L-arginine is a chemical building block called "an amino acid." It is obtained from the diet and is necessary for the body to make proteins. L-arginine is found in red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy products. It can also be made in a laboratory and used as medicine. L-arginine is used for heart and blood vessel conditions including congestive heart failure (CHF), chest pain, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart surgery, recovery after heart transplant, heart attack, and coronary artery disease. L-arginine is also used for recurrent pain in the legs due to blocked arteries, decreased mental capacity in the elderly, erectile dysfunction, altitude sickness, nitrate tolerance, diabetes, diabetic nerve pain, kidney disease, tuberculosis, critical illness, obesity, pressure ulcers, respiratory infections, sickle cell disease, stress, and male infertility.
Effectiveness of L-arginine
L-arginine has been studied extensively as a possible treatment for erectile dysfunction and many other conditions. The results suggest that the supplement, though generally safe and well-tolerated by most men, won’t help restore healthy erectile function. The Mayo Clinic gives L-arginine a C grade when it comes to scientific evidence of successful ED treatment. However, L-arginine is often combined with other supplements, which have different results.
How to take it
The standard pre-workout dose for L-arginine is 3-6g. To maintain elevated arginine levels throughout the day, arginine can be taken up to three times a day, with a combined dose total of 15-18g. Taking more than 10g of arginine at once can result in gastrointestinal distress and diarrhea.
L-arginine has few reported reactions. Nausea and diarrhea have been reported infrequently. Bitter taste may occur with higher doses. Due to its ability to dilate blood vessels, low blood pressure may also occur. Intravenous preparations containing L-arginine hydrochloride have a high chloride content that may increase the risk for metabolic acidosis in patients with electrolyte imbalances. Low potassium and high serum urea nitrogen levels may occur in patients with kidney and/or liver impairment.
- Chest pain. Taking L-arginine seems to decrease symptoms and improve exercise tolerance and quality of life in people with angina. However, L-arginine does not seem to help widen the blood vessels that are narrowed in angina.
- Erectile dysfunction. Taking 5 grams of L-arginine by mouth daily seems to improve sexual function in men with ED. However, there is some early evidence that taking L-arginine with maritime pine bark extract and other ingredients, might improve the effectiveness of low-dose L-arginine for ED.
- High blood pressure. There is early evidence that taking L-arginine by mouth can reduce blood pressure in healthy people, people with high blood pressure, and people with slightly high blood pressure with or without diabetes.
- Inflammation and tissue death in the digestive tract in premature infants. Adding L-arginine to formula seems to prevent inflammation of the digestive tract in premature infants. A total of 5 premature infants need to receive arginine to prevent one instance of digestive tract inflammation.
You should talk to your doctor if you have symptoms of ED. In many cases, ED has an underlying medical cause. And for many men, stress and relationship troubles are also factors. Before taking medications or supplements, consider trying home remedies to improve erectile function. Losing weight through regular exercise and a healthy diet may help if you’re overweight or obese. Get a better idea of how your diet can improve your life with this powerful supplement that will generally make you feel better.