Evidence doesn’t suggest that l-arginine affects testosterone. In fact, this amino acid doesn’t appear to have much of an impact on hormones levels at all. The confusion likely lies in its use for treating erectile dysfunction. But the benefit of l-arginine for this purpose has nothing to do with hormones. Talk to your doctor before taking this or any other dietary supplement for the treatment of low testosterone.
When taken in combination with glutamate and yohimbine, l-arginine might improve erectile dysfunction, notes MayoClinic.com. Its potential benefit, however, does not involve increasing testosterone levels. Instead, this supplement may increase nitrates in the blood, which could help reverse erectile dysfunction in men with low nitrate levels. Additional research is needed to determine if l-arginine alone can improve this condition.
While l-arginine is generally considered safe, it can lead to side effects. For some, this supplement causes nausea, diarrhea, bloating, hives, rash, fatigue, weakness and increased inflammatory response. It’s also been known to cause numbness, restlessness, lower back pain and vertigo. If you have heart disease, l-arginine may increase blood pressure and the risk of post–heart attack death. Talk to your doctor before taking l-arginine for any purpose.
Rather than relying on a dietary supplement to improve testosterone levels, talk to your doctor. Medical professionals not only can prescribe the appropriate form of treatment, but also determine the exact cause of a drop in testosterone. For many men, it’s often a result of age. As you get older, your testosterone level naturally declines. Low testosterone may also be linked to testicular cancer, inflammation of the testicles and direct trauma to the testicles. It may even be a side effect of chemotherapy or radiation therapy.
Although a portion of your treatment is based on the cause of low testosterone, most men respond favorably to hormone replacement therapy. Hormone replacement therapy can help replace the loss of testosterone and improve symptoms of the condition, such as low libido, erectile dysfunction, depression, fatigue and muscle loss. You may also notice a return of former strength and improvements in bone density. Your doctor can prescribe the appropriate form of hormone replacement therapy to best suit your needs, but it usually involves pills, injections or patches.
- MayoClinic.com; Arginine; August 2011
- Drugs.com: L-Arginine
- National Institutes of Health; Low Testosterone; April 2009
- “International Journal of Sports Nutrition”; Failure of Commercial Oral Amino Acid Supplements to Increase Serum Growth Hormone Concentrations in Male Body-Builders; M.I. Lambert, et al.; September 1993
- MayoClinic.com; Arginine: Evidence; August 2011