L-arginine is an amino acid that is present in our diet. It’s found in meat, fish, dairy products, and beans. Most people obtain enough L-arginine as long as they eat a nutritious diet, so they don’t need to be concerned about the intake of the nutrient. A health care professional or a dietitian can recommend dietary methods to increase arginine intake if a person suspects that they aren’t eating enough.
L-arginine is converted to nitric oxide in the body, but it’s unclear whether ingesting the substance as a supplement will boost the nitric oxide level in everyone. Most people don’t need to take supplemental arginine, but people with certain medical problems might benefit from the substance. It’s important that a person consults a doctor before taking an arginine supplement, however. In a supplemental form, the substance can cause major side effects and interact harmfully with certain medications.
If a doctor thinks that supplement arginine will be useful for a patient’s specific medical problem and that the possible side effects of the supplement won’t be harmful to that patient, they’ll recommend a safe and potentially beneficial dose.