Sex and L-arginine
by David Jay Brown
L-arginine is an essential amino acid found in many common foods (such as nuts, turkey, and dairy products), and it is readily available in most health food stores as a nutritional supplement.
In addition to being one of the building blocks of proteins in the body, L-arginine has been shown to increase the ability to obtain erections and maintain stamina in men. It has also been reported to increase libido, as well as the intensity of sexual sensations in both men and women.
This effect is due, at least in part, to the fact that L-arginine increases the production of nitric oxide, an excitatory neurotransmitter (or chemical messenger in the brain) that is also responsible for causing erections men. Nitric oxide is the only known gaseous neurotransmitter in the body, and it helps men obtain erections easier because it facilitates blood flow to the erectile tissue of the penis.
Viagra actually works by enhancing the effect of nitric oxide, and one of the reasons that drinking alcohol can interfere with a man’s ability to obtain an erection is because alcohol reduces the production of nitric oxide.
Although it’s mechanism for facilitating erections in men is clearly established, the mechanism by which it enhances libido and sexual sensations in women is less clearly understood. Animal studies suggest that the effect may be due to a chain of events triggered by nitric oxide that cause the release of two important female hormones–LHRH and LH–which lead to ovulation and sexual behavior.
L-arginine is sometimes used in a topological cream by women, which is applied to the external female genitals, and is said to improve clitoral erections and ease of orgasm.
Many healthcare professionals recommend L-arginine as an effective treatment for a loss of interest in sex, impotence, and difficulty achieving orgasm. Since it is easily available in most health stores, and since it is not only natural to the body, but essential, many physicians that I spoke with believe that taking L-arginine supplements should be one of the first treatments that men try if they are having problems with impotence.