L-Arginine: Health Benefits, Ideal Dosage & Side Effects


L-Arginine is one of the most popular amino acid supplements on the market today. It is best known for its role in boosting energy and building muscles, but it also has other benefits such as boosting immune function and aiding in wound healing.

What is L-Arginine? How does it work? Learn everything about L-Arginine in this article.

What are the benefits of L-Arginine? What are the side effects of L-Arginine? Get the answers right here.

L-Arginine is an amino acid that plays a key role in the human body. It is a building block of protein, and aids in the formation of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide increases blood flow to organs and tissues, which can help with healing.

Amino acids are requisite for protein synthesis and many other body functions. One such amino acid is arginine, required to build muscle and synthesize protein. 

L-arginine is a conditionally essential or semi-essential amino acid that our body can produce. This amino acid constitutes approx. 7–5% of the total amino acids in our regular diet and absorbed in the small intestine. During some conditions, the arginine requirement increases like pregnancy, trauma, illness, and intense exercise, which one must fulfil via external sources.

Meat, fish, nuts, eggs, poultry and dairy products are L-arginine-rich foods. In addition, oral supplementation of L-arginine is an excellent alternative and quite common among athletes and bodybuilders to serve the increased needs. 

The body uses L-arginine in protein synthesis, urea cycle, tissue repair and immune cell function. Arginine is necessary for developing T-cells, which are white blood cells hence play pivotal roles in the immune system. It’s required to produce nitric oxide, which is involved in blood flow regulation, mitochondrial function, and cellular signalling. Additionally, it acts as a precursor to amino acids like glutamate, proline, and creatine. 

Since L-arginine has so many critical roles in our body, a deficiency can disturb cellular and organ function and lead to severe adverse health outcomes.

Health benefits of L-arginine 

Studies have demonstrated that L-arginine has numerous potential benefits when taken as a supplement. However, the results may vary depending upon the application and health of an individual.

  1. Enhance athletic performance: L-arginine has the potential to improve blood flow and increase the supply of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. Hence, it is significant to provide stamina and endurance during training or workouts. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition observed improvement in overall athletic performance when 56 male soccer players took 2 g of L-arginine for 45 days.
  2. Maintain blood pressure levels: Studies show that L-arginine supplements may help prevent elevated blood pressure levels. Because of its role in generating nitric oxide, L-arginine help relaxes blood vessels by acting as a vasodilator and significantly reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 
  3. Healthy heart: Clinical trials exhibit that L-arginine could improve the symptoms of chest pain and coronary heart disease and reduce heart attack risk by adjusting the blood flow in the arteries and preventing blood from clotting. 
  4. Reduce diabetes risk: As already discussed, arginine is needed for nitric oxide production. This nitric oxide is significant in determining how our body responds to insulin. Therefore, increasing nitric oxide availability may help enhance the function of cells that secrete insulin, allowing our body to use blood sugar more efficiently. A study conducted in 2014 found the intake of 2 g of L-arginine per day for 45 days may improve the lipid profile and fasting blood sugar levels among male athletes. 
  5. Manage critical illness: Severe illnesses like sepsis, burns, chronic disease, trauma and surgeries deplete L-arginine levels to a large extent. Hence, oral supplementation of L-arginine sachets is commonly used to speed up recovery, wound healing and build immunity.

What is the ideal L-arginine dosage per day?

L-arginine supplements are extensively available in powder, liquid, capsule, and tablet form. However, the dosage depends upon the reason for which it is used. 

  • Athletes and bodybuilders usually prefer between 1-3 grams before a workout to improve their endurance and stamina and promote muscle pumping.
  • Studies support the dosage between 6-30 grams to improve high blood pressure or hypertension symptoms.

One must take L-arginine strictly under expert supervision to treat any medical condition for diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, kidney and cardiovascular disease. 

Similarly, pregnant and lactating women should never take L-arginine without consulting their gynaecologist.

Are there any side effects of taking L-arginine?

The supplemental form of L-arginine is generally well-tolerated and is safe to use. One must read the label carefully and never exceed the recommended dosage.

L-arginine higher doses side effects include nausea, diarrhoea, bloating, indigestion and abdominal pain.  

L-arginine tablets may interfere with certain medications or supplements like blood thinners, anti-diabetic medicines, diuretics, coenzyme Q10, etc. 

Which is the best L-arginine supplement?

The market is flooded with multiple L-arginine dietary supplements in various forms. However, here is the list of some top-notch supplements to ponder.  

  1. Nutrabay Pure 100% L-Arginine.
  2. Nutrabay Pro L-Arginine Capsules.
  3. Fast&Up Activate.
  4. GNC L-Arginine.

Nutrabay Pure 100% L-Arginine

Nutrabay Pure L-Arginine

Every serving of this supplement provides pure L-arginine powder without any additives or fillers. The product contains no banned substance, is vegan-friendly and suitable for anyone aiming to build well-toned lean muscle mass. 

Nutrabay Pro L-Arginine Capsules

Nutrabay Pro L-Arginine Capsules - 1000mg

Not comfortable with taking L-arginine in powder form? Choose Nutrabay L-Arginine capsules that provide 1000 mg L-arginine. Just take one serving before your workout and feel the difference in your energy levels and muscle pump.

Fast&Up L-Arginine

NB FUP 1031 01 02

This is a flavourful formula that provides pure 1500 mg L-arginine in a delicious orange flavour. The effervescent form helps increase exercise endurance and support hydration levels of the body.  

GNC L-Arginine

GNC L-Arginine 1000mg

It contains superior quality 1000 mg L-Arginine tablets to support muscle recovery and relaxation. The formula enhances nitric oxide levels to aid blood flow to the muscles for greater gains, pump, energy and vascularity.

What should L-arginine not be taken with?

Don’t take L-arginine with amiloride (Midamor), spironolactone (Aldactone, Carospir) or triamterene (Dyrenium). These medications can increase potassium levels, increasing the risk of developing a higher than normal level of potassium in your blood (hyperkalemia). Sildenafil (Revatio, Viagra).

When should you not take L-arginine?

Who shouldn’t take L-arginine. Don’t take L-arginine if you’ve had a heart attack. There are concerns that the supplement might increase the risk of death. L-arginine supplements can worsen allergies and asthma.

What are the negative effects of L-arginine?

In clinical trials, arginine has been used safely with minor side effects for up to three months. Possible side effects include abdominal pain and bloating, diarrhea, and gout. It may also cause a worsening of breathing in people with asthma. Arginine may interact with certain medications that lower blood pressure.

What’s the best time to take L-arginine?

The most preferred time to take L-Arginine is before a workout. It should ideally be consumed half an hour before starting your workout. This will increase the Nitric Oxide levels in the body which helps to improve muscle pump, higher workout performance, and improve endurance.

Does arginine affect sleep?

L-arginine affects sleep because it’s a nitric oxide precursor. When nitric oxide is released in the blood, it relaxes blood vessels. This helps to relax the endothelium cells and neural firing. Induced sleep is a positive side effect.

Should L-arginine be taken daily?

How much arginine should you take? There is no standard dose of arginine. Studies have used different amounts for different conditions. One common dosage is 2 to 3 grams three times a day, although lower and higher doses have also been studied

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