L-arginine is an amino acid that plays a key role in your body’s regulation of blood flow because of its ability to increase nitric oxide production.
It’s also found in many pre-workout mixes.
Since the function of pretty much everything in your body depends critically on its blood supply, this is no small matter.
L-arginine has been used effectively for everything from improving heart function to increasing memory to treating erectile dysfunction.
Here’s our research-backed rankings of the ten best L-arginine supplements on the market.
1. L-Arginine PURE
L-Arginine PURE delivers a high dose of L-arginine, and it does so with a highly pure formulation with multiple forms of L-arginine.
Most of its 700 mg of L-arginine per capsule is delivered as arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, but it also includes small amounts of free L-arginine, L-arginine L-pyroglutamate, and L-arginine HCL.
Since these are absorbed through slightly different pathways in your body, this might boost absorption and lead to arginine levels that increase rapidly and stay elevated for a long time. This makes it great for boosting your sex drive and for athletic performance.
2. Roam Nitric Oxide
When it comes to raising your nitric oxide production through L-arginine, Roam Nitric Oxide is the best solution.
It provides two sources of L-arginine, both the HCL form and the alpha-ketoglutarate form, as well as citrulline to aid and assist with nitric oxide production. There are no extraneous ingredients, and the only downside is that the capsule is gelatin, so not fit for strict vegetarians.
3. Sheer Strength Sheer NO
Sheer NO is a supplement that focuses on boosting nitric oxide through a variety of ingredients, but L-arginine is one of the key constituents.
It’s accompanied by pine bark extract and citrulline, so as far as supplements that will boost nitric oxide production, it’s one of the better ones. However, its L-arginine content is only middle of the road due to the other ingredients.
4. Havasu Nutrition L-Arginine
Havasu’s L-arginine supplement delivers 400 mg of arginine per capsule, split between L-arginine HCL and L-arginine alpha-ketoglutarate.
In addition, it provides the companion amino acid citrulline, which is also linked to nitric oxide production in the body. In addition, there is 50 mg of cayenne pepper extract per serving, which is thought to promote blood flow through a different mechanism.
If you are looking for maximal blood flow, it’s a great solution, but if you want to focus on L-arginine specifically, it’s not the most targeted supplement.
5. BulkSupplements L-Arginine Base Powder
For the true do it yourselfer, BulkSupplements L-arginine is the way to go. Coming in a pure powdered form of L-arginine HCL (which is what the “base” in the name refers to), this is what you want if you are looking for a way to incorporate L-arginine into your shakes or smoothies.
The downside is shared with all powder-based supplements that are usually taken in low doses: you’ll need a milligram-accurate scale to measure out doses.
6. Jarrow Formulas L-Arginine
Jarrow Formulas never goes for flashy supplement formulations, but they do simple formulas quite well. This is the case with their L-arginine supplement, which is a straightforward 1000 mg L-arginine HCL dosage in a vegetarian capsule.
It’s certified free of common allergens like gluten, soy, dairy, shellfish, and eggs, making it a good choice for people with food sensitivities and allergies.
7. NOW Double Strength L-Arginine
NOW delivers a heavy dose of L-arginine, with 1000 mg of L-arginine HCL per capsule.
Unfortunately, it’s got a few more binders and stabilizers than purists might like, and another disadvantage is the fact that the L-arginine is supplied in just one form as opposed to multiple different forms.
Still, for those looking for high L-arginine dosages, it’s a good buy.
8. L-Arginine PRO Powder
This powder-based L-arginine supplement is something a little different–it’s almost more of a sports drink than just a supplement. It provides a very high dose (5500 mg) of L-arginine, alongside vitamins C, D, K, and several B-vitamins.
It’s flavored with stevia along with the artificial sweetener xylitol, which some people may not like. The taste and flavoring might make it a little too overpowering to add to a smoothie or a protein shake, which limits its versatility.
9. Amazing Formulas L-Arginine
At 1000 mg per capsule, Amazing Formulas has a high-potency L-arginine supplement, but aside from that, there is not a whole lot going for this supplement.
With several additional binders, the L-arginine comes only in an L-arginine HCL form. Perhaps better than free L-arginine, but not up to the standards of some of the top ranked supplements.
10. Bestvite L-Arginine
The L-arginine supplement from Bestvite is high dosage and no frills. It comes in the “free” form, which is cheap to manufacture but may not be as readily absorbed by your body as an alpha-ketoglutarate or even an HCL form of L-arginine.
Further, the capsule is stabilized by a lot of binders and fillers, which are a bit of a turn-off. The 1000 mg dosage is the one upside to this L-arginine supplement.
L-arginine benefits and side effects
L-arginine is an amino acid and is considered to be one of the essential building blocks of protein.
It is most commonly used by trainers and fitness experts as a dietary supplement in an attempt to induce training performance, particularly with regards to gaining higher energy and overcoming muscle fatigue.
The benefits of l-arginine largely relate to the increase in the concentration of nitric oxide, which is a compound developed by the endothelium of the blood vessels that is known for expanding blood vessels.
Additionally, l-arginine is also used for improving cardiovascular health by dilating clogged arteries and increasing proper blood flow to the body.
Other uses for l-arginine include treating wounds, improve liver function, and foster an efficient number of hormones in the body.
L-Arginine, or arginine, is developed naturally inside the human body.
As an amino acid, it becomes nitric oxide, which is then released into the bloodstream according to certain physiological changes, such as changes in blood pressure and cholesterol (1).
Arginine also signals your body to produce more protein, which has a considerable uses for gaining muscle and strength and for increasing sperm count.
However, arginine is not very beneficial for people suffering from heart conditions or pregnant women. In lieu of this, caution is advised.
More importantly, arginine also stimulates the growth of vital growth hormones along with glucose that enable you body to obtain the necessary nutrients for growth and higher energy.
This leads to a host of advantages that will be looked into greater detail.
There are various studies to show that l-arginine can help you gain muscle, boost male sexual health, and also improve cardiovascular health.
As for muscle growth, a 2009 study (2) shows that l-arginine can lead to muscle growth and fat loss. The study was experimented on 24 pigs over a 60 day period found tremendous results in overall weight loss and muscle development. Still, l-arginine shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone weight loss supplement.
Another study conducted by Zajac et.al (3) found that increases in l-arginine leads to an increase in growth hormone levels.
This has important results for bodybuilders and trainers who train to burn fat and achieve large muscle size. The l-arginine can lead to better protein synthesis and fat metabolism.
In addition, the release of nitric oxide provides a host of advantages in reducing recovery times in between training days to help overcome DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) and acute muscle soreness, which is why its found in many post workout drinks.
What this means is that you’re fatigued and sore muscles will be able to recover a lot faster and maximize your workout performance.
Secondly, l-arginine is also found to have important applications for fostering healthy sexual lives for both men and women.
For men, it has the capacity to treat erectile dysfunction (4). Since it turns into nitric oxide, l-arginine can ensure healthy penile erection by expanding penis blood vessels and promoting proper blood flow. As a result, the penis can become stiff efficiently and remain erect for longer durations for engaging in sexual activities.
Increases in sperm count have also associated with a rise in l-arginine levels in the body. This offers a ray of hope to infertile men and gives them the opportunity to participate in healthy sexual activities.
Thirdly, l-arginine is also has been discovered to substantially improve cardiovascular health. By turning into nitric oxide, the amino acid eases clogged arteries and ensures health blood circulation.
This is also beneficial for alleviating chest pains and symptoms of coronary heart disease (5). However, the benefits of l-arginine on the heart are not conclusive; hence, it should be used on a case-by-case basis.
Although there are clear benefits to the function of l-arginine, there are also certain side-effects that need to be considered prior to use. This is why it is crucial that you consult your medical physician.
Heart patients need to be especially cautious prior to using any l-arginine supplements. There is research to support l-arginine, in fact, can lead to poor heart health.
A John Hopkins study concluded the l-arginine neither improves vascular stiff nor does it increase ejection fraction (6). The study also led to the death of 6 patients of the l-arginine which led the study being cancelled at an early stage.
There are also minor side effects associated with l-arginine that can be experienced as a result of overdose. Some of these side effects are nausea, diarrhea, and weakness in the body.
This is why it is important that you pay close attention to the type of diet you are following. We have already mentioned how l-arginine is found in many food sources. A diet rich in such foods along with l-arginine supplements can heighten the risks of an overdose.
For muscle building, l-arginine can boost your physical endurance levels and minimize recovery periods during and between workout days. If you have a medical condition, such as erectile dysfunction, impotence, or a heart disease, l-arginine can help you alleviate its symptoms. However, you should never hasten to use it without consulting your medical physician.
Unless you are using a supplement, your body is generates a sufficient amount of l-arginine in the body.
You can increase the amount of l-arginine by eating foods such as eggs, dairy products, fish, and red meat.
However, if you intend of using supplements for training or some medical reason, you need to make sure you are within the 1200 mg per day limit.
For best results, consult a trained medical physician to weigh the risks and benefits associated with the supplement on your health.
L-arginine supplements can be used by adults, children, athletes, and overweight or obese people.
Since your body already produces enough l-arginine by consuming the right food sources, you do not need it unless you have a medical problem or are looking for a “boost” in your weight training or athletic activities.