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Benefits of Arginine (L-Arginine)

During the past five decades studies have revealed Arginine to be useful in a variety of contexts. Arginine has become popular as a supplement among body builders, athletes and those with weakened immune systems. I’ve summarized some of the established benefits of Arginine below with links to data supporting each claim.

My goal with this blog entry is to cast aside anecdotal evidence or “drug superstition” in favor of thorough, conclusive research that shows tangible benefits of Arginine in it’s various forms.

  1. Benefits of Arginine HCL in Wound Healing
  2. Benefits of Arginine Glutamate in Detoxifying the Liver
  3. Benefits of L-Arginine in Strengthening the Immune System
  4. Benefits of L-Arginine combined with L-Lysine in Stimulating Growth Hormones
  5. Benefits of Arginine combined with Yohimbine in treating Erectile Dysfunction
  6. Benefits of Arginine combined with Pycnogenol in treating Erectile Dysfunction
  7. Benefits of L-Arginine combined with Antioxidant Vitamins in treating Pre-Eclampsia in pregnant women
  8. Which form of Arginine to Buy and Where to Buy it

Benefits of Arginine HCL in improving Wound Healing

In a study done in 1990 at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore on a group of 36 volunteers, researchers showed that Arginine improved wound healing and immune function. The volunteers were separated into three random groups. Researchers inserted a 5cm segment of rubber tubing under the volunteer’s skin into the right deltoid region (shoulder muscle).

Two forms of Arginine and a placebo were used for the experiment. The supplements were given to the volunteers orally for two weeks. At two weeks the researchers measured the rate of healing by analyzing the formation of new collagen and how much was deposited in the wound area.

The volunteers who had taken an Arginine supplement had significantly more collagen deposited into the wound as part of the healing process than the control group.

The two forms of Arginine used in the study were Arginine Hydrochloride (Arginine HCL) and Arginine Aspartate. Both forms improved wound healing, but the form that gave the best results was Arginine Hydrochloride or Arginine HCL.

Benefits of Arginine Glutamate in Detoxifying the Liver of Ammonia

Our bodies normally produce ammonia as a waste product of protein metabolism. It is removed from the blood and converted to urea. The urea is then transferred into the urine and removed from the body. At the lab for Nuclear Medicine and Biology at the VA Hospital in Omaha in 1966, two researchers showed that arginine-glutamate helped both healthy and sick rat livers to remove ammonia from the body.

Benefits of L-Arginine improving the immune system of Surgical Patients

In 1988, doctors from the Division of Surgical Oncology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medecine presented findings at the American Surgical Association’s annual meeting that showed Arginine improves the immune system of patients recovering from surgery.

A group of 30 patients was used in the study and two groups received either L-Arginine or L-Glycine (another amino acid) for 7 days after surgery as a dietary supplement.

Various immune levels were measured at days 1, 4 and 7 after surgery and a marked improvement in the immune systems of the L-Arginine patients was seen.

Benefits of L-Arginine combined with L-Lysine in stimulating production of growth hormones

At a study on 15 male volunteers conducted at the University of Rome in Italy in 1981, three researchers showed that L-Arginine combined with L-Lysine (another amino acid) increased the production of Somatotropin and Insulin.

Somatotropin is a hormone that stimulates growth, cell reproduction and cell regeneration. Insulin is a hormone that has a profound effect on muscle growth. Insulin is used by bodybuilders to boost muscle growth and recovery.

Interesting side-story about Insulin, while we’re on the subject:

Athletes figured out that Insulin improves muscle growth and recovery before doctors did. At the Winter Olympic Games in Nagano in 1998 a Russian medical officer enquired as to whether the use of insulin was restricted to insulin dependent diabetes. The IOC immediately took a look at insulin as a performance enhancing drug and banned it’s use.

To learn more about how to use insulin to enhance muscle growth and recovery, check out “Nutrient Timing” by Ivy and Portman.

Benefits of L-Arginine Glutamate combined with Yohimbine HCL in preventing erectile dysfunction

In 2002, researchers at the Urology Department of Hospital Foch in Suresnes, France conducted an erectile dysfunction study on a group of forty-five patients.  The study was a double blind, placebo controlled,randomized trial to test the efficacy of L-Arginine combined with Yohimbine Hydrochloride versus Yohimbine Hydrochloride on it’s own for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

The dosages used in the two groups receiving the non-placebo drugs were:

  • 6 grams of L-Arginine Glutamate combined with 6 milligrams of Yohimbine Hydrochloride for the first group
  • 6 milligrams of Yohimbine Hydrochloride on it’s own for the second group

During the study, the drug was administered orally one to two hours before sexual intercourse. The researchers proved conclusively that:

  1. Yohimbine HCL on it’s own and Yohimbine HCL combined with L-Arginine Glutamate are effective at treating erectile dysfunction.
  2. L-Arginine Glutamate combined with Yohimbine HCL is more effective at treating ED than Yohimbine HCL on it’s own.

Benefits of L-Arginine combined with Pycnogenol in improving sexual function in men with ED with no side-effects

In a 2003 issue of the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, researchers Stanislavov and Nikolova published findings of a study involving 40 men, aged 25 to 45 years.

The study covered a 3 month period. During the entire 3 months, the men all received three ampoules of Sargenor per day. Sargenor is a drinkable solution of the dipeptide Arginyl Aspartate which is equivalent to 1.7 grams of L-Arginine per day.

In the second month the researchers started giving the patients 40 milligrams of Pycnogenol twice a day in addition to their L-Arginine dosage.

During the third month the researchers imcreased the Pycnogenol dosage to three 40 milligram Pycnogenol tablets per day.

The results were as follows:

  1. They showed that L-Arginine on it’s own (given in the first month) had no significant effect on treating ED.
  2. L-Arginine combined with 40mg Pycnogenol twice a day restored sexual ability to 80% of the men involved in the study.
  3. L-Arginine combined with 40mg Pycnogenol three times a day restored sexual ability to 92.5% of men in the study.

Benefits of L-Arginine combined with Antioxidant Vitamins during pregnancy in reducing Pre-Eclampsia in high risk individuals

A study published in the British Medical Journal in 2011 showed the results of work done at a Tertiary Public Hospital in Mexico City. The study’s goal was to test whether a lack of L-Arginine may be the cause of Pre-Eclampsia in pregnant women with a history of the disorder.

The study involved 672 women divided into three groups. A third received placebos. A third received antioxidant vitamins alone. A third received antioxidant vitamins with L-Arginine.

The researchers gave the L-Arginine and Antioxidant vitamins to the subjects in the form of medical food bars.

The results were as follows:

  1. The group receiving only antioxidant vitamins showed no improvement.
  2. The group receiving L-Arginine combined with Antioxidant Vitamins saw a significant reduction in incidences of Pre-Eclampsia.

Keep in mind that this study examined women with a history of Pre-Eclampsia. The next goal the researchers have is to study women who are at a low risk for Pre-Eclampsia to see if the results are the same.


Which form of Arginine to Buy and where to buy it

Disclosure: I receive a small commission if you click any of the links below and buy a product. Almost every online vitamin and supplement retailer has an affiliate program so this hasn’t influenced my decision regarding which products or retailer to recommend. Any revenue goes to covering SkipThePie’s expenses, so if you have found this blog entry helpful, but sure to support us by buying from the retailers below.

For Wound Healing, Strengthening the Immune System and Detoxing the Liver

The NOW brand of Vitamins is a trusted brand and has been around since 1948. They have two options:

L-Arginine 500mg dosage with 250 caps:

L-Arginine 500 mg 250 Caps

Or if you’re vegetarian check out their 1000mg 120 tab vegetarian option:

L-Arginine 1000 Free Form Vegetarian 120 Tabs

If you’re buying in bulk, Carlson Labs is another good source that has been around since 1968. Check out Carlson’s 1000 gram L-Arginine Powder:

L-Arginine Powder 1000 g

To Stimulate Growth Hormones

If you’re an athlete or bodybuilder hoping to stimulate growth hormones as mentioned in the study above, buy the recommended Arginine supplements above and add Now Vitamin’s L-Lysine:

L-Lysine 500 mg 100 Caps

For a vegetarian source:

L-Lysine HCL Powder, Vegetarian 1 lb

If you’re dealing with erectile dysfunction

The two studies I cited above recommend two supplements used separately in combination with Arginine. Try Pycnogenol first (in combination with L-Arginine) from Pittsburgh based Healthy Origins. Pycnogenol is more expensive than Yohimbine (below) but is more popular, which is why I’m recommending it first:

Pycnogenol 100 mg 30 Vcaps

And if you don’t have any luck with Pycnogenol, try Yohimbine from PrimaForce:

Yohimbine Hcl 90 Caps

To help prevent Pre-Eclampsia during pregnancy

The Pre-Eclampsia study I cited above recommends combining L-Arginine with a source of Antioxidant Vitamins. The study gave the Arginine and Vitamins to the women in the form of a medical food bar. I would therefore recommend taking one of the Arginine sources above with an Antioxidant Vitamin with a meal or snack. Weil is another great brand I’d recommend, created by Dr Andrew Weil:

Daily Antioxidant for Optimum Health 60 V Caps

In closing (and my disclaimer)

Please check with your doctor before taking any supplements or supplement combinations and make sure you read all warnings on the labels of each supplement. I haven’t included dosage information for any of the recommended supplements because each manufacturer has their own recommendations. Please do your own research and remember that you take responsibility for all decisions about your health.