Ajinomoto said it usually derives its L-Arginine from corn starch and that corn prices have more than doubled in the last six months due to greater conversion to fuel ethanol. "We have been forced to increase the price of L-Arginine due to these significantly higher costs," said Ajinomoto Aminoscience president, Jack Heaton. The amino acid is a precursor for nitric oxide, which has been shown to lower blood pressure, reduce blood clotting and protect against myocardial infarction and strokes. It has therefore been recommended in supplement form to people with problems like angina, hypertension and heart failure. The manufacturer uses fermentation to manufacture amino acids of non-animal origin. "We also believe that it is imperative for us to continue to use the same quality, non-animal raw materials which result in the highest quality amino acids available," said Heaton.