A guide to L Arginine and Menopause
What is L arginine?
Otherwise known as Arginine, L arginine is an amino acid that helps the body build protein. Once in the body, L arginine transforms into nitric oxide (NO), an important neurotransmitter that encourages your blood vessels to relax, thereby allowing for more oxygen-rich blood to circulate through your arteries.
What is L arginine used for?
L arginine is perhaps best known for its vasodilator effects, which are critical for the maintenance of blood flow around the body. It’s no surprise, then, that L arginine has shown great promise in supporting overall cardiovascular function (1). Since Arginine is known to improve blood flow, there’s some evidence to suggest it may improve performance issues in men (2).
Arginine is also becoming increasingly popular amongst bodybuilders, athletes, and individuals following exercise regimes designed to turn fat into muscle.
Where can you find L arginine?
You can find L arginine in protein-dense foods, such as red meat, poultry, fish, dairy, beans, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and soy-based products. One of the richest sources of Arginine can be found in the protein fraction of peas.
How long does it take for L arginine to work?
If you plan to supplement with Arginine, we recommend waiting at least three months to see its desired effects. If, after that time, you’re still unsure how it’s supporting your health, have a chat with one of our expert Nutrition Advisors, who can advise you on the next steps or alternative products.
What are the key benefits of taking L arginine?
Aside from its role in cardiovascular health and exercise performance, Arginine is also believed to support women throughout menopause.
L-arginine and menopause
Menopause occurs 12 months after a woman’s last menstrual bleed. The period leading up to menopause is known as perimenopause, which can last anything between 4 and 12 years. During this hormonal shift, levels of oestrogen and progesterone gradually drop. And this can usher in a range of uncomfortable symptoms, such as hot flashes, insomnia, weight gain, and skin problems to name a few.
There’s some evidence to suggest supplementing with L arginine may support women through this hormonal change.
Does L arginine affect oestrogen?
Emerging data indicates levels of nitric oxide (NO) drop in postmenopausal women in response to low oestrogen. And so, researchers believe Arginine, the precursor of nitric oxide, may be a helpful candidate to increase oestrogen levels and improve menopausal symptoms (3).
L arginine and heart health
Amongst its myriad functions, oestrogen is known to be heart-protective. Its decline in menopause, therefore, can put women at an increased risk of cardiovascular issues (4). Indeed, studies suggest oestrogen replacement (HRT) in postmenopausal women may reduce the incidence of cardiac events by 50 percent (5).
As we’ve already mentioned, nitric oxide (NO) plays an important role in heart and vascular health (6). That’s why NO has demonstrated promise in supporting cardiovascular function throughout menopause (7). And so, as the precursor to NO, Arginine may be a useful addition at this time.
Where can I find the right L arginine supplement for me?
A powerful amino acid, Arginine is one of the best supplements for menopause. To learn more about L arginine, have a free, confidential chat with one of our expert Nutrition Advisors here
For more information on menopause, take a look around our dedicated Menopause Health Hub.
Lucotti P, Setola E, Monti LD, Galluccio E, Costa S, Sandoli EP, et al. (2006) Beneficial effects of a long-term oral L-arginine treatment added to a hypocaloric diet and exercise training program in obese, insulin-resistant type 2 diabetic patients. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 291: E906–912; Piatti PM, Monti LD, Valsecchi G, Magni F, Setola E, Marchesi F, et al. (2001) Long-term oral L-arginine administration improves peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients. Diabetes Care. 24:875–880; Dong J-Y, Qin L-Q, Zhang Z, Zhao Y, Wang J, Arigoni F, et al. (2011) Effect of oral l-arginine supplementation on blood pressure: A meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials. American Heart Journal. 162:959–965
Rhim, H., Kim, M., Park, Y., Choi, W., Park, H., & Kim, H. et al. (2019). The Potential Role of Arginine Supplements on Erectile Dysfunction: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis. The Journal Of Sexual Medicine, 16(2), 223-234.
Karami, M., Lakzaei, F., & Jalali Nadoushan, M. (2019). L-arginine low dose can elevate menopausal estrogen. Shahed University. Retrieved from http://research.shahed.ac.ir/WSR/WebPages/Report/PaperView.aspx?PaperID=137888
Grodstein F, Stampfer M. (1995) The epidemiology of coronary heart disease and estrogen replacement in postmenopausal women. Prog Cardiovasc Dis, 38:199, 210.
Stampfer MJ, Colditz GA, Willett WC, Manson JE, Rosner B, Speizer FE, Hennekens GH. (1991) Postmenopausal estrogen therapy and cardiovascular disease. Ten-year follow-up from the nurses’ health study. N Engl J Med. 325:756 –762.
Yao S-K, Ober JC, Krishnaswami AK, et al. (1992) Endogenous nitric oxide protects against platelet aggregation and cyclic flow variations in stenosed and endothelium-injured arteries. Circulation. 86:1302–09; Cohen RA. (1995) The role of nitric oxide and other endothelium-derived vasoactive substances in vascular disease. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 38:105–128; Seki J, Nishio M, Kato Y, Motoyama Y, Yoshida K. FK. (1995) 409 a new nitric-oxide donor suppresses smooth muscle proliferation in the rat model of balloon angioplasty. Atherosclerosis. 117: 97–106.
N. G. Majmudar, S. C. Robson, G. A. Ford, (2000) Effects of the Menopause, Gender, and Estrogen Replacement Therapy on Vascular Nitric Oxide Activity, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 85, 4:1577–1583.
Disclaimer: The information presented by Nature's Best is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.
Olivia Salter has always been an avid health nut. After graduating from the University of Bristol, she began working for a nutritional consultancy where she discovered her passion for all things wellness-related. There, she executed much of the company’s content marketing strategy and found her niche in health writing, publishing articles in Women’s Health, Mind Body Green, Thrive and Psychologies.