Arginine – What is it and how does it affect the body?

Arginine is an amino acid that the human body uses to fulfill several functions. Arginine is essential to ensure the proper functioning of the muscular, nervous and cardiovascular systems and to synthesize hormones.

On average, adults need about 5 grams of arginine per day. This amount can be covered indirectly, since the body is able to synthesize it from other proteins. Or directly, through food and supplements.

Read on to find out what are the benefits of arginine for men and what effects this amino acid has on the body.

Arginine – What is it?

Arginine is a conditional amino acid. This is one of the types of amino acids that can change category depending on the state of a person.

The body’s ability to synthesize arginine declines after age 35, and this amino acid is not produced at all in children.

In addition, under stress or illness, arginine can go from being nonessential to being one of the essential amino acids .

The main function of arginine in the body is to release nitric oxide. This substance actively participates in the work of the cardiovascular system, dilates blood vessels and increases their lumen. As a result, it increases blood flow to tissues and at the same time improves nutrient delivery.

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Arginine content in food

The foods with the highest arginine content are nuts : 100 g of peanuts cover the daily requirement by 60%, 100 g of pistachios by 48%, walnuts by 46%.

This amino acid is also found in eggs, meat, and fish; On average, 100g of meat covers 20-30% of the daily value for arginine.

Among cereals, lentils are the leading food since 100 grams contain up to 40% of the norm of arginine. In buckwheat about 20%, in other cereals not more than 10%.

Foods rich in arginine DDR per 100 g:

  • peanuts – 60% of the DV
  • powdered egg – 49% of the norm
  • pine nuts – 48%
  • hazelnuts – 46%
  • walnut – 46%
  • almonds – 44%
  • anacardos – 42%
  • lentils – 41%

How does arginine affect the body?

The main function of arginine in the body is to produce nitric oxide. In addition, arginine is necessary to ensure good blood flow and oxygen supply to the tissues.

Another function of arginine is to stimulate collagen production. The collagen is a special type of protein that serves as building material for the skin, hair and nails. Lack of collagen is associated with accelerated aging of the body, as well as hair loss.

Additionally, a lack of arginine in the diet can negatively affect testosterone levels in men and ultimately male libido and potency.

For this reason, arginine supplementation can be effective for mild forms of impotence. (1)

When and how to take L-Arginine?

Arginine is in food, as well as it is available as a sports supplement. Since the free form of the molecule is used in this case, the absorption rate is usually better.

In bodybuilding, L-arginine is used primarily as a supplement to increase muscle volume and improve muscle strength. Additionally, increased blood flow can enhance muscle recovery processes.

The recommended dose is 3-6 g of L-arginine and it is recommended to take before training.


A key contraindication to using L-arginine (or eating foods rich in it) is the presence of the common herpes virus. Herpes uses this amino acid to infect new cells, greatly accelerating the growth rate of the virus.

The following conditions are contraindicated with the use of arginine. Check with your doctor if you have any of the following:

  • excess body acid
  • high levels of potassium in the blood
  • sickle cell anemia
  • heart attack in the past 30 days
  • renal tubular acidosis
  • decreased kidney function
  • Arginine allergies


Arginine is an amino acid that the body needs to make nitric oxide. This substance plays an important role in the work of the cardiovascular system, as well as in sexual function in men. Athletes are recommended to take L-arginine prior to training.

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