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Arginine

What is it?

Arginine is an amino acid that can be taken as a supplement. It has been used for infertility and erectile problems, chest pain (angina), heart diseases, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), lack of growth hormone, preventing blood clots, high blood pressure, frequent urinary tract infections, migraine headache, to assist in weight loss, diabetes, and to increase the body's ability to fight disease.

Other names for Arginine include: L-Arginine.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have diabetes, liver, or kidney disease
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease

Dosage:

Talk with your caregiver about how much Arginine you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking Arginine. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

Do not take Arginine without talking to your doctor first if you are taking:

  • Water pills (diuretics, examples: amiloride (Midamor(R), spironolactone (Aldactone(R)), triamterene (Dyazide(R), Maxzide (R), Dyrenium(R)) (18)

Warnings:

  • Before taking Arginine, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • If you have diabetes, kidney, or liver disease, you should not take Arginine without first consulting your health care professional (7,9)

Side Effects:

Stop taking your medicine right away and talk to your doctor if you have any of the following side effects. Your medicine may be causing these symptoms which may mean you are allergic to it.

  • Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest
  • Chest pain
  • Skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Taking Arginine may increase the amount of Herpes simplex (cold sores) outbreaks (7)
  • Large doses of Arginine can cause diarrhea (7)
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), bloating, stomach cramps, and throwing up have been reported (12)
  • You may experience low blood pressure (13)
  • Headache and numbness have been reported (10)
  • You may experience swelling in your legs (14)

References:

1. Murray, MT, Pizzorno J: Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine 2nd ed. Prima Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1998.

2. Sigal RK, Shou J & Dayl JM: Parenteral arginine infusion in humans: nutrient substrate or pharmacologic agent? J Parent Enter Nutr 1992; 16:423-428.

3. Kemen M., Senkal M, Homan HH et al: Early postoperative enteral nutrition with argininie-omega-3 fatty acids and ribonucleic acid-supplemented diet versus placebo in cancer patients: an immunologic evaluation of Impact ®. Crit Care Med 1995; 23:652-659.

4. Bower RH, Cerra FB, Bershadsky B et al: Early enteral administration of a formula (Impact (R)) supplemented with arginine, nucleotides, and fish oil in intensive care unit patients: results of a multicenter, prospective, randomized clinical trial. Crit Care Med 1995; 23:436-449.

5. Smith SD, Wheeler MA, Foster HE et al: Improvement in interstitial cystitis symptom scores during treatment with oral L-arginine. J Urol 1997;158:703-708.

6. Korting GE, Smith SD, Wheeler MA et al: A randomized double-blind trial of oral L-arginine for treatment of interstitial cystitis. J Urol 1999;161:558-565.

7. Marz RB: Medical Nutrition From Marz, 2nd ed. Omni-Press, Portland, OR; 1997.

8. Tenenbaum A, Fisman EZ & Motro M: L-arginine: Rediscovery in progress. Cardiol 1998; 90:153-159.

9. Massara F, Cagliero E, Bisbocci D et al: The risk of pronounced hyperkalaemia after arginine infusion in the diabetic subject. Diab Metab 1981; 7(3):149-153.

10. AHFS: American Hospital Formulary Service. American Society of Hospital Pharmacists, Washington, DC; 1997.

11. McEvoy GK (Ed): AHFS Drug Information. American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Bethesda, MD; 1997.

12. Bellamy MF, Goodfellow J, Tweddel AC et al: Syndrome X and endothelial dysfunction. Cardiovasc Res 1998; 40:410-417.

13. Calver A, Collier J & Vallance P: L-arginine-induced hypotension. Lancet 1990; 336:1016-1017.

14. Imler M, Ruscher H, Peter B et al: The effect of arginine in a case of recurrent hepatic coma complicating a feminizing cortico-adrenal tumor with hepatic metastasis. Sem Hop Paris 1973; 49:3183-3190.

15. Blum A, Porat R, Rosenschein U et al: Clinical and inflammatory effects of dietary L-arginine in patients with intractable angina pectoris. Brief Reports 1999; 2(9149): 1488-1490.

16. Tenenbaum A, Fishman EZ & Motro M: L-arginine: rediscovery in progress. Cardiol 1998; 90:153-159.

17. Loche S, Carta D, Muntoni AC et al: Oral administration of arginine enhances the growth hormone response to growth hormone releasing hormone in short children. Acta Paediatr 1993; 82:883-884.

18. Bushinsky DA & Gennari FJ: Life-threatening hyperkalaemia with arginine. Ann Intern Med 1978; 89:632.


Last Updated: 7/4/2017
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