Arginine Supplements for Erectile Dysfunction
Arginine supplements are the least invasive approach to erectile dysfunction therapy you can find. While they aren't necessarily the most universally effective way to go, it should probably be the first stop on your list as you try natural remedies for erectile dysfunction.
Arginine Supplements: How They Work
Erections come about as a result of vascular smooth muscle relaxation. These are the muscles surrounding your blood vessels. In particular, we're talking about the arteries that flow toward the penis. Relaxation of these muscles is governed by a neurochemical called nitric oxide. When a certain nerve signal comes to the penis, arginine is converted to nitric oxide. The nitric oxide then turns on an enzyme that produces the signal causing smooth muscles to relax, which in turn permits increased blood flow to the penis, causing an erection.
So I just described a simple biological cascade reaction. Does this mean that if you take arginine supplements you automatically get an erection? Not necessarily. But it can help if you happen to have low arginine in the system. It also happens to be present in most combination aphrodisiac mixtures.
Clinical studies with arginine supplements
Studies with arginine have delivered uneven results with men suffering from erectile dysfunction. One of the largest studies showed that only 31% of men taking a whopping dose of 5g/day of arginine showed improved sexual function (1). Indeed, deeper analysis of the data showed that the men who reported improvements in this study had low levels of nitric oxide metabolites in the urine. This finding suggests that low arginine is a common cause of erectile dysfunction, and one that can be easily remedied.
Syneristic Effects with Pycnogenol
Pycnogenol is a pine tree extract. This mixture of compounds is known to contain a variety of proanthocyanidins. In addition to being antioxidants, these compounds have diverse biochemical activity. In one study of men with erectile dysfunction, the combination of arginine and pycnogenol was found to significantly improve erectile function (2), far beyond what is reported for arginine alone. This effect likely results from the capacity for proanthocyanidins to stimulate nitric oxide synthase, ensuring that the supplemental arginine gets converted into nitric oxide and used for erections.
Foods High in Arginine
Because arginine is one of the 20 common amino acids that make up most proteins, it can be found in many food sources. Meats, fish, and dairy products are all high in arginine. Vegetarians can get plenty of arginine from oats, nuts, wheat germ, seeds, chick peas and soy.
are loaded with arginine, and testosterone. Because vegetarians and vegans tend to get less protein that omnivores, arginine supplementation may be a good idea.
Arginine Supplements Side Effects
Arginine side effects can include diarrhea, vomiting, and nosebleed (3). Other side effects include breathing problems, swelling of legs, chest pain, and nausea. These side effects tend to occur in doses well over 1g per day. Also, people with herpes report that arginine can badly exacerbate your breakouts.
Arginine is the safest, easiest supplement to take to improve your erections and stimulate your testosterone levels. Long term supplementation is safe, too. Arginine is a less risky proposition (by far) than herbal testosterone boosters.
Arginine supplements also synergize with this herbal supplement
1. Chen, J, Wollman, Y, Chernichovsky, T, et al. "Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study." BJU Int. 83 (1999) 269-73.
2. Stanisavov, R, Nikolova, V. "Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and L-arginine." J Sex Marital Ther. 29 (2003) 207-13.
3. Evans, RW, Fernstrom, JD, Thompson, J, et al. "Biochemical responses of healthy subjects during dietary supplementation with L-arginine." J Nutr Biochem. 15 (2004) 534-9.