agamatine may represent the future of mind-body supplemental support. I encourage everyone to try our Agmatine Sulfate capsules and discover how fast this natural product can work to promote health, comfort and performance.