Arginine, also known as L-arginine, is one of the many amino acids that help the body produce proteins. It can be consumed as part of your diet through plant and animal foods, such as dairy products, nuts, meat, poultry, and fish. It is also available in the market as a dietary supplement.
Mixed research is available on the possible benefits of arginine supplements. Some studies have reported its health benefits, whereas some have reported that it may have harmful effects on some people.
Although the body makes enough arginine, arginine supplementation may be used for
- Improving weight loss.
- Boosting the immunity system, especially during an infection.
- Enhancing athletic performance and bodybuilding.
- Shortening the recovery time after surgery.
- Faster healing of burn wounds and other injuries.
- Preventing hypertension during pregnancy.
Some experts also claim the benefits of L-arginine in
How does arginine work in erectile dysfunction?
Experts believe that arginine improves the levels of a chemical called nitric oxide produced at the site of the blood vessels that relaxes the muscles in the blood vessels of the penis. This results in widening of the blood vessels (vasodilation) that improves the blood flow in the penis and causes an erection.
What are the possible side effects of arginine?
Using arginine is generally considered safe. The possible side effects include:
- Abdominal pain or discomfort
- Allergic reaction
- Worsening of asthma
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
Arginine supplements are not likely to be safe if you have
- A history of heart attack. Supplementation with arginine might increase the risk of death.
- A history of cold sores or genital herpes. Excess of arginine in the body can trigger the herpes virus reinfection.
Arginine may interact with certain medications such as:
- Blood pressure medication
- Diabetes medication
- Drugs for erectile dysfunction (ED)
- Anticoagulants and anti-platelet drugs
- Herbs and supplements
- Potassium-sparing diuretics (water pills)
Arginine hasn't been tested for safety in
- Breastfeeding women.
- People with medical conditions.
- People on certain medications.
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McRae MP. Therapeutic Benefits of l-Arginine: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses. J Chiropr Med. 2016 Sep;15(3):184-189.