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L-Arginine

By Gagan Bajwa  •   2 minute read

L-Arginine

L-arginine is an amino acid naturally found in red meat, poultry, fish, and dairy. It is necessary for making proteins and is commonly used for circulation.

L-arginine is converted in the body into a chemical called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide causes blood vessels to open wider for improved blood flow. L-arginine also stimulates the release of growth hormoneinsulin, and other substances in the body. It can be made in a lab and used in supplements.

People use L-arginine for chest pain and various blow flow issues, erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure during pregnancy, and a serious disease in premature infants called necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC). It's also used for many other conditions, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these other uses.

 

Effective for:

  • Chest pain (angina). Taking L-arginine by mouth seems to decrease symptoms and improve exercise tolerance and quality of life in people with angina. But it doesn't seem to help widen blood vessels that are narrowed in angina.
  • Erectile dysfunction (ED). Taking 2.5-5 grams of L-arginine by mouth daily seems to improve sexual function in people with ED. Taking L-arginine with medications such as sildenafil and tadalafil might work better than taking either L-arginine or the medication alone.
  • High blood pressure. 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.
  • A serious intestinal disease in premature infants (necrotizing enterocolitis or NEC). Adding L-arginine to formula seems to reduce the risk for this condition in premature infants.
  • Narrowing of blood vessels that causes poor blood flow to the limbs (peripheral arterial disease). Taking L-arginine by mouth or by IV for up to 8 weeks increases blood flow in people with this condition. But using it for up to 6 months does not help to improve walking speed or distance. IV products can only be given by a healthcare provider.

 

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