Safety of dietary supplementation with arginine in adult humans. Academic Article uri icon


  • Previous studies with animals and humans have shown beneficial effects of dietary supplementation with L-arginine (Arg) on reducing white fat and improving health. At present, a long-term safe level of Arg administration to adult humans is unknown. The objective of this study was to conduct a randomized, placebo-controlled, clinical trial to evaluate the safety and tolerability of oral Arg in overweight or obese but otherwise healthy adults with a body mass index of25kg/m2. A total of 142 subjects completed a 7-day wash-in period using a 12g Arg/day dose. All the remaining eligible 101 subjects who tolerated the wash-in dose (45 men and 56 women) were assigned randomly to ingest 0, 15 or 30g Arg (as pharmaceutical-grade Arg-HCl) per day for 90days. Arg was taken daily in at least two divided doses by mixing with a flavored beverage. At Days 0 and 90, blood pressures of study subjects were recorded,their physical examinations were performed, andtheirblood and 24-h urine samples were obtained to measure: (1) serum concentrations of amino acids, glucose, fatty acids, and related metabolites; and (2) renal, hepatic, endocrine and metabolic parameters. Our results indicate that the serum concentration of Arg in men or women increased (P<0.05) progressively with increasing oral Arg doses from 0 to 30g/day. Dietary supplementation with 30g Arg/day reduced (P<0.05) systolic blood pressure and serum glucose concentration in females, as well as serum concentrations of free fatty acids in both males and females. Based on physiological and biochemical variables, study subjects tolerated oral administration of 15 and 30g Arg/day without adverse events. We conclude that a long-term safe level of dietary Arg supplementation is at least 30g/day in adult humans.

published proceedings

  • Amino Acids

altmetric score

  • 22.45

author list (cited authors)

  • McNeal, C. J., Meininger, C. J., Wilborn, C. D., Tekwe, C. D., & Wu, G.

citation count

  • 39

complete list of authors

  • McNeal, Catherine J||Meininger, Cynthia J||Wilborn, Colin D||Tekwe, Carmen D||Wu, Guoyao

publication date

  • January 2018