L-arginine is an amino acid available in supplement form and also obtained through eating certain foods, including meat and seafood. Ginseng is one of the most popular medicinal herbs used in the U.S., according to University of Maryland Medical Center. Taken together, L-arginine and ginseng may help to increase your blood flow and improve results in the gym. Consult your doctor before trying any type of dietary or herbal supplement.
L-arginine is the main ingredient in nitric oxide, or NO, supplements on the market. This amino acid works by relaxing your blood vessels to improve blood circulation throughout your body. This occurs when L-arginine, also simply called arginine, enters your body and converts to NO. through a process involving the enzyme nitric oxide synthase, or NOS. According to the National Institutes of Health, arginine can be effective in treating heart failure patients, bladder infections, erectile dysfunction and other problems involving poor blood circulation.
Ginseng comes in two varieties, Asian ginseng and American ginseng. Both have a similar chemical makeup. This herb is used for boosting mental performance, enhancing the immune system and treating inflammation. Side effects are rare, according to UMMC, but include high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia. It may negatively interact with several medications, including MAOIs, diabetes medications and stimulants.
According to Dwayne Jackson, Ph.D., and Jim Stoppani, Ph.D., of “Muscle and Fitness,” combining ginseng and L-arginine can benefit some people looking to build muscle. They state that some people have low levels of NOS enzymes, so L-arginine supplements are largely ineffective. However, combining ginseng with L-arginine helps improve NOS activity in the body. Jackson and Stoppani suggest using standard American ginseng. Never mix supplements without first consulting your doctor.
According to New York University's Langone Medical Center, some studies have suggested that a combination of L-arginine and ginseng yields slight benefits when used as a treatment for sexual dysfunction. One such study was published in the "Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy" in 2001. It focused on sexual dysfunction in women and found the supplement combination, along with other herbs and vitamins, to provide slight benefits. The Langone Medical Center does not note any study that conclusively says a combination of L-arginine and ginseng helps athletic performance in any way.
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