Recent Blog Articles
Pouring from an empty cup? Three ways to refill emotionally
Give praise to the elbow: A bending, twisting marvel
Sneezy and dopey? Seasonal allergies and your brain
The FDA relaxes restrictions on blood donation
Apps to accelerometers: Can technology improve mental health in older adults?
Swimming and skin: What to know if a child has eczema
A muscle-building obsession in boys: What to know and do
Natural disasters strike everywhere: Ways to help protect your health
Dementia: Coping with common, sometimes distressing behaviors
Screening tests may save lives — so when is it time to stop?
Heart Beat: Play it safe, avoid L-arginine supplements
Play it safe, avoid L-arginine supplements
L-arginine, touted as a supplement that prevents and treats heart and circulation problems, doesn't help heart attack survivors — and it may even harm them.
L-arginine provides the raw material from which the body makes nitric oxide, a tiny, transient molecule that helps relax and open blood vessels. Johns Hopkins researchers put it to the test in a rigorous, two-year clinical trial of 153 heart attack survivors. Neither the volunteers nor their doctors knew who was taking three grams of the amino acid three times a day and who was taking a placebo. After just six months the researchers stopped the trial when a peek at the data showed six deaths among volunteers assigned to L-arginine compared with none in the placebo group. In a report in the January 4, 2006, Journal of the American Medical Association, they noted that L-arginine didn't reduce artery stiffness or improve the pumping power of the heart's left ventricle.
To continue reading this article, you must log in.
Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.
- 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
I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.Sign Me Up
Already a member? Login ».
As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.
No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Free Healthbeat Signup
Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!