Does L-arginine Affect Sleep?

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Despite all 2020 has thrown at us, sleep disorders are an issue that stretches farther back, probably for most of human history. Americans have suffered from issues involving their shut eye for years; trying everything from different medications to breathing techniques in order to get those blissful eight hours. Taking that into consideration, it makes perfect sense that people are wary of any supplement or medication that could potentially interfere with their sleep schedule.

A rising interest in the herbal supplement market has people questioning how these dietary additives affect their daily lives, including their sleep routine. L-arginine is one such supplement that people can take to support a variety of health issues.

Here's what you can expect to hear more about in this article:

  • L-arginine is a safe supplement that can be utilized in order to treat a variety of issues such as heart disease, inflammation, and erectile dysfunction (this list is not exhaustive!) either combined with or freestanding of physician prescribed medication.
  • L-arginine clears the body of harmful substances like ammonia, which in turn produces restful sleep.
  • While L-arginine may not have a direct effect on sleep processes, it can ease pain that results from other issues and therefore lead to a more restful slumber.

What exactly is L-arginine?

L-arginine is an amino acid that is naturally produced by the body. It converts itself into nitric oxide (NO), which is a powerful neurotransmitter. Infants produce it more organically than adults do, making it more nutritionally essential for a baby than for adults who can consume it through their diets. It is synthesized from glutamine, another amino acid of the same classification.

Since L-arginine acts as a vasodilator (opening up the body’s blood vessels), it is commonly used for cardiovascular conditions like angina, hypertension (high blood pressure) and pulmonary hypertension, and erectile dysfunction. However, it can be used for a variety of other reasons, and assist with a number of bodily issues such as:

  • Healing wounds
  • Removing waste from the kidneys
  • Maintaining healthy immune function
  • Keeping hormones stable and functioning properly

Since it is found organically within the body, deficiencies are rare but possible. Therefore, L-arginine supplements can be found at the grocery store, local drugstores, or right here in our shop to cope with deficiency.

Due to its effect on the arteries, L-arginine supplements are most commonly used for people with heart issues, which is significant due to the sheer number of Americans—a whopping 85.6 million—that suffer from cardiovascular disease. Supplements are not the only source of l-arginine, however. Common everyday foods such as nuts, sunflower seeds, oats, corn, cereal, dairy products, poultry, beef, and chocolate all have low levels of l-arginine that can be used to boost your supplemental intake. Due to the positive influence that L-arginine has on overall cardiovascular health, it can be a great resource to consult for exercise performance (as Dr. Emil suggests on his supplement bottle!) There is some evidence that the consumption of L-arginine can help with bodybuilding and increasing muscle mass, but these trials need further testing to be factually sound.

Arginine 3000
A supplement capsule version of L-arginine supplement that can be purchased in Dr. Emil’s nutrition store. Image courtesy of Dr. Emil.

Will l-arginine help me sleep?

While L-arginine does not have a direct effect on the body’s sleep processes, it can help ease symptoms that stem from heart conditions, kidney disorders, and inflammation, as well as boosting the body’s immune function. This can have a positive effect on bodily comfort and bring about sleep faster since pain is either a non-issue or less significant. In addition to working to abate symptoms, L-arginine also teams up with a partner in crime, an amino acid called glutamine, to potentially promote better sleep health.

L-arginine is synthesized from its fellow amino acid, glutamine. Glutamine has a substantial effect on decreasing the body’s physical or psychological stress and calms the psyche considerably. Glutamine numbers, and in turn L-arginine numbers, are severely decreased in times of significant stress. When there is a plentiful amount in the body, stressors become diminished and sleep comes more easily. Glutamine and L-arginine both work to break down a cellular toxin called ammonia. If too much ammonia is present in the body, a buildup can occur and halt functional sleep processes in the brain. Glutamine and L-arginine are then activated and break down the influx of ammonia, in turn leading to more restful sleep.

Is l-arginine safe?

L-arginine has a “green light” rating from the Mayo Clinic, placing it in a safe classification of supplements and medication. As with any additive, certain side effects are possible, including nausea, diarrhea, abdominal pain, bloating, as well as an allergic response. Supplements are to be taken orally and should be monitored for interactions with drugs prescribed for blood thinning and diabetes. It is also said to worsen asthma symptoms in people suffering from respiratory issues, so ingestion of L-arginine in these patients should be watched closely.

5 Benefits of L-Arginine
Chart detailing some of the benefits of adding l-arginine to your routine!.

What’s the verdict? Should I be taking L-arginine?

If you suffer from any of the aforementioned conditions, an L-arginine supplement could definitely be helpful. You should not begin taking this supplement without first consulting with a healthcare provider to discuss any potential complications or interactions that could arise. Consumption of L-arginine should not be permitted in patients that have recently undergone heart surgery, as post-surgical complications can arise.

L-arginine can be a truly beneficial resource. Talk to your primary care physician if you think L-arginine could help you. Overall, it is a very safe supplement that can easily be added to your dietary routine through either supplements or certain foods. In order to see the benefits of L-arginine through a dietetic route, create a diet based on protein-rich foods such as nuts, poultry, and dairy. The supplement capsules of L-arginine are available in grocery and dollar stores, but you can grab a bottle on sale at Dr. Emil’s store by following this link!

You should consult a licensed health care professional before starting any supplement, dietary, or exercise program, especially if you are pregnant or have any pre-existing injuries or medical conditions.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.