What Are the Benefits of Arginine for Women?

B. Leslie Baird

One of the most important potential benefits of arginine for women is heart health. Arginine might help reduce blood pressure and improve circulation. Cardiovascular disease affects millions of people, which makes the study of arginine use valuable. Conclusive data was not available as of 2011, but side effects from long-term use are normally mild.

Arginine helps improve female heart health.
Arginine helps improve female heart health.

Arginine, also called L-arginine, is an amino acid. The body changes arginine into nitric oxide, a neurotransmitter, which seems to relax arteries. As of 2011, it was not known whether arginine is beneficial for cholesterol issues, but it does improve blood flow. An additional benefit of arginine for women is that it helps to maintain hormonal functions and might reduce sexual dysfunction.

The body produces arginine, and it is naturally found in poultry, grains, wheat germ and dairy products. These natural sources of arginine also have additional benefits. Dairy products provide the calcium that women need. Whole grains and poultry might help with weight maintenance. There is no recommended daily dosage of arginine, because it is produced by the body.

Arginine helps the kidneys remove waste, improves the ability to heal wounds and supports the immune system. It also has been shown to help improve some cases of muscle cramping in the legs. Proponents of arginine use believe that it can be beneficial in reducing the duration of colds and might reduce the severity of migraines. Limited studies have shown that arginine might also improve the conditions of senile dementia.

Health experts recommend against the use of arginine for women who have diabetes or who are using xylitol. The recommended dosages are 6 to 20 grams daily, divided into three doses, for treating congestive heart failure. For treating chest pains, 3 to 6 grams, taken three times per day, is the recommended dosage. This dosage should be taken for only one month.

There are potential side effects with arginine use. Users might experience diarrhea, bloating and abdominal pain. Arginine also might react with some prescription medications. Women who are on prescription medications, or those who are pregnant, should consult with a healthvare professional before taking any supplements.

Clinical trials have shown arginine to be reasonably safe for use for as long as three months. The drawbacks of arginine for women might include the worsening of asthmatic conditions. Supplement use should be avoided by patients who are already taking heart or blood pressure medication. Arginine should not be used to treat a heart attack or as a replacement for prescribed heart medications.

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Discussion Comments

aguirre

@turkay1: I would suggest that your friend thoroughly discuss this with a doctor. It may be fine, it may not be, but a doctor will provide the most reliable information.

fify

@turkay1-- It's not recommended by doctors because arginine can increase blood sugar and insulin resistance in the body.

Some people have tried it without doctor approval (which your friend is also doing I'm assuming) and the results are mixed. I've heard of people benefiting from it, but I've also heard of diabetics who had to stop taking it because their blood sugar went up considerably.

From a paper I read some months ago, I think arginine is less risky for Type 2 diabetes patients rather than Type 1. But again, nothing is conclusive and people seem to be reacting to it in different ways.

If your friend's blood sugar levels are not rising despite taking arginine, it may be working for her. I don't think this should be generalized for all diabetics though.

candyquilt

Why is arginine not recommended for women with diabetes?

I would like to know what the risks are because one of my best friends is using it right now despite being a diabetic and claims to have benefited from it.

She started taking it for heart health but she told me that she has noticed a decrease in her fasting glucose ever since she started. She stopped taking it for a while and apparently the blood glucose level shot back up.

She seems to be benefiting from arginine not just for heart health but for her diabetes as well. But if there are serious side effects associated with this supplement for diabetics, she needs to find out and stop taking it.

serenesurface

I heard on a TV show that arginine is also beneficial for people with blood circulation issues in their hands and feet.

I've had freezing hands and feet for years and doctors have never diagnosed anything other than suggesting that it might be due to poor blood circulation. My feet also swell and become bluish while traveling on planes, so I also feel that it's my circulation.

Has anyone used arginine for this or has seen an improvement in their circulation as a side effect?

I really want to try it, but I don't know how long I will need to take it for to see some results and whether that will be worth it.

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