What is it? Overview Usage Side Effects and Warnings

Arginine Usage

Written by FoundHealth.


Effect of Arginine on Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Classified as a semi-essential amino acid, Arginine when used in combination with Lysine might be useful for helping treat anxiety.

Read more about Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Arginine.

Effect of Arginine on Panic Disorder

Classified as a semi-essential amino acid, Arginine when used in combination with Lysine might be useful for helping to treat the symptom of anxiety often present in panic disorder.

Read more about Panic Disorder and Arginine.

Effect of Arginine on Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)

The body uses arginine for many processes, including making nitric oxide (NO), a substance that relaxes blood vessels and also exerts numerous other effects in the body. Based on this, arginine has...

Read more about Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) and Arginine.

Therapeutic Uses

Small double-blind, placebo-controlled studies suggest that arginine might be helpful for the treatment of several seemingly unrelated conditions that are, in fact, all linked by arginine's effects on nitric oxide: congestive heart failure , intermittent claudication , angina , impotence , and sexual dysfunction in women . 1

Note: The first three conditions in this list are life-threatening. If you have angina, congestive heart failure, or intermittent claudication, do not attempt to treat yourself with arginine except under physician's supervision.

Arginine has been proposed for use after a heart attack to aid recovery. In one study, arginine did not cause harm and showed potential modest benefit. 2 However, in another study, arginine failed to prove helpful for treatment of people who had just suffered a heart attack, and possibly increased post-heart-attack death rate. 3 One preliminary, double-blind study suggests that arginine supplementation might help prevent colds . 4 A small, double-blind, placebo-controlled study suggests that use of arginine (700 mg 4 times daily) may support transdermal nitroglycerin therapy for angina. 5 Ordinarily, the drug nitroglycerin becomes less effective over time as the body develops a tolerance to it. However, arginine supplements appear to help prevent the development of tolerance.

The results of one controlled (but not blinded) study in women suggest that arginine might help standard fertility therapy for women (specifically, in vitro fertilization) work better. 6 However, studies have not found any benefit in male infertility . 7 8 9 10 11 Weak evidence suggests that arginine might improve insulin action in people with type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes . 12 Nutritional mixtures containing arginine have shown promise for enhancing recovery from major surgery , injury, or illness, perhaps by enhancing immunity. 13 Highly preliminary evidence suggests that arginine might be worth investigating as a treatment for pulmonary hypertension in people with sickle cell disease . 14 Conflicting results have been seen in preliminary double-blind studies of arginine for preeclampsia . 15 Preliminary double-blind studies have failed to find arginine helpful for asthma , 16 cystic fibrosis, 17 interstitial cystitis , 18 kidney failure, 19 osteoporosis , 20 or Raynaud’s phenomenon . 21 One study found that an arginine-rich food bar did not help relax arteries or thin the blood in people with high cholesterol . 22 A study of 133 people with intermittent claudication (pain in the legs caused by atherosclerosis ) failed to find arginine helpful; in fact, arginine was less effective than placebo, suggesting that it actually increasessymptoms to some extent. 23 Two earlier studies had reported benefit, but they were small and poorly designed and reported. 24 Arginine has been proposed for preventing altitude sickness , but the one reported study found harmful effects (increase in headache) rather than beneficial ones. 25


  1. Hambrecht R, Hilbrich L, Erbs S, Gielen S, Fiehn E, Schoene N, Schuler G. Correction of endothelial dysfunction in chronic heart failure: additional effects of exercise training and oral L-arginine supplementation. J Am Coll Cardiol. 35(3):706-13.
  2. Bednarz B, Jaxa-Chamiec T, Maciejewski P, Szpajer M, Janik K, Gniot J, Kawka-Urbanek T, Drozdowska D, Gessek J, Laskowski H. Efficacy and safety of oral l-arginine in acute myocardial infarction. Results of the multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled ARAMI pilot trial. Kardiol Pol. 62(5):421-7.
  3. Schulman SP, Becker LC, Kass DA, Champion HC, Terrin ML, Forman S, Ernst KV, Kelemen MD, Townsend SN, Capriotti A, Hare JM, Gerstenblith G. L-arginine therapy in acute myocardial infarction: the Vascular Interaction With Age in Myocardial Infarction (VINTAGE MI) randomized clinical trial. JAMA. 295(1):58-64.
  4. Baligan M, Giardina A, Giovannini G, et al. L-arginine and immunity. Study of pediatric subjects [translated from Italian]. Minerva Pediatr. 1997;49:537-542.
  5. Parker JO, Parker JD, Caldwell RW, Farrell B, Kaesemeyer WH. The effect of supplemental L-arginine on tolerance development during continuous transdermal nitroglycerin therapy. J Am Coll Cardiol. 39(7):1199-203.
  6. Battaglia C, Salvatori M, Maxia N, Petraglia F, Facchinetti F, Volpe A. Adjuvant L-arginine treatment for in-vitro fertilization in poor responder patients. Hum Reprod. 14(7):1690-7.
  7. De Aloysio D, Mantuano R, Mauloni M, Nicoletti G. The clinical use of arginine aspartate in male infertility. Acta Eur Fertil. 13(3):133-67.
  8. Tanimura J. Studies on arginine in human semen. II. The effects of medication with L-arginine-HCL on male infertility. Bull Osaka Med Sch. 13(2):84-9.
  9. Schachter A, Goldman JA, Zukerman Z. Treatment of oligospermia with the amino acid arginine. J Urol. 110(3):311-3.
  10. Schachter A, Friedman S, Goldman JA, Eckerling B. Treatment of oligospermia with the amino acid arginine. Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 11(5):206-9.
  11. Mroueh A. Effect of arginine on oligospermia. Fertil Steril. 1970;21:217-219.
  12. Piatti PM, Monti LD, Valsecchi G, Magni F, Setola E, Marchesi F, Galli-Kienle M, Pozza G, Alberti KG. Long-term oral L-arginine administration improves peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 24(5):875-80.
  13. Moriguti JC, Ferriolli E, Donadi EA, Marchini JS. Effects of arginine supplementation on the humoral and innate immune response of older people. Eur J Clin Nutr. 59(12):1362-6.
  14. Morris CR, Morris Jr. SM, Hagar W, et al. Arginine therapy: a new treatment for pulmonary hypertension in sickle cell disease? Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2003;168:63-69.
  15. Staff AC, Berge L, Haugen G, et al. Dietary supplementation with L-arginine or placebo in women with pre-eclampsia. Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2004;83:103-107.
  16. de Gouw HW, Verbruggen MB, Twiss IM, Sterk PJ. Effect of oral L-arginine on airway hyperresponsiveness to histamine in asthma. Thorax. 54(11):1033-5.
  17. Grasemann H, Grasemann C, Kurtz F, Tietze-Schillings G, Vester U, Ratjen F. Oral L-arginine supplementation in cystic fibrosis patients: a placebo-controlled study. Eur Respir J. 25(1):62-8.
  18. Korting GE, Smith SD, Wheeler MA, Weiss RM, Foster HE Jr. A randomized double-blind trial of oral L-arginine for treatment of interstitial cystitis. J Urol. 161(2):558-65.
  19. De Nicola L, Bellizzi V, Minutolo R, Andreucci M, Capuano A, Garibotto G, Corso G, Andreucci VE, Cianciaruso B. Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of arginine supplementation in chronic renal failure. Kidney Int. 56(2):674-84.
  20. Baecker N, Boese A, Schoenau E, et al. L-Arginine, the Natural Precursor of NO, Is Not Effective for Preventing Bone Loss in Postmenopausal Women. J Bone Miner Res. 2005;20:471-479.
  21. Khan F, Litchfield SJ, McLaren M, Veale DJ, Littleford RC, Belch JJ. Oral L-arginine supplementation and cutaneous vascular responses in patients with primary Raynaud's phenomenon. Arthritis Rheum. 40(2):352-7.
  22. Abdelhamed AI, Reis SE, Sane DC, Brosnihan KB, Preli RB, Herrington DM. No effect of an L-arginine-enriched medical food (HeartBars) on endothelial function and platelet aggregation in subjects with hypercholesterolemia. Am Heart J. 145(3):E15.
  23. Wilson AM, Harada R, Nair N, Balasubramanian N, Cooke JP. L-arginine supplementation in peripheral arterial disease: no benefit and possible harm. Circulation. 116(2):188-95.
  24. Maxwell AJ, Anderson BE, Cooke JP. Nutritional therapy for peripheral arterial disease: a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomized trial of HeartBar. Vasc Med. 5(1):11-9.
  25. Mansoor JK, Morrissey BM, Walby WF, Yoneda KY, Juarez M, Kajekar R, Severinghaus JW, Eldridge MW, Schelegle ES. L-arginine supplementation enhances exhaled NO, breath condensate VEGF, and headache at 4,342 m. High Alt Med Biol. 6(4):289-300.


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