L-Arginine & Malaria

Amino Acid Can Help Treat Malaria

Arginine levels are so closely correlated to Malaria disease severity that researchers can predict which children have the most severe cases based on their arginine levels.

Arginine, an amino acid produced naturally in the body and found in nuts and rice, may be useful in the treatment of malaria, as researchers found that among 75 children in Africa, those with the lowest levels of arginine suffered the deadliest consequences of malaria.

The disease, which is caused by a parasite transmitted through the bite of a female mosquito, kills more than 1 million people each year despite current treatment methods and causes fever, muscle stiffness, sweating and shaking.

Malaria is a major ongoing disaster, and the numbers are staggering:

Half of the world's population--2.5 billion people--lives at risk of getting malaria.
300 million to 500 million people become sick with this disease each year.
Malaria kills up to 3 million people each year and a few hundred each hour.
Each minute, 3 to 5 children die of Malaria!
Every month malaria kills nearly as many people as AIDS has killed in the past 15 years.
Each hour, malaria kills more people than the 1995 EBOLA epidemic in Zaire. However, malaria is not recognized in the developed world as a disaster like AIDS, EBOLA or other major hardships.
Malaria has not been a high profile disease; exotic viruses or disasters that kill rapidly tend to make the Front Page.
People with serious cases of malaria lie in comas; they enter a profound sleep, far from any cameras.

It is thought that arginine works to treat malaria by boosting nitric oxide, a chemical that relaxes blood vessels and promotes blood flow by keeping arteries flexible and can also kill parasites.

The researchers believe higher levels of arginine and nitric oxide could increase blood flow and stop blood cells infected with the parasite from sticking to the lining of blood vessels.

In the study, extremely low levels of arginine and too little nitric oxide were linked to the most severe malaria cases.

Arginine levels were so closely correlated to disease severity that researchers could predict which children had the most severe cases based on their arginine levels.

Drugs such as chloroquine, quinine and artemesin are used to treat malaria, however drug resistance is making the disease increasingly difficult to treat.

Researchers believe that combining arginine with anti-malaria drugs may be a more effective way to treat malaria, because arginine is inexpensive, relatively safe and has already been proven to boost nitric oxide levels.

Arginine is currently used to treat narrowed arteries, extreme cases of high blood pressure and other heart and circulatory diseases.

Researchers noted that nitric oxide could be toxic to the body in high doses or in the wrong organs. However, arginine treatments, if used correctly, could boost nitric oxide levels naturally so that they would reach appropriate levels as well as the right places in the body.

The Lancet February 22, 2003:361(9358);676-678

Copyright 2005 - 2011 Encode® Research Project