Research Shows That The Amino Acid Arginine Benefits Motile Sperm And Maintains Male Fertility. This Amino Acid Also Helps To Promote Strong Erections.
The non-essential amino acid arginine performs a variety of roles in the body. It contributes to cell division, waste removal, immune function, wound healing and hormone regulation. One of the key functions of this amino acid is as the only precursor to the production of the vasodilator nitric oxide (NO).
NO is a powerful neurotransmitter, which regulates the rate of blood flow in the body allowing the supply of energy and nutrients as and when they are needed. Male fertility and also sexual function are therefore significantly influenced by the availability of arginine, and by extension NO, in the body.
Clinical Study: Does L-arginine Support Sperm Motility
In the 1970’s researchers confirmed that 4-8 g of arginine daily could help to improve sperm count, motility and concentration1.
In a more recent study, Scibona and colleagues investigated the effects of arginine supplementation on a group of infertile males2. Forty infertile men participated in the research. All men exhibited normal sperm count (> 20 million/ml), although sperm motility was poor (< 50%). The researchers eliminated immunological problems or infection as the cause of poor motility. Asthenospermic males were administered 80 ml of 10% arginine HCL daily for a period of six months.
The study found that
- There was a significant increase in spermatozoa motility in the study group following arginine supplementation for six months.
- No negative side effects were observed.
These results confirm the importance of arginine for sperm motility. Sperm motility requires putrescine, spermidine and spermine. Arginine is essential for the production of all of these three polyamines3. Spermine stabilises and preserves the DNA inside the spermatozoa and increases ejaculate volume4.
Clinical Study: Does L-arginine Treat Erectile Dysfunction (Impotence)?
Because NO is directly derived from arginine, this amino acid indirectly supports erectile function. Supplements containing this amino acid are often recommended by fertility specialists to help treat erectile dysfunction.
A study published in 1999 investigated the effects of arginine supplementation on men suffering from organic erectile dysfunction (ED)5. This randomised, double-blind placebo-controlled study ran for six weeks. A total of 52 men with diagnosed ED participated in the study. Men either received a placebo or 5 g daily of arginine following a two week placebo run-in period.
The study found that
- Patients who had reported improved sexual function had higher NO levels in their blood following supplementation with arginine. These results only applied to men, who previously had low NO levels.
Clinical Study: Does Pine Bark Extract Improve The Results Of L-arginine In The Treatment Of Erectile Dysfunction?
Extracts of pine bark from the maritime pine tree (Pinus pinaste) have been shown to enhance the effects of arginine. Commercially known as pycnogenol, pine bark extract can reduce oxidative stress and allow the body to better utilise arginine8.
In a 2003 study, researchers investigated the use of arginine and pycnogenol to treat ED. Forty men with ED participated in a study for three months. For the first month, patients received 1.7 g of arginine per day. Twice a day during the second month, patients also received 40 mg of pycnogenol. This pycnogenol dosage was increased to three times a day (120mg total per day) in the third month.
The study found that
- After the first month, a statistically non-significant percentage of patients (5%) reported normal erectile function.
- After the second month after the introduction of pycnogenol, 80% of patients reported normal erectile function.
- By the end of the three month treatment, 92.5% of patients experienced a normal erection.
- No negative side effects were reported during the study.
This research suggests that the benefits of arginine supplementation are enhanced further by also taking pycongenol. Arginine and pycongenol combined may be an effective natural treatment for ED.
Food Rich In Arginine
Some of the best sources of this amino acid include seafood, tofu, sesame seeds, spinach, pork, turkey, dairy, and beef.
Arginine directly and indirectly supports healthy male fertility. This amino acid helps to maintain sperm motility through the production of the important polyamines: putrescine, spermidine and spermine. Arginine can also assist in the treatment of erectile dysfunction by increasing nitric oxide availably.
Research suggests that the positive actions of arginine can be further enhanced with the addition of pine bark extract.
Using Arginine To Improve Male Fertility
Arginine is a powerful male fertility enhancing nutrient, but it is also just one of several so called fertility-neutraceuticals. While Arginine positively affects sperm count and motility, it does not protect the sperm cells from oxidative damage.
Clinical research studies have consistently shown that
We have therefore compared all of the top male fertility combination supplements in a transparent, side-by-side evaluation.
VIDEO: How to improve sperm naturally with food
Other sperm volume and motility-enhancing nutrients
- “Schachter, J. et. al. (1973) Treatment of oligospermia with the amino acid arginine. Journal of Urology, Volume 110, (pp. 311-13).” ↩
- “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).” ↩
- “Imhof, Martin et al., “Improvement of sperm quality after micronutritient supplementation”, e-SPEN, the European e-Journal of Clinical nutrition and Metabolism” ↩
- “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).” ↩
- “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).”. ↩
- “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).” ↩
- “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).” ↩
- “http://humupd.oxfordjournals.org/content/14/3/243.full” ↩
- “Imhof, Martin et al., “Improvement of sperm quality after micronutritient supplementation” ↩