Agmatine and its Potential Role in the Treatment of Glaucoma
What is Agmatine?
Agmatine is a naturally occurring byproduct of the bacterial metabolism of L-Arginine. L-Arginine is an amino acid found in dietary proteins. Agmatine can be found in many fermented foods such as wine, beer, and sake. It is even produced by our own gut bacteria.
Although readily absorbed by the gut, if taken with large amounts of protein its absorption will be decreased. This is because L-Arginine competes with Agmatine for gut absorption. Once absorbed into the bloodstream Agmatine is rapidly removed from the bloodstream by the kidneys. However, Agmatine does cross the blood-brain barrier. Once in the brain it appears to stay there for a while.
Evidence that Agmatine can be effective in the treatment of Glaucoma
In animal models Agmatine has been shown to both protect retinal ganglion cells from injury as well as lower the intraocular pressure (IOP). Additionally, there are multiple studies supporting its role as a neuroprotective agent. Unfortunately, there are no published human studies evaluating its potential glaucoma benefit.
Potential Side Effects and Risks of Agmatine:
Agmatine appears to be relatively safe when taken in dosages commonly available in over-the-counter supplements. The only reported side effect is that of mild gastrointestinal discomfort. Agmatine should not, however, be taken along with alcohol as it may worsen alcohol-induced stomach ulceration.
Potential Drug Interactions
Agmatine may lower blood glucose. In those whose blood sugar is not well-controlled this could be a good thing. However, care should be taken when used along with other antidiabetes drugs such as glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, metformin (Glucophage), pioglitazone (Actos), and rosiglitazone (Avandia).
Anti-Hypertensive (Blood Pressure) Medications
At least in rats, Agmatine lowers blood pressure. In humans with high blood pressure this could be a good thing. However, care should be taken when used along with other blood-pressure lowering medications such as captopril (Capoten), enalapril (Vasotec), losartan (Cozaar), valsartan (Diovan), diltiazem (Cardizem), amlodipine (Norvasc), hydrochlorothiazide (HydroDIURIL), furosemide (Lasix), as well as many others.
As no human glaucoma studies have been done looking at the role of Agmatine in the treatment of glaucoma, it is not possible to recommend a proper dosage.
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Agmatine reduced the expressions of nitric oxide synthase and peroxynitrite formation in rat cerebral cortex after transient global cerebral ischemia
Kim JH, et al. Agmatine attenuates brain edema through reducing the expression of aquaporin-1 after cerebral ischemia. J Cereb Blood Flow Metab. (2010)
Lee WT, et al. Neuroprotective effects of agmatine on oxygen-glucose deprived primary-cultured astrocytes and nuclear translocation of nuclear factor-kappa B. Brain Res. (2009)
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