L-arginine is an amino acid that helps the body build protein.
Your body usually makes all the L-arginine it needs. L-arginine is also found in most protein-rich foods, including fish, red meat, poultry, soy, whole grains, beans and dairy products.
As a supplement, L-arginine can be used orally and topically. It can also be administered intravenously (IV).
Because L-arginine acts as a vasodilator, opening (dilating) blood vessels, many people take oral L-arginine to treat heart conditions and erectile dysfunction.
Research on the use of Larginine for specific conditions shows:
- Angina. Studies suggest that Larginine might decrease symptoms and improve quality of life in people with a mild to severe form of this type of chest pain.
- High blood pressure (hypertension). Some research has shown that oral Larginine can lower blood pressure in healthy people, people with mild blood pressure elevation and diabetes, and in people with a type of high blood pressure that affects the arteries in the lungs and the right side of the heart (pulmonary hypertension). Infusions of L-arginine also appear to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension.
- High blood pressure during pregnancy. Some studies show that Larginine infusions may lower blood pressure in pregnant women who develop high blood pressure.
- Preeclampsia. L-arginine infusions may lower blood pressure in women with this pregnancy complication. Some research shows that taking oral Larginine might help prevent preeclampsia in pregnant women.
- Erectile dysfunction. Taking oral Larginine might improve sexual function in men with erectile dysfunction due to a physical cause.
- Peripheral arterial disease (PAD). When taken orally or by infusion for a short period of time, Larginine may improve symptoms and blood flow in people with this circulatory condition.
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