Arginine Supplements: The Many Implications of Improved Blood Flow

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Arginine, an amino acid naturally found in various foods, has caught the attention of researchers for its many health benefits. When taken as a supplement, arginine can offer advantages like improved blood flow, better exercise performance, and faster wound healing.

What Is Arginine?

Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that your body produces in limited amounts. You can also get it from foods like turkey, chicken, and dairy products. This amino acid plays a crucial role in several bodily functions, including protein synthesis, cell division, and ammonia removal. In the form of a supplement, arginine often appears as L-arginine and serves various health purposes. From supporting cardiovascular health to enhancing exercise performance, arginine has a wide range of uses that make it a subject of ongoing research and interest.

What Are the Benefits of Arginine?

  • Improves Blood Flow: Arginine converts into nitric oxide in the body, which expands blood vessels and improves circulation. [PMID: 34251644]
  • Enhances Exercise Performance: Better blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients reach your muscles, helping you perform better in physical activities. Researchers suggest dosages “should be adjusted to 0.15 g/kg of body weight consumed between 60-90 min before. Ongoing Arginine supplementation should include 1.5-2 g/day for 4-7 weeks in order to improve aerobic performance, and 10-12 g/day for 8 weeks to enhance anaerobic performance.” [PMC7282262]
  • Speeds Up Wound Healing: Arginine helps in the formation of collagen, a key component in skin, which can accelerate the healing of wounds. A review found that arginine supplementation along with other oral nutrition supplementation improved wound healing in older hospitalized or long term care patients. [PMID: 31498170]
  • Supports Immune System: This amino acid plays a role in immune function by supporting the production and activity of white blood cells. Researchers have found that arginine takes part in “metabolic pathways that profoundly affect immune cell biology; especially macrophage, dendritic cell and T cell immunobiology.” [PMC8257534]
  • Reduces Blood Pressure: By improving blood vessel function, arginine can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels. [PMC8761475]
  • Improves Sexual Health: The improved blood flow resulting from arginine supplementation has been shown to improve sexual function in some cases. [PMC8995264]
  • Boosts Antioxidant Levels: Arginine can increase the body’s production of antioxidants, which help combat cellular damage caused by free radicals.
  • Possibly *Harmful* to Kidney Function: Arginine plays a role in removing waste products from the body, so many people advocate for supplementation. However, animal models have found the opposite effect on kidney health. [PMC7851093]
  • Relieves Migraines: Some studies indicate that arginine could be useful in treating headaches and migraines, likely due to its ability to improve blood flow. Chronic migraine patients showed low plasma levels of arginine. [PMID: 34677703]
  • Improves Insulin Sensitivity: Arginine has shown promise in improving insulin sensitivity, which can be beneficial for people dealing with glucose control issues. One study showed, “L-arginine improves insulin sensitivity in obese patients and NIDDM patients as well as in healthy subjects.” [PMID: 9279534]

Food Sources of Arginine

Food SourceAmount of Arginine per Serving
Turkey Breast16g per 3.5 oz (100g) serving
Chicken14g per 3.5 oz (100g) serving
Pork Loin14g per 3.5 oz (100g) serving
Pumpkin Seeds7g per 1 cup
Lentils2.1g per 1 cup (cooked)
Chickpeas (Garbanzo)2g per 1 cup (cooked)
Almonds2.7g per 1 oz
Dairy (Milk, Cheese)Varies, around 0.2g per 1 oz
Tuna5.6g per 3 oz (canned in water)
Salmon4.9g per 3 oz
Note: The amounts listed are approximate and can vary on a variety of factors.

Is Arginine Safe?

When it comes to safety, arginine generally has a good track record. It’s a naturally occurring amino acid found in various foods and produced by the body, making it generally safe for most people when consumed in moderate amounts. However, like any supplement, excessive intake can lead to side effects, such as gastrointestinal issues. It’s also worth noting that certain health conditions may warrant caution, as arginine can interact with some medications.

Medication Interactions with Arginine

  • Blood Pressure Medications: Arginine may lower blood pressure, so taking it alongside medications designed for the same purpose could result in overly low blood pressure.
  • Nitrates: Used for treating heart conditions, these can interact with arginine to cause blood pressure to drop too low.
  • Viagra (Sildenafil): Both this medication and arginine can dilate blood vessels. Taking them together may amplify this effect, potentially causing issues like low blood pressure.
  • Diabetes Medications: Arginine may affect insulin sensitivity, so combining it with diabetes medications might require adjustments to medication doses.
  • Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners): Arginine can sometimes affect blood viscosity, so using it with anticoagulants like warfarin may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Immune-Modulating Drugs: Arginine can influence the immune system, which could interfere with medications that have immune-modulating effects.

Supplement Interactions with Arginine

  • Blood Pressure Medications: Arginine may lower blood pressure, so taking it alongside medications designed for the same purpose could result in overly low blood pressure.
  • Nitrates: Used for treating heart conditions, these can interact with arginine to cause blood pressure to drop too low.
  • Viagra (Sildenafil): Both this medication and arginine can dilate blood vessels. Taking them together may amplify this effect, potentially causing issues like low blood pressure.
  • Diabetes Medications: Arginine may affect insulin sensitivity, so combining it with diabetes medications might require adjustments to medication doses.
  • Anticoagulants (Blood Thinners): Arginine can sometimes affect blood viscosity, so using it with anticoagulants like warfarin may increase the risk of bleeding.
  • Immune-Modulating Drugs: Arginine can influence the immune system, which could interfere with medications that have immune-modulating effects.

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L-Arginine by Biotics Research

L-Arginine is one of the non-essential amino acids. Functionally, Arginine can support healthy immune and cardiac function, and promotes the synthesis of nitric oxide. Higher intakes of the L-arginine have been associated with lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP). {Wells BJ, Mainous AG, 3rd, Everett CJ: Association between dietary arginine and C-reactive protein. Nutrition 2005; 21(2): 125-30.} In the American diet common sources of arginine include meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, eggs, and cereals. L-Arginine supplies 700mg of L-Arginine per capsule.

Suggested Use:
One (1) capsule three (3) times each day as a dietary supplement or as otherwise directed by a healthcare professional.

Serving Size: 1 Capsule

Amount Per Serving
L-Arginine HCl† … 700mg


Food First!

Although this article discusses supplements in detail, don’t forget that we are absolutely committed to the “Food First” approach to nutrition. When it comes to your health, the totality of your eating habits far surpasses the impact of individual nutrients or any single supplement you consume. Even though this article doesn’t delve into the broader picture of your overall diet, it’s crucial to keep this element at the forefront of our minds. Your food needs to provide all the vitamins, minerals, fiber, and phytochemicals to nourish your body systems down to the cellular level.

Food choices, rather than supplements, are the most critical factors for a healthy gut microbiome. These trillions of tiny inhabitants in your gut affect your brain waves; they orchestrate your immune system. They possess the power to create molecules that can switch genes on or off and are even capable of synthesizing neurotransmitters. Opting for organic foods and steering clear of plastic packaging (including those labeled BPA-free) is a smart move to limit toxin exposure. The sum of all these parts leads to a powerful conclusion: the ultimate key to your health lies in the quality and balance of the food you consume. Supplements are secondary.

To Sum It Up

Arginine offers a wide array of health benefits, making it a versatile supplement for those looking to improve various aspects of their well-being. From enhancing blood flow and exercise performance to supporting immune function and wound healing, arginine packs a punch in multiple areas. However, like any supplement, it’s crucial to be aware of potential interactions with medications and other supplements. All in all, arginine stands out as a multi-benefit amino acid that has garnered attention for good reason.


This Article is Not a Substitute for Medical Advice

Dietary supplements are not designed to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The Supplement Sciences website seeks to provide comprehensive access to the most relevant supplement information along with convenient online ordering. We do not provide medical advice and cannot guarantee that every product suggested is completely without risk. Since each person is unique in their health history and medication use, it is important to discuss supplements with your personal physician. Specifically, pregnant women and individuals being treated for cancer or liver or kidney problems must consult their physician about every nutritional supplement they plan to take. People taking medications for the treatment of HIV or with a history of organ transplant must not take supplements without consulting with their physician.


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