A potent immune system modulator, arginine is useful for treating suboptimal immune responses and can reduce the occurrence of postsurgical infections. Supplemental arginine can decrease the amount of cell-adhesion molecules (useful for preventing viral and bacterial entry) and lowers pro-inflammatory cytokines; arginine's effects on these molecules are thought to alter the balance of cytokines positively. In one study, arginine (30 g per day, for three days) up-regulated natural-killer cell activity, lymphocyte reactivity, and lymphokine activation of natural-killer cells in patients with breast cancer.42 Conversely, arginine may promote tumor growth by providing a source of nitrogen.43
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