L-arginine it’s an amino acid made by the body and helps the body build protein. Due to its vasodilator characteristics, people take it to help treat high blood pressure and erectile dysfunction.

Protein-rich foods contain l-arginine, including:

Beef and chicken meat, fish and shrimps.

  • Red meat
  • Soy
  • Beans
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Whole grains
  • Dairy products

Supplements can be used both orally and topically.


Research has been done on the effects of l-arginine on the following conditions:

  • Angina
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Erectile dysfunction


  • People with angina experience chest pains
  • Some studies suggest l-arginine might decrease symptoms and improve quality of life for people with mild to severe angina

High Blood Pressure

  • Some research suggests oral ingestion can lower blood pressure
  • These effects were seen in healthy people and those with pulmonary hypertension
  • Infusions of l-arginine may also help lower blood pressure in those with hypertension

Erectile Dysfunction

  • Oral l-arginine may improve sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction if it’s due to a physical cause

Safety and Side Effects

Young girl suffering from stomachache lying down on sofa

L-arginine is generally safe and may help treat certain cardiovascular conditions. If taking blood pressure medication, talk to your doctor before using any supplement.

Some side effects of taking this orally may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Allergic response
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Gout
  • Airway inflammation
  • Worsening of asthma symptoms

Stop taking and consult your doctor if you experience any of these side effects.

It’s recommended that you don’t take l-arginine if you:

  • Have allergies
  • Have asthma
  • Recently suffered a heart attack
  • Have had cold sores or genital herpes

Supplements may worsen or potentially trigger these conditions. Consult a doctor before taking anything if you’ve experienced these conditions.


Child hands make a sugar level

L-arginine could interact negatively with:

  • Anticoagulants & anti-platelet drugs, herbs and supplements
  • Blood pressure medicines, herbs and supplements
  • Diabetes medications, herbs and supplements
  • Isoproterenol
  • Nitrates
  • Water pills (potassium-sparing diuretics)
  • Sildenafil (Viagra)

Taking with these drugs and medicines may:

  • Cause blood pressure levels to become too low
  • Increase the risk of developing hyperkalemia
  • Drop your blood sugar levels too much
  • Increase the risk of bleeding

Consult a doctor before taking l-arginine if you’re currently taking these drugs and medicines.


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