Can L-Arginine and Ginseng Be Taken Together?

ginseng on the wood
Ginseng on a wood surface (Image: jackstudio/iStock/Getty Images)

L-arginine and ginseng are supplements sometimes taken to improve athletic performance. L-arginine is an amino acid that helps promote vasolidation, or widening of your blood vessels for improved blood flow. This may help deliver vital nutrients to your muscles more efficiently for increased athletic performance. Ginseng is an herb that proponents claim can boost immune system function, energy and athletic performance. It is safe to take these two supplements together. However, you should talk to your doctor before taking these or any supplement.

L-arginine

L-arginine is the supplemental form of arginine. It’s found naturally in foods such as meats, dairy products and seafood. L-arginine supplements are generally safe for most people when taken as prescribed, according to Medline Plus of the National Institutes of Health. Medline Plus also states L-arginine supplements in doses of up to 20 g per day may help treat congestive heart failure patients. In terms of athletic performance, the effectiveness of L-arginine varies from person to person.

Ginseng

Ginseng may help improve the benefits of L-arginine, according to Dwayne Jackson, Ph.D. and Jim Stoppani, Ph.D. of Muscle and Fitness. However, according to the University of California Berkely, clinical evidence of ginseng’s health benefits is largely inconclusive. Jackson and Stoppani suggest choosing American ginseng rather than Asian ginseng.

Combining

According to Stoppani and Jackson, L-arginine supplements don’t work well for everyone, but ginseng may help improve the results of the L-arginine. Their recommendation for those having trouble benefiting from L-arginine alone is taking 3 g to 7 g of arginine along with 100 mg to 200 mg of American ginseng on an empty stomach. Consume this supplement stack about 45 to 60 minutes before your workouts and optionally before you go to bed. Talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, including L-arginine and ginseng.

Risks/Safety

There are no known adverse reactions associated with combining L-arginine and ginseng supplements in moderation. However, consuming more than the recommended dosage of any supplement can lead to negative side effects. According to Medline Plus, L-arginine may negatively interact with Xylitol to hinder the pancreas’s production of glucagon. Also avoid L-arginine if you’re taking blood pressure medications, nitrates or medications treating erectile dysfunction. Consult your doctor before trying L-arginine or ginseng supplements.

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