Amino acids and their significance for virility and libido

The intake of specific individual amino acids can stimulate and boost biological processes that are related to virility and sexual performance.1

Around 2.3 million men in the UK suffer from erectile disorders. In many of these cases, problems have already presented themselves in sufferers during their thirties, prompting serious consequences. This is because reduced virility weakens self-confidence and leads to fear and anxiety when in contact with a partner, often prompting depression. Besides the various chemical products, potency and sexual performance can also be positively influenced by specific amino acids. This is particularly the case for the amino acids arginine and ornithine. Arginine is a precursor of nitric oxide and has many positive effects on the body. In recognition of these remarkable effects, the Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded for specific findings directly related to the amino acid arginine in 1998.2 

Increasing the arginine intake increases the nitric oxide level in the blood. Nitric oxide relaxes blood vessel walls and thus improves blood circulation throughout the body, including those in the penis.Furthermore, Arginine elevates the concentration of nitric oxide, which increases the arterial elasticity.4  This effect can reduce blood pressure and improve erectile processes.Along with this, nutrients and oxygen can be transported at a faster pace to the organs, which has an overall positive effect on potency, endurance and sexual performance.6

No side-effects

The stimulating effect of the amino acid arginine on erectile capability has been known for some time. Nevertheless, arginine first came into the spotlight during discussions on the well-known drugs to treat erectile dysfunction, when the advantages of the amino acid became clearly apparent. Arginine does indeed have a similar effect to synthetic tablets but is much cheaper and free of side effects.In contrast to those well-known, chemically-based pills, arginine does not act immediately as the effect on virility presents itself after a few days. However, taking arginine is completely harmless. 

Arginine – for an active love life

Pharmacologists at the Hanover Medical School have studied the effect on patients with erectile dysfunction. “Initial evaluations indicate positive effects”, says head researcher Prof. Dirk Stichtenoth from the Institute for Clinical Pharmacology. Seventy volunteers received daily doses of arginine for four weeks and then placebos for another four weeks. The results of the study have been submitted to a medical journal for publication. “At present there are no approved medicinal products for the treatment of erectile dysfunction containing arginine. This would require further studies. Arginine has only been available to date as a food supplement,” says the pharmacologist. 

In a study carried out by Cologne University in 1999, twenty-six patients (with an average age of 51 years) suffering potency difficulties were prescribed 1500mg of capsule-form arginine per day. After seven weeks, 73% of participants noticed a significant improvement in their erectile capabilities. None of the patients experienced any side-effects.A study carried out by Tel Aviv University in the same year was able to generate similar results. This time forty-six men diagnosed with erectile dysfunction took part. Twenty-nine of them were given a daily dosage of arginine the gram-range, the rest were given a placebo. 31% of the arginine group reported a considerable increase in their erectile capabilities after six weeks and only two participants in the placebo group were able to determine something similar.9

Ornithine is an optimal supplement

The amino acid ornithine is a perfectly-suited supplement to arginine. It is reduced to arginine in the body, but this occurs very slowly, so that its effects last a long time.10 The combination of both amino acids improves the overall regeneration capability of the body and leads to a noticeable increase in vitality. This positive increase is proven to support erectile capabilities in men.11


The body is normally able to produce sufficient quantities of these amino acids by itself. However, if the production of these amino acids is disturbed by illness or stress-related factors, it is recommended that the diet be supplemented with foods containing arginine and ornithine. These amino acids are found in fish, meat, dairy products, nuts, rice, soybeans and wheat for instance. Arginine and ornithine are also available as tablets, powders and even capsules. Combination products that contain other nutrients such as zinc, vitamin B and/or biotin are also particularly effective.12


1Williams, J.Z., Abumrad, N. & Barbul, A. (2002) Effect of a Specialized Amino Acid Mixture on Human Collagen Deposition, Annals of Surgery, Volume 236, issue 3, (pp. 369 – 375)

2Furchgott, R.F., Ignarro, L.J. & Murad, F. (1998) Für ihre Arbeiten über die Rolle von Stickoxid als Signalstoff im Herz-Kreislauf-System Medizin-Nobelpreis

3Wespes, E. (2013) Erectile Dysfunction: The Medical Treatment, European Urology Supplements, Volume 12, Issue 2, (pp. 13–17)

4Jung, H.C., Mun, K.H., Park, T.C., Lee, Y.C., Park, J.M., Huh, K., Seongh, D.H. & Suh, J.K. (1997) Role of nitric oxide in penile erection Yonsei, Medical Journal, Volume 38, issue 5, (pp. 261-269)

5Palloshi, A., Fragasso, G., Piatti, P., Monti, L.D., Setola, E., Valsecchi, G., Galuccio, E., Chierchia, S.L. & Margonato, A. (2004) Effect of Oral L-arginine on Blood Pressure and Symptoms and Endothelial Function in Patients With Systemic Hypertension, Positive Exercise Tests, and Normal Coronary Arteries, The American Journal of Cardiology, Volume 93 (pp. 933-935)

6Chauhan, A., More, R.S., Mullins, P.A., Taylor, G., Petch, M.C. & Schofield, P.M. (1996) Aging-Associated Endothelial Dysfunction in Humans Is Reversed by L-Arginine Journal of American College of Cardiology, Volume 28, issue 7, (pp. 1796-1804)

7Wolf, A., Zalpour, C., Theilmeier, G., Wang, B.Y., Ma, A., Anderson, B., Tsao, P.S. & Cooke, J.P. (1996) Dietary L-Arginine Supplementation Normalizes Platelet Aggregation in Hypercholesterolemic, Humans Journal of American College of Cardiology, Volume 29, issue 3, (pp. 479-485)

8Klotz, T., Mathers, M.J. & Braun, M. (1999) Effectiveness of oral L-arginine in first-line treatment of erectile dysfunction in a controlled crossover study, Urol International, Volume 63, (pp. 220-223)

9Chen, I., Wollman, Y., Chernichovsky, T., Iaina, A., Sofer, M. & Matzkin, H. (1999) Effect of oral administration of high-dose nitric oxide donor L-arginine in men with organic erectile dysfunction: results of a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled study, BJU International, Volume 83, issue 3, (pp. 269-273)

10Zieve, L. (1986) Conditional deficiencies of ornithine or arginine, J Am Coll Nutr, Volume 5, (pp. 167-176)

11Toda, N., Ayajiki, K. & Okamura, T. (2005) Nitric oxide and penile erectile function, Pharmacol Ther., Volume 106, issue 2, (pp. 233-266)

12Khedun, S.M., Naicker T., Maharaj, B. (1995) Zinc, hydrochlorothiazide and sexual dysfunction, Cent Afr J Med October, Vol. 41, Issue 10, (pp. 312-315)

Dear reader,

We are often asked for amino acid product recommendations. As we generally cannot answer this in a universal way, the information collected from our German colleagues could be used as a guide to those who are looking for quality supplements: The site trialed and evaluated the products and services of the main providers in German-speaking countries. The information is currently only available in German, but you will nevertheless be able to see the names of the best manufacturers.


  • »Mitteldeutsche Zeitung newspaper«

    Arginine and zinc make sperm cells more resilient

    “Men should ensure that they consume a balanced diet and get enough exercise” explained Professor Frank Sommer from the Institute for Men’s Health, at the Hamburg-Eppendorf Clinic in Germany. He specifically recommended arginine when presenting his nutritional advice, as the amino acid can have a positive effect on the dynamics and fitness of sperm cells. The trace element zinc also contributes to the resilience of these cells.