Maintaining optimal or even adequate testosterone levels is one of the best things you can do for your health. Though it is far more crucial for men than women, both sexes nevertheless need to maintain a certain amount.
It plays a key role in sexual drive and libido, energy, physical strength and muscular development, and immune health, among other things. For men, it brings about sexual development and is central to long term health and physical and mental wellbeing. It helps to maintain healthy bone and muscle mass, regulate fat storage and use, produce red blood cells, and maintain sexual function.
We can raise our testosterone naturally using certain vitamins, minerals, herbs and supplements. Plenty of people tout the amino acid l-arginine as a great natural testosterone booster, though the evidence for its efficacy is inconclusive. Today, we are going to look to answer the question to the best we can – ‘does l-arginine increase testosterone?
Most women will have adequate testosterone levels. These will be quite low, which is all that is needed. However, plenty of men suffer with low testosterone. Men’s levels peak in early adulthood, so around the early to mid twenties. Then they begin to diminish – men end up losing about 1% of their natural testosterone levels year on year after about the age of thirty.
More drastic drops in testosterone can lead to clinically low testosterone levels, which will have a lot of negative effects on your health and wellbeing. Around 2% of men have low testosterone. However, plenty more have suboptimal levels – they could improve their naturally occurring levels, benefitting greatly as they do so.
Low testosterone can lead to conditions like decreased libido and erectile dysfunction (ED), increased levels of body fat and a loss in muscle mass, or inability to build new muscle mass, reduced bone density, fatigue, gynecomastia, or swelling of the breast tissue, and often a loss of body hair. You might find yourself becoming anaemic, with low red blood cell counts, and you may experience fertility issues.
Low testosterone levels can also greatly harm your mental wellbeing, bringing about low mood, anxiety, irritability and depression, as well as difficulty with focus, concentration, drive, and memory.
Low testosterone can be caused by a few things. Most often, it will be as a result of some form of health condition or drug use. Certain medications can diminish testosterone levels, as can excessive alcohol consumption and illicit drug use.
However, there are plenty of vitamins, herbs, and supplements that can help to raise your testosterone. These are good for anybody looking to optimize their health, energy levels and athletic capabilities.
L-Arginine and Supplementation
If you have low testosterone, you may need some form of testosterone replacement therapy. This will be something like an injection, gel or implant. They will add exogenous testosterone to your body.
Herbs and supplements, however, work to stimulate your body into naturally producing more of its own, endogenous testosterone. They are perfect for anybody looking to spike their levels a little, with no side effects, to make use of the many health benefits of maintaining optimal testosterone levels.
Few supplements have been studied rigorously, at least not in human subjects. There is a lot of conflicting data as to their efficacy. This is where we find l-arginine – many people tout it as a great testosterone booster, whilst the scientific community remains unsure.
What is L-Arginine?
L-arginine is a naturally occurring amino acid produced in the human body. The body uses it to increase blood flow, which is where most of its purported efficacy lies. It is also found in animal food products like red meat, dairy, poultry, and fish.
In the body, l-arginine is converted into nitric oxide. This nitric oxide opens blood vessels wider, thus causing improved blood flow and nutrient transportation.
Some animal models have suggested that l-arginine supplementation may help to increase testosterone levels. However, no human trial data validates this claim. It is also thought that l-arginine doesn’t directly raise testosterone levels. Rather, the increased blood flow it brings about can lead to greater energy levels, especially cognitive energy levels, whilst treating ED.
L-arginine can also raise levels of growth hormone, which should lead to improved muscle mass. As low testosterone levels can result in impaired muscle growth, this too can be very useful.
Thus, it doesn’t so much raise testosterone as help to mitigate some of the symptoms of low testosterone. This is still very useful, but it doesn’t represent a reliable testosterone boost as most people would want it to.
There is also no agreed-upon correct dose for l-arginine for ED. If you are looking at trying it out, it may take a little experimentation. Talk to your healthcare provider before you begin taking it and always follow their advice.
What Is L-Arginine Good For?
L-arginine can be a great ally in tackling certain medical conditions. People use it generally to improve blood flow. Therefore, it is a good supplementary treatment for things like chest pain and high blood pressure (especially during pregnancy).
It is generally agreed that l-arginine is potentially effective for:
- Sexual performance: A daily dose of between 2.5 and 5 grams of l-arginine can improve sexual performance and sensitivity. It can help to improve sexual function in those experiencing ED, supplementing prescription medication.
- Angina, or chest pain: L-arginine can mitigate symptoms of angina whilst improving quality of life and exercise tolerance. However, angina is accompanied by a narrowing of the blood vessels, which l-arginine has been shown unable to reverse.
- High blood pressure: Daily doses of l-arginine can lower blood pressure. It can do this across the board, both for those with healthy and high blood pressure, and for diabetics and non-diabetics alike.
- Peripheral arterial disease: Oral or IV doses of l-arginine can improve blood flow to the limbs. This is actually great for anyone, improving circulation and athletic performance. However, it is particularly useful for those suffering with peripheral arterial disease, or a narrowing of the blood vessels that restricts blood flow to the extremities.
As you can see, l-arginine has some very definite benefits. It has some medical uses, is generally quite safe to use, and can work wonders for some. It can help to lower blood pressure, which is always good. It can also be used to mitigate the effects of low testosterone levels, potentially easing symptoms of ED whilst enabling for higher growth hormone creation.
However, it doesn’t actually increase testosterone levels.
Moreover, there are some side effects to be wary of.
These include nausea, abdominal pain and diarrhoea, bloating, gout, airway inflammation, worsening asthma symptoms, headaches, and triggering allergy responses.
It probably isn’t safe for those who have ongoing heart issues, such as recent heart attack or stroke, as it has been linked with an increased risk of death.
Should You Take L-Arginine As A Supplement?
If you suffer with any of the above symptoms which l-arginine is known to be good for – angina, high blood pressure, ED – then by all means take l-arginine. Consult your doctor first, especially if you are on an existing course of treatment. However, it should be of help.
L-arginine shouldn’t be taken on its own purely for raising testosterone levels. As above, it can help to offset some of the effects of low testosterone. It likely won’t raise your testosterone levels – there is a great dearth in scientific evidence regards its efficacy in this regard.
Many testosterone supplements make use of it. This makes sense. As other ingredients in their formulas work to boost testosterone levels, the l-arginine they include will ease ED and potentially help you to grow a little more muscle.
However, plenty of testosterone supplements forego its use entirely. Why attack the side effects when you can treat the root cause, after all? Lots of all-natural testosterone boosters rely on a stable of far more effective, far more scientifically valid ingredients to achieve their ends.
For example, TestoPrime a favorite supplement of mine, has a great formula for naturally optimizing testosterone levels and is completely free from l-arginine – without losing any potency at all.
TestoPrime is good for any adult, especially those suffering the effects of low testosterone. It will, of course, be far more effective for men, but will be equally good for women. It should help to raise your natural levels of testosterone. In this way, TestoPrime should give you a good range of benefits, from improved energy levels, improved sleep quality, greater athletic capability and body composition (more muscle, less fat, in short) and improved overall health, including immune function and lower blood pressure.
As with all such natural supplements, you don’t need any kind of prescription to take TestoPrime – it is readily available to purchase from their website. Nevertheless, if you are struggling with any of the symptoms of low blood pressure, you should consult with your doctor. They can screen for any underlying health conditions and may want to undertake medical treatment for low testosterone in conjunction with your supplementation.
Luckily, plenty of physicians have backed TestoPrime – it is a natural yet potent way to optimize your testosterone levels. It uses ashwagandha, D-aspartic acid, ginseng, fenugreek, green tea, b and d vitamins, zinc, and bioperine to achieve this – all far more potent, useful, proven, and relevant ingredients than l-arginine.
Written by Kate Harrison
Kate is one of our nutrition experts at PathMed and is also one of our in-house writers. There is little that gets past Kate when it comes to nutrition and she has a wealth of experience when it comes to fat loss and supplementation around losing weight. She is thorough in her research and is a real advocate for living a healthy lifestyle.