This information describes the common uses of Arginine, how it works, and its possible side effects.

Common Name


How It Works

Arginine has not been shown to prevent or treat cancer in humans.

Arginine is an amino acid that is produced by the body. It has been used for various conditions such as high blood pressure, heart conditions, migraines, and erectile dysfunction. Arginine has also been shown in some studies to enhance wound healing, immune function, and athletic performance.

Arginine supplementation has been studied in cancer patients. Some studies show that arginine-enriched nutritional formulas taken around the time of surgery may improve wound healing, enhance immune status, and reduce length of hospital stay.

Purported Uses

  • Angina
    Studies support the benefits of arginine for angina.
  • Hardening of blood vessel walls
    A few studies have shown that arginine may be effective for atherosclerosis.
  • Wound healing
    This use is supported by evidence from clinical trials.
  • Immune stimulation
    Arginine given in high doses may improve immune function cancer patients.
  • Erectile dysfunction
    Arginine has been shown in clinical trials to help improve sexual function in men.
  • Migraine headache
    When taken with ibuprofen, arginine increased pain relief in patients with migraine headaches.

Patient Warnings

  • Some evidence suggests an increase in breast tumor growth after taking arginine supplements, but more studies are needed to confirm this.
  • Long-term arginine supplementation in patients with peripheral artery disease may be harmful.

Do Not Take If

  • If you are taking medicine for high blood pressure, heart conditions, or erectile dysfunction: Arginine may have additive blood pressure lowering effects.

Side Effects

  • Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Large doses of arginine can increase excretion of lysine in urine.