By the way, doctor: Is it okay for me to take L-arginine?

Published: November, 2007

Q. I am 92 and have poor blood circulation and an irregular heartbeat. Is it okay for me to take 500 milligrams of L-arginine a day?

A. L-arginine is an amino acid, one of the building blocks of proteins. It's essential for life, but most of us have enough in our bodies. Sometimes it is given as a supplement, but usually to people recovering from serious burns, battling a major infection, or recovering from severe protein malnutrition. It's also given to patients on peritoneal dialysis, an option for kidney failure patients that uses the peritoneum — the membrane that lines the abdomen — to filter out waste products instead of depending on a machine to filter the blood.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.
  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise

New subscriptions to Harvard Health Online are temporarily unavailable. Click the button below to learn about our other subscription offers.

Learn More »