L-Arginine Benefits for Males: Pros and Cons

L-Arginine for Males: Pros and Cons

L-arginine key pointsL-arginine is a popular supplement for men, particularly among “gym rats” and the bodybuilding set. While there is evidence to support that L-arginine can help men build muscle, it also has some gastrointestinal side effects like vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea.

Amino acids like L-arginine are the building blocks of protein, and protein synthesis is essential to building muscles. This is why L-arginine is a supplement that has become quite popular for males who wish to increase muscle mass.

In addition to helping to build muscle, there have been studies that show that L-arginine can have other benefits for males, such as lowering the risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. There is anecdotal evidence backed by some studies that it can improve issues with erectile dysfunction. But, like all drugs or supplements, L-arginine is not without some potential side effects.

 L-Arginine Dosage for Males

Since it is a naturally occurring amino acid, L-arginine is generally well tolerated as a supplement, and men have used it safely and effectively in doses anywhere from as little as 1.5 to 30 grams or more. Men who have used it for ED and/or for bodybuilding usually take about 15 to 30g per day.

L-Arginine for Bodybuilders

Like all amino acids, L-arginine can help build muscle mass. This has made it very popular among bodybuilders. L-arginine stimulates protein synthesis, which in turn stimulates muscle growth. As your level of L-arginine in the blood increases through supplementation, it triggers the release of human growth hormone (HGH), which then helps you to build more muscle. Increased muscle mass and increased HGH also boosts your metabolism, which helps your body burn fat more efficiently and further increases your ability to turn fat into muscle. 

One of the other main effects of L-arginine is it is a vasodilator. That means it helps to open up blood vessels by stimulating the production and release of nitric oxide. This improved blood flow is why it can help treat ED and may aid in preventing heart disease. But, improved blood full also helps build muscle. Furthermore, L-arginine is a precursor to other important muscle-building compounds such as creatine, proline, and glutamate. As you have probably heard, creatine is one of the most popular muscle-building supplements used by bodybuilders and other athletes to increase performance legally. Creatine has been proven in multiple studies to increase exercise capacity and build lean body mass while training.

Because of the triple action of increasing the release of HGH, stimulating the production of creatine, and improving blood flow, L-arginine is used by many bodybuilders and athletes to improve peak performance.

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Benefits of L-Arginine for Males

Besides potentially helping build muscle and burn fat, there have been many other documented benefits of L-arginine for males, most notably as a treatment for ED. In addition to triggering protein synthesis, a known action of L-arginine is that it stimulates the release of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide, or NO, opens blood vessels and is necessary for getting and maintaining an erection. Increased NO release is exactly how ED drugs like Viagra work. There have been studies that have found that L-arginine could produce similar effects. 

Because it can open blood vessels and improve blood flow, L-arginine not only may be able to help sexual function, but that same effect can potentially lower your risk of heart disease. A 2019 meta-analysis concluded that L-arginine could be useful in preventing heart disease due that is due to clogged arteries or narrowed blood vessels.

ED and heart disease are closely related to hypertension or high blood pressure, so it should not surprise you to hear that there have also been studies that support taking L-arginine to help men lower or better control their blood pressure. 

Other potential benefits of L-arginine supplementation for males that have been cited include potentially lowering the risk of type 2 diabetes and treating certain inherited urinary complications. It has also been suggested that it can help heal wounds faster and help combat feelings of depression or anxiety; however, more research is needed to be done to validate such claims.

Potential Side Effects

Since L-arginine is one of the many amino acids naturally produced by your body, it is basically well-tolerated with few side effects. Most of the side effects of L-arginine occur when it is taken in very high doses, and these usually involve gastrointestinal issues such as:

  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Gas 
  • Diarrhea
  • Stomach pain 

Side effects of L-arginine in males

L-Arginine Supplements Options

L-arginine is almost always taken as an oral supplement, but it is also available as a topical cream or gel. 

How to Use L-Arginine

How much L-arginine a man should take each depends really depends on what is our primary purpose in taking it and other factors such as age, weight, and overall health. 

A 2018 study of nearly 150 participants concluded that 30g per day of L-arginine is a safe and effective daily dose for most adults. Participants in the study tolerated 15–30 g with few, if any, adverse effects.

There are some food sources of L-arginine, but it can be difficult to get enough to achieve the kinds of L-arginine benefits for males mentioned in these studies. Therefore, to achieve maximum benefits, particularly for building muscle or for sexual performance, supplementing with 15 – 30 grams per day of L-arginine is recommended. 


L-arginine has many benefits for males and few side effects. For men who are trying to stay fit and maintain optimal health and a competitive edge — from the bedroom to the boardroom — supplementation with L-arginine should be part of your daily fitness regimen.

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