L-arginine is a kind of amino acid which the body produces naturally. We can also get it from some foods that we eat and if additional L-arginine is needed we can have it through supplements. Like other amino acids, arginine has several functions for the body but aside from that, it comes with various side effects too. Some of them can be mild only while the others are serious. Let us take a look at these L-arginine side effects.
Mild Side Effects of Arginine
If L-arginine is taken orally, some of the mild side effects it may cause are bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhea and gout. Since it increases the creation of gastrin which is a hormone that enhances stomach acids, it causes the levels of stomach acids to increase. On the other hand, if L-arginine is administered intravenously (through IV) this can cause symptoms like vomiting, nausea, flushing and headaches. The patients can bear these symptoms so they don’t need to go to their doctor for some medications.
Serious Side Effects of Arginine
There are also instances that taking L-arginine orally can cause severe side effects like difficulty in breathing. For those who are suffering from asthma should not take it because arginine can make the condition worse. Same is true with those who have chronic pulmonary disease. Because arginine dilates the vessel, this will cause an increase in pulmonary inflammation.
L-arginine causes allergic reactions which include hives, itching, rashes, swelling and difficulty in swallowing. If taken intravenously, it can cause serious side effects like excessive irritation in the veins and the neighboring tissues that cause extensive injuries. It causes the eyes to swell too.
One side effect of L-arginine which is considered severe is anaphylaxis which is a very severe allergic reaction. This can result to shock and even death. With this condition, one may experience sweating, sudden chills, hives, vomiting, tremors, diarrhea, shortness of breath, fainting and light-headedness all at the same time. So it is advisable for those who have allergy not to take L-arginine without being tested with allergy.
Effects of Arginine to Patients with Illness
Generally, arginine intake can aggravate the conditions of patients suffering from certain diseases and may even cause complications. Patients with liver diseases experience that arginine can change their potassium levels. Patients with diabetes, on the other hand said it elevates blood sugar levels. Furthermore, people with kidney diseases and those who are taking ACE inhibitors should take arginine supplements under the supervision of a doctor.
Other Side Effects of Arginine
L-arginine can worsen the condition of people with genital herpes. It is advisable for them to avoid eating foods that contain L-arginine. Patients who have just had a heart attack should as well do not take arginine. Likewise to pregnant and nursing women and children who are below 18 years of age. Another side effect associated with arginine is that it can make low blood pressure more severe and patients with sickle cell disease have their symptoms get worse. It can also cause legs to swell.
Since L-arginine is considered an herbal supplement, it is not governed by FDA like prescription drugs. That’s the reason why it can be sold without any proof for its safety or efficacy. Although it is widely available, this does not mean that it is completely safe for everybody. We should be careful in buying any supplement or the best is to consult a medical practitioner first.