L-Arginine is an amino acid often taken as a supplement by couples facing fertility issues. L-Arginine is a semi essential amino acid used in a number of physiological functions. The body is able to make L-Arginine, though dietary intake is important for ensuring you have enough of this amino acid. Good dietary sources include nuts, lentils, kidney beans, and fresh soybeans. Other dietary sources include egg yolk, meats, and dairy products.
L-Arginine is important for optimal health, and is thought to protect against a number of health conditions.
L-Arginine is important for a strong immune system, and is also recommended for couples facing fertility issues. As well as eating a diet rich in the food sources mentioned above, you may wish to take a daily supplement to increase your L-Arginine intake. Speak to your healthcare provider for advice before you begin taking a new supplement.
L-Arginine is thought to improve the reproductive health of both men and women because:
1. It increases blood circulation to the uterus, ovaries and genitals - increased blood flow can improve reproductive health. L-Arginine allows for better blood circulation to the ovaries, allowing for optimal egg production. The increased blood flow to the uterus also creates a better environment to allow for the implantation of a fertilized egg. Blood flow is important for the proper functioning of the reproductive organs, and may improve the chances of conception.
2. It increases Nitric Oxide levels - L-Arginine is used by the body to create Nitric Oxide (NO). Naturopathic Doctor Jeremy Appleton shares of research in Alternative Medicine Review that has found that increased NO levels supports healthy inflammation levels which may help to prevent uterine fertility issues such as fibroids, endometriosis and PCOS. Inflammation is a contributing factor to a number of fertility issues shown to negatively impact conception and implantation.
3. Supports normal sperm production - research has found that taking a L-Arginine supplement daily can increase sperm production in men. In the study, the effects were noticeable 6-8 weeks from the start of supplementation. Research out of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri, published in the journal Biology of Reproduction finds that L-Arginine may also improve the motility of sperm, thus increasing the chance of conception in couples suffering from low sperm motility. Where IVF is used, L-Arginine can be used to improve the quality of sperm, increasing the chance of achieving a fertilized egg.
4. Improve the production of cervical mucus - the increased blood flow to the reproductive organs can aid in the production of cervical mucus. Abnormal mucus production contributes to the challenges faced by around 1 in 20 women dealing with fertility issues. Some women do not produce enough cervical mucus, and others produce a mucus that is too thick for sperm to travel through. L-Arginine can encourage better production of cervical mucus through improved blood flow.
5. Supports a healthy libido – L-Arginine increases blood flow to the genitals in both men and women, leading to an increased libido. In men, increased blood flow to the penis can result in more frequent and sustained erections. L-Arginine is often suggested for men suffering from erectile dysfunction. In women, increased blood flow to the genitals can lead to increased sexual arousal and orgasm. A healthy libido plays an important role in conception.
Please note: You should not take L-Arginine if you have herpes as it can trigger an outbreak.
- Barton-Schuster, D. (n.d.) 3 Easy Ways to Increase Circulation to Your Uterus. Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/increase-circulation-uterus.html
- Appleton, J., ND. (n.d.). Arginine: Clinical Potential of a Semi-Essential Amino Acid. Retrieved from: http://www.altmedrev.com/publications/7/6/512.pdf
- Keller, D. W., & Polakoski, K. L. (1975). L-Arginine Stimulation of Human Sperm Motility in vitro. Biology of Reproduction, 13(2), 154-157. doi:10.1095/biolreprod13.2.154 Retrieved from: https://academic.oup.com/biolreprod/article/13/2/154/2841442
- Rodriguez, H. (n.d.) Increase Cervical Mucous to Get Pregnant. Retrieved from: http://natural-fertility-info.com/5-natural-ways-to-increase-your-cervical-mucous.html