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L-Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that is known as the precursor for the endogenous synthesis of nitric oxide (NO) [1; 2], and is known to possess strong immune modulation properties [3].

Mechanisms of action

One mechanism L-Arginine contributes to is the removal of excess ammonia from the body, including the formation of muscle protein, amino acids and creatine [5]. ~40% of dietary L-arginine is broken down by the intestine before entering the circulation [7]

Benefits of L-Arginine

L-arginine and weight loss

Supplementing animals with L-arginine over a 60-day period showed a decrease in in body fat growth in growing pigs [11]. Authors of these results reported the novelty in using L-arginine in treating obesity in humans. Another study documented L-arginine’s effect on a diet-induced obesity rat model [10].

L-arginine and blood pressure

An L-arginine enriched diet, using both natural foods or pharmacologic preparation, was administered to six healthy individuals, and results showed that L-arginine was able to decrease blood pressure in the subjects [12].

L-arginine in its effect on insulin sensitivity in obese individuals showed a lowering of systolic and diastolic blood pressure after administration of 8.3g/day of L-arginine over 21 days [14].

Erectile Dysfunction

A double-blind placebo-controlled study assessing a high-dose (5g/day) L-arginine on men with erectile dysfunction showed significant subjective improvements in sexual function [17]. Another similar study, using a randomised clinical trial setting, was conducted evaluating efficacy and safety of 6g L-arginine glutamate for treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED) [19].

L-arginine and pregnancy

In a study seeking to determine the effects of an L-arginine supplementation, 228 women were administered L-arginine and results were positive in showing that L-arginine reduced incidences of pre-eclampsia in a high-risk population [20].

L-arginine body building and exercise 

In one study, L-arginine along with creatine improved the number of repetitions performed on a bench press exercise [22]. In 8 healthy patients, L-arginine significantly decreased exercise-induced peak plasma ammonia and lactate [23].

L-arginine and sleep

One interesting study looked at overnight plasma NO levels in sleep apnoea patients and how treatment with nasal continuous positive airway pressure (nCPAP) affected the day after L-arginine levels [225]. After treatment, all patients were recorded as having significant increases of L-arginine. Remarkably, results suggested the importance of Nitric oxide (NO) in sleep apnoea [25].


Side effects vary from nausea and diarrhea – from single large doses of L-arginine -, to no side effects at all [26; 2].

High doses of L-arginine – 30g – have reported hypertension with tachycardia, along with an increase in cardiac output [2]. In addition, anaphylaxis might also be a side effect from L-arginine supplementation; in this regard, those taking L-arginine should reconsider if suffering from allergic tendencies [2].


3-6 grams L-arginine is considered a safe dose [26]. Majority of side effects from L-arginine have been reported at doses exceeding 9 grams – when taken as part of daily dose regime of >30d per day L-arginine [26]. Highest L-arginine dose recorded was 42g/day for 6 weeks in patients suffering from cystic fibrosis, with no adverse effects reported [27]. Table 2 describes some L-arginine doses relative to individual studies.

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Sources  [1] Rainer H Boger and Stefanie M Bode-Boger, 2001. THE CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY OF L-ARGININE. Annu. Rev. Pharmacol. Toxicol. 2001. 41:79–99. [2] Thiago S. Alvares, Claudia M. Meirelles, Yagesh N. Bhambhani, Vania M.F. Paschoalin and Paulo S.C. Gomes, 2011. L-Arginine as a Potential Ergogenic Aid in Healthy Subjects. Sports Med 2011; 41 (3): 233-248. [3] Sun-Hee Kim, Jason Roszik, Elizabeth A. Grimm and Suhendan Ekmekcioglu, 2018. impact of l-Arginine Metabolism on immune Response and Anticancer immunotherapy. Front. Oncol. 8:67. doi: 10.3389/fonc.2018.00067. [4] Guoyao Wu, Fuller W. Bazer, Teresa A. Davis, Sung Woo Kim, Peng Li, J. Marc Rhoads, M. Carey Satterfield, Stephen B. Smith, Thomas E. Spencer, Yulong Yin, 2009. Arginine metabolism and nutrition in growth, health and disease. Amino Acids (2009) 37:153–168. [5] CLAYTON L. CAMIC, TERRY J. HOUSH, JORGE M. ZUNIGA, RUSSELL C. HENDRIX, MICHELLE MIELKE, GLEN O. JOHNSON, AND RICHARD J. SCHMIDT, 2010. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 24(5), pp. 1306-1312. [6] Douglas Paddon-Jones, Elisabet Børsheim, and Robert R. Wolfe, 2004. Potential Ergogenic Effects of Arginine and Creatine Supplementation. American Society for Nutritional Sciences, [7] Sidney M Morris Jr, 2006. Arginine: beyond protein. Am J Clin Nutr 2006;83(suppl):508S–12S. [8] Stefanie M. Bode-Boger, Rainer H. Boger, Andrea Galland, Dimitrios Tsikas & Jurgen C. Frolich, 1998. L-arginine-induced vasodilation in healthy humans: pharmacokinetic–pharmacodynamic relationship. Br J Clin Pharmacol 1998; 46: 489–497. [9] Betty C. Tong and Adrian Barbul, 2004. Cellular and Physiological Effects of Arginine. Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry, 2004, 4, 823-832. [10] Wenjuan Jobgen, Cynthia J. Meininger, Scott C. Jobgen, Peng Li, Mi-Jeong Lee, Stephen B. Smith, Thomas E. Spencer, Susan K. Fried, and Guoyao Wu, 2008. Dietary L-Arginine Supplementation Reduces White Fat Gain and Enhances Skeletal Muscle and Brown Fat Masses in Diet-Induced Obese Rats. The Journal of Nutrition, 139: 230–237, 2009. [11] Bie Tan, Yulong Yin, Zhiqiang Liu, Xinguo Li, Haijun Xu,  Xiangfeng Kong, Ruilin Huang, Wenjie Tang, Izuru Shinzato, Stephen B. Smith, Guoyao Wu, 2009. Dietary L-arginine supplementation increases muscle gain and reduces body fat mass in growing-finishing pigs. Amino Acids (2009) 37:169–175. [12] Alfonso Siani, Ermenegilda Pagano, Roberto Iacone, Licia Iacoviello, Francesco Scopacasa, and Pasquale Strazzullo, 2000. Blood Pressure and Metabolic Changes During Dietary l-Arginine Supplementation in Humans. American Journal of Hypertension, 13:5. [13] Juan José Orozco-Gutiérrez, Lilia Castillo-Martínez, Arturo Orea-Tejeda, Oscar Vázquez-Díaz, Adrián Valdespino-Trejo, René Narváez-David, Candace Keirns-Davis, Olín Carrasco-Ortiz, Adolfo Navarro-Navarro, Rocío Sánchez-Santillán, 2010. Effect of L-arginine or L-citrulline oral supplementation on blood pressure and right ventricular function in heart failure patients with preserved ejection fraction. Cardiology Journal 2010, Vol. 17, No. 6, pp. 612–618. [14] Pietro Lucotti, Emanuela Setola, Lucilla D. Monti, Elena Galluccio, Sabrina Costa,
Emilia P. Sandoli, Isabella Fermo, Giovanni Rabaiotti, Roberto Gatti, and PierMarco Piatti, 2006. Beneficial effects of a long-term oral L-arginine treatment added to a hypocaloric diet and exercise training program in obese, insulin-resistant type 2 diabetic patients. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 291: E906 –E912. [15] Lynn M. Westphal, M.D., Mary Lake Polan, M.D., Ph.D., M.P.H., Aileen Sontag Trant, Ph.D., and Stephen B. Mooney, M.D, 2004. A Nutritional Supplement for Improving Fertility in Women. The Journal of Reproductive Medicine, 49:4. [16] Arthur L. Burnett, 2006. The Role of Nitric Oxide in Erectile Dysfunction: Implications for Medical Therapy. THE JOURNAL OF CLINICAL HYPERTENSION, VOL. 8 NO. 12. [17] J. CHEN, Y. WOLLMAN, T. CHERNICHOVSKY, A. IAINA, M. SOFER and H. MATZKIN, 1999. Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor l-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. BJU International (1999), 83, 269–273.[18] Cindy M. Meston, Ph.D, and Manuel Worcel, M.D, 2002. The Effects of Yohimbine Plus L-arginine Glutamate on Sexual Arousal in Postmenopausal Women with Sexual Arousal Disorder. Archives of Sexual Behavior, Vol. 31, No. 4, August 2002, pp. 323–332. [19] Thierry Lebret, Jean-Marie Herve, Philippe Gorny, Manuel Worcel, Henry Botto, 2002. Efficacy and Safety of a Novel Combination of L-Arginine Glutamate and Yohimbine Hydrochloride: A New Oral Therapy for Erectile Dysfunction. European Urology 41 (2002) 608 - 613. [20] Felipe Vadillo-Ortega, professor, Otilia Perichart-Perera, titular researcher, Salvador Espino, associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Marco Antonio Avila-Vergara, associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Isabel Ibarra, associate professor, Roberto Ahued, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Myrna Godines, associate professor of obstetrics and gynaecology, Samuel Parry, associate professor and chief of division of maternal-fetal medicine, George Macones, Mitchell and Elaine Yanow professor and head of obstetrics and gynaceology, Jerome F Strauss, professor of obstetrics and gynaecology and dean of School of Medicine, 2011. Effect of supplementation during pregnancy with L-arginine and antioxidant vitamins in medical food on pre-eclampsia in high risk population: randomised controlled trial. BMJ 2011;342:d2901, doi:10.1136/bmj.d2901. [21] Ronaldo D. Mateo, Guoyao Wu, Fuller W. Bazer, Jun C. Park, Izuru Shinzato, and Sung Woo Kim, 2006. Dietary L-Arginine Supplementation Enhances the Reproductive Performance of Gilts. The Journal of Nutrition. [22] Jonathan. P. Little, Scott C. Forbes, Darren G. Candow, Stephen M. Cornish, and Philip D. Chilibeck, 2008. Creatine, Arginine a-Ketoglutarate, Amino Acids, and Medium-Chain Triglycerides and Endurance and Performance. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 2008, 18, 493-508. [23] Schaefer F. Piquard B. Geny S. Doutreleau E. Lampert B. Mettauer J. Lonsdorfer, 2002. L-Arginine Reduces Exercise-Induced Increase in Plasma Lactate and Ammonia. Int J Sports Med 2002; 23: 403–407. [24] Jing Feng & Dan Zhang & Baoyuan Chen, 2012. Endothelial mechanisms of endothelial dysfunction in patients with obstructive sleep apnea. Sleep Breath (2012) 16:283–294. [25] Lavie LHefetz ALuboshitzky RLavie P, 2003. Plasma levels of nitric oxide and L-arginine in sleep apnea patients: effects of nCPAP treatment. J Mol Neurosci. 2003;21(1):57-63. [26] George K. Grimble, 2007. Adverse Gastrointestinal Effects of Arginine and Related Amino Acids, The Journal of Nutrition. 6th Amino Acid Assessment Workshop. [27] Andrew Shao, John N. Hathcock, 2008. Risk assessment for the amino acids taurine, L-glutamine and L-arginine. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology 50 (2008) 376 
Also known as:Arginine
Type:Amino Acid
Good for: , , , , , , ,
Stacks well with: Coming soon…
Typical dose:3g -6g per day
Half Life :Coming soon...