are the benefits of L-arginine supplements?
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.
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.
Evidence of Benefits of L-Arginine
See the article L-Arginine
for a quick summary of the table below.
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
dosage of 500 mg taken three times daily appears to be no more
effective than a placebo (sugar pill).
A recent research studies
(L-arginine and pycnogenol) showed that it was very
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.
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
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
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
||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,
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
Unfortunately, not all
research studies show positive results.
However, some experts do believe that L-arginine can be recommended as an add-on in
treatment of patients with angina.
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
releasing nitric oxide."
||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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
the benefits of L-arginine is lowering blood pressure is seen, there
are other natural
remedies that are more effective for lowering high
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.
/ 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
glucose or the blood glucose levels.
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
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.
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.
Production of Growth Hormones (GH)
The supplement appears to stimulate the
of growth hormone (GH), prolactin, glucagon and insulin.
However, well-designed research studies do not show L-arginine
to increase the release of GH.
/ Increasing Body Strength or Muscle Mass / Enhancing
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
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.
research studies show conflicting results, the well-designed studies
showed that the benefits of L-arginine is probably overrated in its ability to
Benefits of L Arginine and Traditional uses
a list of all the suggested benefit of this semi-essential amino acid.
Effects, Toxicity, Warnings and Interactions
information on L-Arginine
in this article.
Find out what to watch out for when taking high doses of this amino
Dosage to Use
information on L-Arginine
for treating various health conditions in this detail article...
Articles and Resources for Benefits of L-Arginine
Prelox by Life Extension - Effective Treatment for ED
Natural Remedies for Erectile
Natural Remedies for Fertility