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Arginine
While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • 2-Amino-5-guanidinopentanoic acid, agmatine, Arg, arginine, arginine hydrochloride (intravenous formulation), Ark 1, decarboxylated arginine, dipeptide arginyl aspartate, HeartBars, L-arg, L-arginine, L-arginine aspartate, NG-monomethyl-L-arginine, Sargenor, Spedifen®.
  • Dietary sources of arginine: Almonds, barley, Brazil nuts, brown rice, buckwheat, cashews, cereals, chicken, chocolate, coconut, corn, dairy products, filberts, gelatin, meats, oats, peanuts, pecans, raisins, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts.
  • Note: Arginine analogs (N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, N(G)-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, N-monomethyl-L-arginine, dimethylarginine), and ibuprofen arginate are not specifically discussed in this monograph.

Background

  • L-arginine was first isolated in 1886, reportedly from the extract of a lupine (Lupinus spp.) seedling. Lupinus is a genus in the legume (Fabaceae) plant family.
  • Arginine is an amino acid normally made by the body. Arginine is also found in many foods that have protein.
  • Arginine becomes nitric oxide (a blood vessel-widening agent called a vasodilator) in the body. Early evidence suggests that arginine may help treat medical conditions that improve with increased vasodilation. These conditions include chest pain, atherosclerosis (clogged arteries), heart disease, heart failure, erectile dysfunction, peripheral vascular disease, and headaches from blood vessel swelling).
  • Arginine also triggers the body to make protein and has been studied for healing wounds, bodybuilding, enhancing sperm production, and preventing tissue wasting in people with critical illnesses. However, caution is warranted. Arginine use was associated with death in some people with heart conditions. Caution is also needed when using arginine to treat pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure in pregnancy).
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Evidence

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Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

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Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

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Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

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Author Information

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References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.