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Home Learn Learn About Arginine in 5 Minutes


Home Learn Learn About Arginine in 5 Minutes

Learn About Arginine in 5 Minutes

Table of contents

What is arginine?

Arginine, also called l-arginine, is an amino acid that is naturally produced in the human body and is available in a variety of foods. Your body uses this amino acid to make proteins, and research indicates that ingesting additional arginine in supplement form may improve immunity, boost sexual health, prevent heart disease, improve exercise performance and promote proper blood pressure regulation. Arginine has also been identified as a potential indirect antioxidant, which means that it may improve your health and well-being all across the board.

Is arginine water-soluble or fat-soluble?

Arginine is considered to be highly soluble in water, so it absorbs into your body quickly and with high bioavailability.

Where can arginine be found naturally? Common sources of arginine:

  • Meat: All forms of meat contain high concentrations of arginine.
  • Dairy: Products derived from cow milk and other forms of animal milk are high in arginine.
  • Vegan sources: Arginine is also present in soy, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, and a variety of plant sources. The arginine Feel uses is from a vegan source.

What is the recommended daily value for arginine?

Since your body naturally produces arginine, there is no nutrient reference value (NRV) for this substance. However, daily doses of up to 1200mg of arginine have been shown to be useful in clinical trials.

Can you absorb enough arginine from food?

While arginine is relatively abundant in meat and dairy products, it can be harder for vegans to get enough of this amino acid in food.

Why is arginine necessary for your body?

Your body uses arginine to produce a broad variety of essential proteins. Some of these proteins regulate your immune system while others assist with wound healing or the regulation of blood flow throughout your body. According to a large body of both laboratory and clinical scientific research, it appears that exogenous (supplemental) arginine may boost your body’s ability to perform the same functions for which it uses endogenous (body-generated) arginine. 

Functions of arginine

  • Potential immune benefits: Your body appears to use arginine to regulate immune function. 
  • Potential sexual health benefits: Multiple clinical studies indicate that arginine could help with erectile dysfunction by improving blood flow. Limited clinical studies and abundant evidence also suggest that arginine may improve sexual drive in women.
  • Potential cardiovascular benefits: Clinical evidence suggests that arginine might improve blood flow and reduce blood pressure, which means this amino acid may prevent common cardiovascular conditions such as coronary artery disease and stroke.
  • Potential exercise performance benefits: Clinical evidence suggests that arginine may improve athletic performance by increasing the levels of nitric oxide in your body, a compound which improves oxygenation in your muscles.
  • Potential recovery benefits: Arginine may prevent infection and improve wound healing time when you’ve been injured or undergone surgery, and taking this amino acid can also be beneficial when your body’s arginine levels have been depleted due to disease.
  • Potential metabolic benefits: Clinical and laboratory studies indicate that arginine may increase insulin sensitivity and improve glucose metabolism, which means this amino acid may be useful in the prevention and treatment of diabetes.

When should you take arginine?

Since arginine may boost your immunity, taking this amino acid as a supplement could improve your body’s ability to defend itself against infectious disease. Arginine also appears to perform such a wide range of beneficial functions that taking arginine as a daily supplement is a smart choice whether you want to use this substance for one of the purposes listed above or just to generally improve your health.

How long do you need to take arginine to start experiencing its benefits?

As a water-soluble substance, arginine will absorb into your tissues rapidly. You may need to take arginine repeatedly over the course of several days, however, to start noting its full benefits.

How long does it take for your body to digest/absorb arginine?

Your body should fully absorb any arginine you ingest within approximately 24 hours.

How long does arginine stay in your body after you take it?

Your body rapidly uses arginine to form proteins, so it does not remain in amino acid form for very long after it is ingested.

Is arginine an antioxidant?

Some evidence suggests that arginine may operate as an indirect antioxidant by boosting the effects of other antioxidants in your body.

Can you overdose on arginine? What are the effects?

When taken in large doses, arginine can interfere with essential bodily processes, and in severe cases, these negative effects can become fatal.

Does arginine dissolve, flush out, or build up in the body?

Your body dissolves arginine to form proteins, which are then used for various bodily functions.

Can you take arginine during a diet?

The arginine Feel uses is vegan, so you can consume it regardless of your dietary restrictions.

Are there synthetic forms of arginine?

Various efforts have been made to synthesise arginine via fermentation and other methods. At present, however, it does not appear that any synthesised forms of arginine have made their way into the consumer market.

Absorption rate of synthetic arginine

The limited number of synthetic arginine studies that have been published do not provide any indication regarding the potential bioavailability of this artificially synthesised amino acid.

Why might natural forms of arginine be better?

Natural arginine is currently the only form of this amino acid supplement available on the market.

How to take arginine

Arginine can be consumed in most foods that contain protein, and this amino acid is also available in supplement form.

Arginine trends in medicine

In 2020, a study published by an international team of scientists indicated that therapy with arginine may reverse the symptoms of atherosclerosis, a cardiovascular condition that occurs when arteries narrow due to the presence of plaque. Also in 2020, a laboratory study put forth evidence that arginine may reduce airway infections, which means that this amino acid could be useful for both bacterial and viral pulmonary infections.


1. Impact of l-Arginine Metabolism on Immune Response and Anticancer Immunotherapy

2. The Effects of Yohimbine Plus L-arginine Glutamate on Sexual Arousal in Postmenopausal Women with Sexual Arousal Disorder

3. L-arginine as Dietary Supplement for Improving Microvascular Function

4. Therapeutic Benefits of l-Arginine: An Umbrella Review of Meta-analyses

5. The Effect of L-Arginine Supplementation on Body Composition and Performance in Male Athletes: A Double-Blinded Randomized Clinical Trial

6. Role of Arginine and Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Wound Healing and Infection

7. When Is It Appropriate to Use Arginine in Critical Illness?

8. L-Arginine Modulates Glucose and Lipid Metabolism in Obesity and Diabetes

9. Macrophage Metabolism of Apoptotic Cell-Derived Arginine Promotes Continual Efferocytosis and Resolution of Injury

10. Arginine metabolic control of airway inflammation

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About the author
Katie Hipwell - Katie is an AfN Registered Nutritionist (RNutr) with a specialism in food and is Head of Nutrition at Feel. Katie has worked in the food supplement industry for 10 years. She has completed a Master's degree in Human Nutrition and an undergraduate degree in BSc Sport and Exercise Nutrition.
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