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Other name(s):

a-amino-d-guanidino-n-valeric acid

Unsubstantiated claims

Please note that this section reports on claims that have yet been substantiated through scientific studies.

Arginine is claimed to improve fertility in men. It does this by increasing sperm count. It may also help stimulate the output of human growth hormone (HGH). Plus, it may increase collagen in connective tissue (found in every organ in the body).

Arginine may help reduce fatigue and increase muscle mass. It may also help wounds heal. It may also help treat diabetes and liver disease.

There are some indications that arginine may help fight cancer. It may also aid in treating HIV and AIDS.

Recommended intake

Amino acids (AAs) are available as individual AAs or in AA combinations. They also come as part of multi-vitamins, proteins, and food supplements. The forms include tablets, fluids, and powders.

Note that by eating enough protein in your diet, you get all of the amino acids you need.

There are no conditions that increase the requirements for arginine. However, newborns have higher requirements than adults.

Side effects, toxicity, and interactions

Using a single amino acid supplement may lead to negative nitrogen balance. This can decrease how efficient your metabolism is. It can also make your kidneys work harder. In children, taking single amino acid supplements may also cause growth problems.

You should not take high doses of individual amino acids for long periods of time.

If you have diabetes, liver or kidney problems, or an electrolyte imbalance, talk to your healthcare provider before using arginine. It may cause high potassium levels in your blood. This can be life-threatening.

The following people should not use arginine supplements:

  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding

  • Children and teens

  • People with an active herpes infection


Online Medical Reviewer: Poulson, Brittany, RD
Online Medical Reviewer: Wilkins, Joanna, R.D., C.D.
Date Last Reviewed: 7/1/2016