Arginine is a non-essential amino acid, meaning most of the time it can be manufactured by the human body, and does not need to be obtained directly through the diet. Normally, an adult makes enough arginine, even when it is lacking in the diet. However, during times of unusual stress (including infection, burns, and injury), the body may not be able to keep up with increased requirements. Children are not efficient at producing the quantities they need for growth and must obtain arginine through their diet.

What it does

  1. Arginine works with ornithone to remove ammonia from the body.
  2. It improves immune function and the healing of wounds and injuries, particularly broken bones.
  3. It stimulates the release of growth hormone and increases muscle mass.
  4. It helps improve insulin sensitivity and reduces adipose tissue body fat.
  5. Arginine is needed to produce nitric oxide, which the body uses to keep blood vessels dilated, increasing circulation throughout the body, including the sex organs improving sperm production and motility.

Potential Uses

Male inferility Angina Congestive heart failure
Erectile disfunction High blood pressure Wound healing

Food sources of Arginine: dairy products including cottage cheese, ricotta, milk, yogurt, whey protein drinks; beef; pork including bacon and ham; the light meat of chicken and turkey; wild game; seafood including halibut, lobster, salmon, shrimp, tuna.
Vegan sources: wheat germ and flour; buckwheat; oatmeal; nuts including coconut, pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts, pine nuts, peanuts; seeds including pumpkin, sesame, sunflower; chick peas, cooked soybeans.


Generally, there are no side effects or contra-indications from using arginine. If you have cold sores or herpes infections, you should avoid arginine as it stimulates the growth of the herpes virus.

If you take ACE inhibitors, amiloride, spironolactone or triamterene you should avoid arginine as they all may affect potassium levels.

Arginine may increase the production of stomach acid and should be avoided if you take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

Arginine may reduce the effectiveness of the drug levodopa and should not be taken at the same time as this medication.

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