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Sexual Supplement: L-Arginine
May 01, 2013

L-arginine is an essential amino acid that can be good for both heart health and erectile issues, says Dr. Brahmbhatt.

In fact, a new study in the journal Andrology found that patients with severe or complete erectile dysfunction had L-arginine levels that were significantly lower than that of men with milder forms of ED. L-arginine might help trigger the production of nitric oxide, a compound important in getting and maintaining erections.

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According to Mayo Clinic, arginine is found in most protein-rich foods like red meat, poultry, beans, and dairy products. The Mayo Clinic has marked it as generally safe, but cautions people who take blood pressure meds to talk to a doctor first.

This is good advice for any supplements if you’re on blood pressure medications, Dr. Brahmbhatt says. That’s because something like L-arginine can reduce your blood pressure—which is great if it’s a bit too high, but not if you’re already bringing it down with meds. In that case, you may see a sudden and dramatic drop in pressure that could cause you to faint, or in extreme cases, have a stroke.

If you’re not on those meds and want to try the amino acid, you can try taking the supplement. Start at a dose of about 6 grams a day. Dr. Brahmbhatt says. The supplement can cause side effects like nausea, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and bloating.