Recent Blog Articles
Does your child need to bathe every day?
Can flavonoids help fend off forgetfulness?
Can physical or cognitive activity prevent dementia?
Wondering how much your medical care will cost? New rules could help
Long-lasting healthy changes: Doable and worthwhile
The sore throat checklist: What parents need to know
A new treatment for obesity
Remember the flu? Yep, it's that time again
3 ways to build brain-boosting social connections
Grandparenting: Ready to move for family?
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.