One of the most well-researched nutritional supplements with a sexual-promoting effect is L-Arginine, an essential amino acid (meaning that it can’t be produced by our own body). It is effective in both sexes and it has a proven safety profile.
People avoid discussing their sex lives, especially when something isn’t right with it, however, research shows that almost one third of the male and a little less than half of the female population suffer from some form of sexual dysfunction.
As a term, it refers to the failure of enjoying sex fully and it affects both sexes; in women, it usually emerges as a decrease of sexual drive (libido), often combined with a hard time of even failure to reaching orgasm, whereas men deal with what is known scientifically as erectile dysfunction or, in plain words, impotence.
L-Arginine acts as a nitric oxide (NO) donor in the body. During the 90’s, it was found that NO played a crucial role in healthy sexual functioning men and women, besides helping to maintain blood vessels in good order. If you take away L-Arginine from the process, you take out NO; absence of NO results in erectile dysfunction.
L-Arginine’s Mechanism of Action
Impaired blood circulation is the main cause of male erectile dysfunction. L-Arginine increases blood flow to the genitals by relaxing the smooth muscle fibers in the walls of blood vessels, which become dilated. More blood reaches the penis, resulting in bigger, harder and more frequent erections.
According to Dr. Jonathan Wright, an expert in Nutrition Science, NO is synthesized with the help of an enzyme called NO synthase (NOS). NOS exists in high concentrations in the nerve and muscle tissues inside and in close to proximity to the penis; what it does, is clip nitrogen (N) atoms from L-Arginine molecules, combines them with oxygen atoms (O) and forms NO.
L-Arginine Works in Women as well
Improved blood circulation renders the clitoris and the vagina more sensitive to sexual stimuli, thereby making orgasms easier to achieve. Female stimulation via L-Arginine isn’t as well studied as is its role in erectile dysfunction, however, there are examples in the literature that prove its action; for instance, it has been found that L-Arginine supplementation may benefit postmenopausal women in terms of sexual stimulation.
And it gets even better. Another study, conducted with women from all walks of life, discovered that more than 7 out of 10 reported better sexual function, in the form of increased desire, heightened clitoral stimulation, number of sexual contacts and orgasms, while at the same time they experienced decreased vaginal dryness, after 4 weeks of L-Arginine supplementation.
Improved Sexual desire, Increased Stamina
A common feature in feedback received from both sexes is that, L-Arginine positively affects their lust for sex, whereas some claim that, thanks to L-Arginine, they last longer and their orgasms are much more intense. In addition, there is data to suggest that L-Arginine may aid with infertility issues in men with decreased sperm count or impaired sperm activity.
L-Arginine has proven its value in the research field. In a randomized, blinded and controlled trial which compared NO levels between men who took either L-Arginine or a placebo pill for six weeks, about 31% in the L-Arginine group noticed a marked improvement in their sexual performance.
Notably, these men showed low baseline nitric oxide levels, but managed to double them, thanks to L-Arginine, by the end of the study period.
It shouldn’t be overlooked, though, that sexual dysfunction has many possible causative factors; aging, diabetes and other endocrine problems are some of them.
Consequently, L-Arginine may help only these men who experience sexual problems due to low baseline levels of NO. This became apparent in a study which explored the effectiveness of L-Arginine in men who had erectile dysfunction due to several reasons, and found that it helped only about 17% of them.
It goes without saying, however, that optimizing the levels of nitric oxide will maximize the erectile function of all those men whose sexual difficulties aren’t caused by an underlying pathological condition.
L-Arginine does a lot more than just aid in sex
As an essential amino acid, arginine is necessary to form new muscle, boost immune system performance, regulate blood pressure, increase cognition, but also help with tissue repair.
By providing nitric oxide, it’s role in various systems such as the cardiovascular and nervous systems has been backed by numerous studies.
To summarize, L-Arginine is fundamental for a large number of biological processes. It:
- Acts as a donor of nitric oxide (NO)
- Improves blood circulation
- Increases growth hormone levels
- Boosts immunity
- Speeds up wound healing
- Participates in the building process of bones and tendons
- Builds muscle while also helps reduce fat
- Can aid with male infertility issues by increasing sperm count and activity
- Inhibits blood clotting and decreases the risk of stroke
- Normalizes blood pressure
- Benefits people with angina by improving blood circulation
- May help with rehabilitation after a heart attack
- May prevent or slow down cardiovascular problems
- Helps inhibit the rate of tumor growth
Schedule and precautions
It has been reported that L-Arginine produces a sexual-promoting effect if taken around 45 minutes prior to intercourse. As for its adverse effects, there are only a few.
The only one worth mentioning concerns people with herpes: it is said that L-Arginine can have a deleterious effect by rendering herpes exacerbations more serious, although conflicting data also exist, suggesting that it may even reduce the chance of these exacerbations via its immune strengthening properties.
Supplementation with L-Arginine is an excellent option for those who want to enhance their sexual stimulations, as well as their general health. Compared to Viagra, this clinically proven supplement has the advantage of being natural, it can affect men and women alike and it’s much cheaper.