L-Arginine Side Effects, Risks, and InteractionsConsult your doctor if you have any concerns and be mindful of these side effects!
Most people taking L-arginine have little to no side effects. Using L-arginine—both orally and topically—is generally considered safe.
Consuming L-arginine from natural food sources isn’t harmful. However, unnaturally high doses from supplements may cause problems.
Possible side effects of L-arginine include:
- abdominal pain
- allergic reactions
- asthma symptoms
- worsened allergies or asthma
- airway inflammation
- low blood pressure
- changes to glucose and blood chemical levels
- recurrence of symptoms associated with herpes simplex virus
Risks of L-Arginine
There are risks for taking L-arginine supplements if you have any of these medical conditions:
- liver problems
- kidney problems
- low blood pressure
- sickle cell disease,
- bleeding disorders
- heart problems
- recent heart attacks (taking L-arginine after a heart attack may kill you)
- herpes (L-arginine may make herpes worse. There is some evidence that suggests that the herpes virus needs L-arginine to multiply.)
- recent surgery (L-arginine may interfere with blood pressure control both during and after surgery. Stop taking L-arginine at least 2 weeks before surgery.)
If you have or have had any of those medical conditions then do not take L-arginine without talking to your doctor first!
L-arginine may interact and interfere with medicines or supplements. Talk to your doctor before taking L-arginine if you’re taking medication or supplements regularly.
Potential medication interactions wiith L-arginine include:
- birth control medicines
- hormone therapy drugs
- blood thinners
- anti-platelet drugs
- erectile dysfunction medicines
- heartburn medicines
- high blood pressure medicines such as captopril, enalapril, losartan, valsartan, diltiazem, amlodipine, hydrochlorothiazide, and furosemide
- diabetes medicines (L-arginine may decrease blood sugar levels in people with diabetes)
- Isoproterenol (L-arginine might cause your blood pressure to become too low if you’re taking Isoproterenol)
- Nitrates (L-arginine might cause your blood pressure to become too low if you’re taking Nitrates)
Potential supplement interactions with L-arginine include:
- ginkgo biloba
- Asian ginseng
Do not take these drugs with L-arginine:
- amiloride (Midamor)
- spironolactone (Aldactone)
- triamterene (Dyrenium)
These drugs may interact with L-arginine to increase potassium levels. This increases the risk of developing hyperkalemia.
Do not take Sildenafil (Viagra) with L-arginine either because it may make your blood pressure drop too low.
L-Arginine for Children, Pregnant Women, & Breastfeeding Women
L-arginine should not be taken by children, by women who are pregnant, or by women who are breastfeeding without a doctor’s approval.
Some people suggest that L-arginine may be be safe in children and pregnant women. However, there isn’t much research on children and pregnant women so I wouldn’t use it in those scenarios (just to be on the safe side).
Sometimes, L-arginine is used to treat premature babies. Some children have died from high doses of L-arginine. Definitely talk to a doctor first.
People with Guanidinoacetate Methyltransferase Deficiency
People with Guanidinoacetate methyltransferase deficiency cannot convert arginine into creatine. This could cause problems.