Ornithine is made from the amino acid arginine and in turn is a precursor to form glutamic acid, citruline, and proline. Ornithine’s chief therapeutic value lies in its involvement in the urea cycle and its ability to enhance liver function, protect the liver and detoxify harmful substances. It has been used in the treatment of hepatic coma states. It also helps release a growth hormone that metabolizes excess body fat when combined with arginine. This growth hormone is also an immune stimulant.
In animal studies arginine and ornithine have improved immune responses to bacteria, viruses and tumor cells. One study on mice showed both of these amino acids were able to block formation of tumors in mice inoculated with a cancer causing virus. A one percent arginine or ornithine supplement to their food increased the animals thymus weights and lymphocytes in both the inoculated mice and the non inoculated control group, and markedly extended the life span in the animals receiving the virus.
Ornithine has been shown to aid in wound healing and support liver regeneration. It is found in milk products and meat, especially chicken. It may cause insomnia, and is contraindicated for schizophrenics. Growth hormone releasers should not be used by anyone who has not grown to their full height unless advised by their physicians. Excess growth hormone will cause the skin to become coarser and thicker, this is reversed when excess GH is withdrawn. Very excessive growth hormone over an extended period of time can cause irreversible enlargement of the joints and lowering of voice pitch due to larynx growth, and may cause a pituitary form of diabetes.