Testosterone is very important for male health, but unfortunately, our bodies tend to get worse at making it as we get older. After 35, men tend to experience a drop off in total testosterone production by about 1% per year. This can be even worse if you have a lifestyle that negatively impacts testosterone production, which a lot of us do.
Due to these factors, many people are searching for ways to counteract this effect of old age and suboptimal lifestyle, and one of the substances that are often mentioned as a solution is L-Arginine. Let’s see if the rumors are true, shall we?
What is L-Arginine?
Arginine is an amino acid that is classified as semi-essential since our bodies can produce a small amount of the substance, and the rest needs to be introduced through proper dieting.
The benefits of L-arginine are still under investigation, but so far, we can claim that it can help regulate blood pressure, treat erectile dysfunction, and reduce symptoms of PAD and angina. We advise that you don’t combine it with pressure medicine without prior consultation with your doctor.
Another positive effect that L-arginine has is its ability to regulate sleep. This is because it’s a precursor of Nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is known to relax blood vessels, causing smoother performance of the endothelium cells while also promoting neural firing. All of this helps our bodies clock out and have some well-deserved rest.
Keep in mind that the acid needs at least 24 hours to be dissolved and absorbed by the body. L-arginine supplementation is in full effect after two or three months of continuous use, so don’t get too concerned if you don’t get the desired effects as soon as you start using it.
What is its connection to exercise and testosterone?
In fitness circles, L-arginine is considered a great supplement for those seeking to raise their muscle mass and testosterone levels. The facts that this substance promotes protein production, which helps with muscle growth and recovery but also promotes the release of the growth hormone and encourages better fat metabolization, are all legit reasons for athletes to add it to their supplements. On top of that, it is known that L-arginine also improves athletic performance aerobically and anaerobically.
When it comes to testosterone, we’ve heard a lot of anecdotal confirmations of its effects on testosterone. Apparently, L-arginine is supposed to promote the production of testosterone, but the medical research community has been relatively silent on the matter.
Are there any studies to support this?
Studies focused on L-arginine’s effects on testosterone are few and far between. A study by Xiao Jia et al. from 2020 shows that L-arginine can help induce improved Luteinizing Hormone production in mice, expression of steroidogenesis genes, and better performance of the testicular antioxidant system. Luteinizing Hormone is directly responsible for the promotion of testosterone production, which is great—for mice.
Unfortunately, we are yet to find a study that can confirm the same effects in human trials. This makes this supplement a bit problematic, but if you are aiming to use it to improve your physical strength and appearance through exercise, the other effects of L-arginine have been confirmed and go well with your plan, and proper exercise will help you improve your testosterone levels.
If it boosts testosterone, great—if not, it helps with other things.
What foods contain L-Arginine?
Due to the fact that it can be found in many common foods, L-Arginine doesn’t necessarily need to come in the form of a supplement. Take a look at our list of foods that contain L-Arginine and see if you are missing out on it in your current diet:
If your diet doesn’t contain any of these foods, you might want to consider either changing your diet or simply supplementing your current diet with L-arginine. There are a couple of ways that you can take this supplement, the most common one being pills or capsules. A bit less common is through intravenous injections performed by a certified medical practitioner. Either way, we advise consulting your doctor before you start supplementation.
Can L-Arginine cause any side effects?
This is the primary reason why we advise talking to a medical professional before you start L-Arginine supplementation.
Known side effects of this substance include dizziness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and bloating. If you are allergic, depending on the severity of your allergy, you can get reactions in the form of hives, itching, and rashes all the way up to obstructed breathing, tightness in the chest area, and even heart failure. If you experience any of these, you should get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
Finally, contraindications with medication that lowers blood pressure are possible, as L-Arginine is a known vasodilator (meaning it widens our blood vessels), and combining the two can lead to your blood pressure being too low.
Another group of people that shouldn’t be using L-Arginine are those that have asthma, as airway inflammation can trigger severe symptoms.
Even though L-Arginine is generally good for you and your body produces some of it by itself, it still hasn’t been 100% confirmed to raise testosterone levels. It does, however, have a bunch of other positive effects on our bodies and may help with your exercise efforts, which are known to raise testosterone levels. So if you see it on a list of ingredients of testosterone booster, don’t look at it as being obsolete.