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Arginine

Other name(s):

a-amino-d-guanidino-n-valeric acid

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have NOT yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

Arginine is claimed to improve fertility in men by increasing sperm count. It may also help stimulate the output of human growth hormone (HGH) and increase collagen in connective tissue.

Arginine may be helpful in reducing fatigue, improving wound healing, increasing muscle mass, and treating diabetes and liver disease.

There are some indications that arginine may be useful in the fight against cancer and play a role in the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

Recommended intake

Amino acids (AAs) are available as individual AAs or in proprietary AA combinations, as well as part of multi-vitamin formulas, proteins, and food supplements. The forms include tablets, fluids, and powders. However, adequate protein in the diet should provide a sufficient source of all amino acids.

There are no conditions that increase the requirements for arginine. However, newborns do have higher requirements than adults.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

The use of a single amino acid supplement may lead to negative nitrogen balance, decreasing the metabolic efficiency, and increasing the workload of the kidneys. In children, taking single amino acid supplements may also harmfully affect growth parameters.

Always avoid taking individual amino acids in high dosage for prolonged periods.

Use with caution in patients with diabetes, hepatic or renal impairment, or electrolyte imbalance, as arginine may cause life-threatening hyperkalemia (elevated potassium in the blood).

Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use arginine supplements.

Children and adolescents should not use arginine supplements. Individuals with an active herpes infection also should avoid using arginine.

Additional information

Click here for a list of reputable websites with general information on nutrition.