The ageing man may confront a host of serious health issues but two of the most relatable are high blood pressure and dwindling sexual function. Both can greatly diminish quality of life in ways that go beyond the condition itself. High blood pressure can open the door to serious heart heart problems, such as heart disease.
Impaired sexual function can produce knock-on effects that are harder to measure, such as a loss of self-confidence, which may spill out into relationships.
Fortunately, both areas can be addressed by making simple lifestyle adjustments, research suggests.
A number of dietary supplements boast properties that may kill two birds with one stone.
Evidence recommends taking L-arginine supplements to resolve these issues.
L-arginine is an amino acid naturally present in your body and can be obtained through supplementation.
Benefits to blood pressure
Studies have shown that taking L-arginine supplements may help lower both your systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.
A review of seven studies found that supplementing with L-arginine by both oral and intravenous (IV) administration significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in adults with high blood pressure by up to 5.4 mm/Hg and 3.1 mm/Hg, respectively.
What do these numbers mean? Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers:
- The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.
- The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
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As the NHS explains, they’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).
Researchers attribute the blood-pressure lowering effect of L-arginine to its role in the production of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide is necessary for the relaxation of the cells that make up blood vessels, as well as blood pressure regulation.
Boosting sexual function
Nitric oxide’s ability to relax blood cells is also thought to facilitate a successful erection and is essential for healthy sexual functioning.
So, what does the research say?
Researchers studied the effects of L-arginine on erectile dysfunction (ED).
ED is the inability to get and maintain an erection that is sufficient for satisfactory sexual intercourse.
Thirty-one percent of men with ED taking five grams of L-arginine per day experienced significant improvements in sexual function.
A second study showed that L-arginine combined with pycnogenol – a plant product from tree bark – restored sexual ability to 80 percent of participants after two months.
Ninety-two percent had restored sexual ability after three months, the study found.
Another placebo-controlled study found that L-arginine in combination with other medications was well-tolerated, safe, and effective for mild-to-moderate ED.
What causes erectile dysfunction?
According to the NHS, this is usually caused by stress, tiredness, anxiety or drinking too much alcohol, and it’s nothing to worry about.
“If it happens more often, it may be caused by physical health or emotional problems,” adds the health body.
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