Studies show that male and female fertility can be enhanced with l-arginine supplementation. This amino acid is needed to perform a range of functions within the body and is particularly important for the circularity system.
As the precursor to nitric oxide (NO), l-arginine is essential for enhancing blood flow throughout the body. This supports strong erections and a healthy environment in the uterus for embryo implantation.
Several studies have confirmed that regularly taking l-arginine supplements will improve sperm development. Initial research in the early 1970’s showed that l-arginine supplementation increases ejaculate volume, boosts sperm count, and enhances motility1. The l-arginine dosage administered to subjects in these studies ranged from 4g to 8g daily.
New research in the mid-1990’s investigated in more detail the effects of l-arginine on sperm. Aydin and colleagues treated 45 male patients with low sperm count (oligospermia) and poor mobility (asthenospermia) with either l-arginine, indomethacin (a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug) or kallikrein (an enzyme that support sperm motility).
At the end of the three month study period, l-arginine showed the most promise for treating asthenospermia and oligospermia2.
A study by Scibona and colleagues achieved similar results. 40 infertile men with decreased sperm motility were administered 80 ml of 10% l-arginine HCL daily for six months during this clinical trial. As a result, researchers found that arginine improved spermatozoa motility without any side effects3.
One of the reasons why l-arginine is so important for healthy sperm is because it’s essential for the production of putrescine, spermidine and spermine. These polyamines (forms of amino acids) are important for initiating the spermatic motility processes4. Spermine supports strong motility, it also helps to stabilise and preserve DNA. Another role of spermine is to assist with cell division, helping to increase ejaculate volume. Spermine is therefore particularly important for male fertility!
L-arginine-derived NO is essential for regulating blood flow (vascularity). Fertility specialists recommend l-arginine supplementation in the treatment of erectile dysfunction to support a healthy blood flow to the penis.
In 2003, Stanislavov and Nikolove demonstrated a strong connection between arginine and extracts from the bark of the maritime pine tree (Pinus pinaster), commercially available as pycnogenol. Their research concluded that l-arginine is more effective at treating erectile dysfunction when it is administered together with pycnogenol8.
Recent studies have therefore shown that Pine Bark Extract can enhance the effectiveness of l-arginine in the production of NO.
Further studies have shown that pycnogenol helps to reduce oxidative stress, which can improve overall heath and fertility9.
Healthy l-arginine concentrations also support female fertility. This not as widely documented or studied. Arginine fertility benefits are caused by better blood circulation to the genitals, uterus, and ovaries.
There are many l-arginine rich foods such as seafood, soy-based products (tofu), spinach, sesame seeds, turkey, pork, beef, and dairy. If you eat a healthy diet, you should be receiving enough arginine. There are consequently many supplements in the market containing arginine to help boost levels.
“Schachter, J. et. al. (1973) Treatment of oligospermia with the amino acid arginine. Journal of Urology, Volume 110, (pp. 311-13).” ↩
“Aydin, S. et. al. (1995). The role of arginine, indomethacin and kallikrein in the treatment of oligoasthenospermia, International Urology and Nephrology, Volume 27, Issue 2, (pp.199-202).” ↩
“Scibona, M. et. al. (1994). L-arginine and male fertility, The Italian Journal of Urology and Nephrology, Volume 46, Issue 4, (pp.251-3).” ↩
“Mendez, J. and Hernandez, M. (1993). Effect of L-arginine and polyamines on sperm motility, Mexican Journal of Obstetrics, Volume 61 (pp.229-34).” ↩
“Klotz, T. et. al. (1999). Effectiveness of oral L-arginine in first-line treatment of erectile dysfunction in a controlled crossover study, Urologia Internationalis, Volume 63, Issue 4, (pp.220-3).”. ↩
“Chen, J. et. al. (1999). Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study, BJU International, Volume 83, Issue 3, (pp. 269-73).” ↩
“Zorgniotti, A. and Lizza, A. (1994). Effect of large doses of the nitric oxide precursor, L-arginine, on erectile dysfunction, International Journal of Impotence Research, Volume 6, Issue 1 (pp.33-5).” ↩
“Stanislavov, R. and Nikolova, V. (2003). Treatment of erectile dysfunction with pycnogenol and L-arginine, Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, Volume 29, Issue 3, (pp. 207-13.).’ ↩
“Enseleit, F. et. al. (2012) Effects of Pycnogenol on endothelial function in patients with stable coronary artery disease: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, cross-over study, European Heart Journal, Volume 33, Issue 13, (pp. 1589-97).” ↩
“Battaglia, C. et.al. (1999). Adjuvant L-arginine treatment for in-vitro fertilization in poor responder patients, Human Reproduction, Volume 14, Issue 7, (pp. 1690-7).” ↩