Harvard Heart Letter

Ask the doctor: Will taking arginine and citrulline protect my arteries?

Ask the doctor

Will taking arginine and citrulline protect my arteries?

Q. My husband is taking arginine and citrulline supplements because he read that they will protect his heart and arteries. Should I try these supplements, too, or is this a waste of money?

A. The idea that arginine and citrulline supplements can improve the health of arteries makes sense. But it's one of those notions that have been dashed by solid science.

Arginine and citrulline are both amino acids. Early in life, the body can't easily make them from scratch and so they must be supplied by food. Later on, though, the body is able to make arginine and citrulline from other sources if needed.

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