L-Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that acts as a catalyst to the formation of the neurotransmitter, nitric oxide (NO). This neurotransmitter is produced within the blood vessels as enzymes, aptly titled nitric oxide synthase, and combine with a nitrogen atom from L-Arginine. In the natural process, the body uses the majority of L-Arginine to rid the body of toxic ammonia through the urea cycle, and minuscule amounts of L-Arginine are used to produce nitric oxide, yielding a slight amount of this essential compound that produces benefits such as increased blood circulation, muscle relaxation, and lower blood pressure.
In order to produce and maintain an erection, nitric oxide is required. This compound is created in the nerve tissue and relaxes the smooth muscles of the corpus cavernosum, which houses two cave-like structures called the corpora cavernosa (located on the sides of the penis) and the corpus spongiosum (located at the bottom). Each of these sponge-like regions of erectile tissue run from the pelvic bones, down the penis shaft, and end at the glans penis, or head of the penis. They are usually contracted, but when nitric oxide is introduced, a decrease in free calcium occurs, leading to relaxation of the penile tissues. These regions within the penis fill with 90% of the blood flow during erection and when their tissues are relaxed using L-Arginine, increases in the diameter and length of the penis are seen. After the first wave of nitric oxide is released, a multitude of other chemicals including more nitric oxide is secreted and erection is maintained.
L-Arginine is useful as a vasodilator and is known to cause widening of the blood vessels which will allow more blood to flow through the arteries and into the penis. Combined with nitric oxide’s ability to increase blood flow and the relaxation of the penile tissue, L-Arginine takes advantage of the penis’s natural ability to expand. Oftentimes, the penis is smaller in length and diameter because it does not receive enough blood flow, and so large areas of the corpora cavernosa and corpus spongiosum are left unfilled. With less blood flow, erections may not occur, be easily controlled, or last as long if they do occur. This can cause distress in sexual health due to the lowered ability to maintain an erection. L-Arginine is an excellent supplement to reduce these issues through its increased production of nitric oxide.
Another way that nitric oxide relaxes the blood vessels is by regenerating the inner lining of the arteries, or endothelium, and thinning the blood by inhibiting platelet clumping. With an increased blood flow, large amounts of blood reach the penis and result in harder erections that last longer.
Other benefits associated with L-Arginine are increased libido, or sexual drive, improved testosterone, higher fertility due to larger sperm counts, and use as an aphrodisiac.
Pertaining to increased testosterone levels, the increases in nitric oxide may help testosterone get where it is needed. Due to the vasodilation, increased amounts of nutrients and oxygen could reach the testicles, specifically the Leydig cells, which are the cells that produce testosterone. As nitric oxide levels increase, more of the sex hormone may be pumped through the body. This will result in faster, more easily noticed, sexual performance benefits. Not only will this increased blood flow to the testicles support higher testosterone, it may also lead to higher sperm count as these increased amounts of oxygen and nutrients flood the testicles. Sperm may be stronger and better equipped to reach the woman’s ovum.
Many times, larger sexual performance increases are found when L-Arginine is combined with supplements such as Yohimbe and pine bark. This combination results in a synergistic relationship that magnifies erectile functioning. While the majority of the effects of L-Arginine are seen in men who have low levels of nitric oxide, results may also be seen in men with adequate levels.
In addition to all of the benefits mentioned earlier, L-Arginine has proven to increase heart and blood vessel ailments, reducing congestive heart failure, angina (or chest pain), and high blood pressure, among other conditions. Sexual encounters, while pleasant, can be stressful on the body. Improved blood circulation and cardiovascular function are paramount to increased satisfaction, less risk of disability or death, and longer stamina. As the cardiovascular system strengthens, more blood will be pumped through the body and into the penis. All of these benefits create a cycle of advantage that will increase sexual performance for many men who may be plagued with sexual issues. A larger, harder, and better-controlled erection can be a reality through L-Arginine.