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Benefits of L-Arginine

What are the benefits of L-arginine supplements?

L-arginine is not considered an essential amino acid as the body can make enough of it. However, in certain health conditions (such as malnutrition, burn patients and during severe infections), the body may not make enough of it.

Significant research studies are continuing to been done on the health benefits of taking this amino acid. Below is a discussion of research studies that support the use of L-arginine for various health problems.

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Evidence of Benefits of L-Arginine

See the article L-Arginine for a quick summary of the table below.
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects
Erectile Dysfunction (ED) / Impotence

This amino acid supplement has the greatest interest in its potential ability to treat ED. Research studies support its use to treat ED.

For L-arginine to be effective, a high dosage of 5 grams daily is required. Lower dosage of 500 mg taken three times daily appears to be no more effective than a placebo (sugar pill).

A recent research studies with Prelox (L-arginine and pycnogenol) showed that it was very effective. Subjects doubled their sexual intercourse frequency, increased their sperm count and testosterone levels significantly. Their blood pressure and cholesterol levels were lowered. No subjects reported any significant side effects.

And this was a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled study, the gold standard for setting up quality research study. The researchers concluded that, "Prelox is a promising alternative to treat mild to moderate ED."

A similar research study conducted earlier by R. Stanislavov and V. Nikolova (2003) showed the same promising results with Prelox. After 1 month of treatment, 80% of the men have restored sexual ability. After 3 months, 92.5% of the men experienced a normal erection.

As a note, Pycnogenol is known to increase the production of nitric oxide (NO), needed to maintain an erection.

As well, a well-designed study showed that 6 grams of L-arginine combined with 6 mg of yohimbine (which the supplement yohimbe contains) is effective in improving erectile dysfunction in patients with mild to moderate ED. Note that yohimbine has a prescription status in US and Canada but the natural supplement yohimbe is a natural remedy available from health food stores.

The benefits of L-arginine combined with Levitra (vardenafil) or Viagra (sildenafil) has been suggested by researchers for those who suffer from severe ED.

For a list of supplements for treating ED, see our article entitled Natural Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction.
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Angina (Chest Pain)

The benefits of L-arginine in dilating coronary blood vessels is shown in some clinical studies.

In humans this amino acid supplement decreases the symptoms and increases the quality of life for those patients suffering from angina (A. Blum et al, 1999 / B. Bednarz et al, 2000 / A. Palloshi et al, 2004).

A.J. Maxwell (2002) concluded that, "arginine-rich medical food, when used as an adjunct to traditional therapy, improves vascular function, exercise capacity and aspects of quality of life in patients with stable angina."

Combining Vitamin C with L-arginine made the benefit greater. The researchers suggested combining the two for an enhanced effect.

Unfortunately, not all research studies show positive results. However, some experts do believe that L-arginine can be recommended as an add-on in the treatment of patients with angina.

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

The supplement helped in lowering heart rate, blood pressure and increasing the output of the heart in those patients who have severe congestive heart failure. It is also suggested by experts that the addition of L-arginine can, "protect the myocardium from injury by releasing nitric oxide."
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Heart Disease / Coronary Heart Disease (CAD)

Reduced amount of NO (nitric oxide is made from L-arginine) seems to be the common link to damage in the blood vessels. This would ultimately lead to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Individuals who smoke cigarettes have reduced nitric oxide activity. This would cause the blood vessel to constrict or get narrower. Thus it would cause their blood pressure to get higher.

The most recent published research supports the health benefits of L-arginine in reducing the risk of heart disease by improving insulin response, reducing inflammation and maintaining the quality of the blood vessels.
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects

Male Infertility

Several studies seem to suggest that taking L-arginine can help increase sperm motility and quantity in men with abnormally low sperm count.

See L-Arginine for Fertility for specific information on this particular use.

Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

NO is arguably the most potent metabolic modulator of blood pressure. L-arginine lowers blood pressure somewhat but not significantly. A small well-designed study done in humans showed that L-arginine dilated blood vessels to improve blood flow.

Although the benefits of L-arginine is lowering blood pressure is seen, there are other natural remedies that are more effective for lowering high blood pressure.
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Pre-Eclampsia

The research done by F. Facchinetti concluded that, "The treatment with L-arginine seems promising in prolonging pregnancy and reducing blood pressure, particularly in patients with gestational diabetes.
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Diabetes / Diabetic Foot Ulcer Prevention

Researchers demonstrated that topical L-arginine cream helps to improve blood circulation in the feet of diabetic patients. Diabetic patients have lower than normal L-arginine which might explain why diabetics have much higher risk of peripheral vascular disease (symptoms include cold hands and feet, poor sensation, poor healing of wounds, and amputation risks).

However, L-arginine does not seem to affect the body's ability to manage glucose or the blood glucose levels.
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Cancer

There is evidence that arginine might be helpful in various forms of cancer such as breast cancer and gastric cancer. One study showed that L-arginine inhibited gastric cancer cell growth. Researchers also demonstrated that lowered levels of L-arginine can cause kidney cancer cells to grow.

It would also appear that whether L-arginine speeds up or reduces breast cancer cell growth depends on the concentration used. It was shown that low concentration of NO increases cancer cell growth and higher concentration slows it down.

However, current research also showed that nitrogen (which L-arginine provides) promotes lung cancer cells growth.

The benefits of L-arginine for treating or preventing cancer will need to be studied further. There are other natural remedies for cancer that are more effective.
Leaf Natural Remedies Herbal Review Benefits Side Effects Stimulate Production of Growth Hormones (GH)

The supplement appears to stimulate the release of growth hormone (GH), prolactin, glucagon and insulin.

However, well-designed research studies do not show L-arginine to increase the release of GH.

Bodybuilding / Increasing Body Strength or Muscle Mass / Enhancing Athletic Performance

Specific amino acids, such as L-arginine, lysine and ornithine, can stimulate growth hormone (GH) release. Many individuals consume amino acids before strength training workouts believing that this practice accentuates the exercise-induced GH release, thereby promoting greater gains in muscle mass and strength.
During exercise, intensity is a major determinant of GH release. No studies found that pre-exercise oral amino acid supplementation increases GH release. Further, no properly designed scientific studies found that oral supplementation with amino acids before strength training increases muscle mass and strength to a greater extent than strength training alone.

In a research study done on 22 adults males, 1 gram each of L-arginine and L-ornithine increased total strength and lean body mass after taking 25 doses. The experts concluded that this combination of supplements showed the benefits in a relatively short period of time.

However, another well-designed randomized double-blind placebo-controlled research study showed that taking L-arginine for four weeks had no impact on growth hormone release or athletic endurance.

Although many research studies show conflicting results, the well-designed studies showed that the benefits of L-arginine is probably overrated in its ability to enhance athletic performance.

Suggested Benefits of L Arginine and Traditional uses

See the article L-Arginine for a list of all the suggested benefit of this semi-essential amino acid.

Facts on L-Arginine

Read this review on L-Arginine befor taking it...

Side Effects, Toxicity, Warnings and Interactions

Get detailed information on L-Arginine Side Effects in this article. Find out what to watch out for when taking high doses of this amino acid...

Recommended Dosage to Use

Get detailed information on L-Arginine Dosage for treating various health conditions in this detail article... 

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Related Articles and Resources for Benefits of L-Arginine

Prelox by Life Extension - Effective Treatment for ED

Natural Remedies for Erectile Dysfunction

Natural Remedies for Fertility


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