L-arginine contributes to several different bodily functions, including healing wounds, dilating and relaxing arteries, maintaining hormone and immune function and helping kidneys eliminate waste from the body. L-arginine has become a popular nutritional supplement because of its potential benefits for the heart, notes WebMD.
Inside the body, arginine is an amino acid that turns into nitric oxide. This is a strong neurotransmitter that assists blood vessels with relaxation, improving circulation at the same time. Some evidence indicates that arginine also facilitates improved blood flow in the arteries inside the heart. This could improve cases of clogged arteries, angina and coronary artery disease. Research is still lacking on the benefits of long-term use of L-arginine supplements for heart health or cholesterol levels, though, as stated by WebMD.
Other potential benefits from the use of L-arginine include the easing of erectile dysfunction, as arginine helps blood flow increase by relaxing the arteries. Reduced blood pressure and improved stamina for walking in patients who suffer from intermittent claudication, a condition involving intermittent cramps and weakness in the legs, but additional study is needed to verify that claim. L-arginine is not necessarily helpful all the time, as a 2006 study concluded that arginine may actually have been harmful in the treatment of heart attacks along with conventional treatment, according to WebMD.