by, Nov 21, 2013
Arginine Side Effects
Arginine Side Effects
An amino acid that produces nitric oxide, arginine is gaining traction as an energy enhancing, heart-healthy supplement.
According to WebMD, nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels and improves circulation, especially in the heart. The increased blood flow and strength to the heart subsequently bolsters workouts.
But every ingredient comes with risks, and arginine is no exception.
Low Blood Pressure
After examining 11 randomized, double-blind studies, a group of experts concluded 4 g to 24 g arginine lowers systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
While arginine’s ability to widen blood vessels and improve circulation is generally regarded as a benefit, large quantities lower blood pressure to the point of harm.
Use with caution if you are already taking blood pressure medication or have naturally low blood pressure.
Asthma and Lung Inflammation
Asthma is a disease where the airway becomes inflamed, making it difficult to breathe. One of the key tests for asthma is excess nitric oxide production, which is produced as an inflammatory response.
According to experts, arginine has “subsequent effects on airway tone and inflammation.” The nitric oxide produced by arginine is believed to increase inflammatory response and aggravate existing breathing problems.
It is not encouraged for those with asthma or other breathing or lung diseases to take supplements containing arginine.
One benefit of arginine is its ability to convert waste in kidneys into urea, a secretion that breaks down nitrogen and ammonia. Gout occurs when uric acid forms crystals in joints and causes moderate to severe pain. With excess arginine, more uric acid is produced, triggering gout.
Cold Sores and Herpes
Arginine is a trigger for the herpes simplex virus and increases the risk for cold sores. In one clinical study, a lack of arginine suppressed herpes virus in tested tissue.
Additional Mild Side Effects
The following side effects have been reported repeatedly with arginine use but don’t pose a serious risk to health: headaches, abdominal pain, bloating, and diarrhea.
-  “Arginine Heart Benefits and Side Effects.” WebMD.
-  Dong, Jia-Yi, Li-Qiang Qin, Zengli Shang, Youyou Zhao, Junkuan Wang, Fabrizio Arigoni, and Weiguo Zhang. “Effect of Oral L-arginine Supplementation on Blood Pressure.” American Heart Journal (2011): n. pag. Web.
-  Arginine and Asthma.” Nestle Nutrition Institute.
-  “Uric Acid.” Gout & Uric Acid Education Society.
-  Griffith, Richard S., Donald C. DeLong, and Janet D. Nelson. “Relation of Arginine-Lysine Antagonism to Herpes Simplex Growth in Tissue Culture.” Chemotherapy 27.3 (1981): 209-13. Web.