sean lerwill arginine supplement spors nutrition muscle size strength gain

I’m often asked about different supplements (like Arginine) available from mainstream sports nutrition brands. Individual amino acids such as Arginine can often seem a bit scary and strange to be taken in isolation. For that reason, I decided to do a series of blog posts on a few of the most common that people ask about so you can decide whether or not they are worth taking for you.


Arginine is an amino acid that enhances nitric oxide (NO) production among other things. NO helps improve blood flow to exercising muscles which in turn increases the delivery of nutrients that the blood transports to the muscles including oxygen and hormones. Arginine has also been linked to reducing healing time of injuries, particularly bone, as well as speeding up general repair time of damaged tissues. This is thought to be due to its function of aiding blood flow as well as its actions on the pathways that regulate growth and metabolism.

Arginine has also been linked to growth hormone level improvements as well as muscle size and strength increases.

Animal sources

Arginine is common in dairy sources such as whey protein, cottage cheese, ricotta, milk and yogurt. Meats such as beef, bacon, ham, chicken and turkey, and seafood like prawns, lobster, salmon and tuna..

Plant sources

Everyday foods like granola and oatmeal are good sources, along with peanuts, pecans, cashews, walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts and hazelnuts. Pumpkin, sesame and sunflower seeds are all good sources too along with chickpeas, cooked soybeans and coconuts.

How to take supplement

3-5g (or manufactures dosage) 3 times a day or one dose 30-40mins pre-exercise.


Muscle building, strength gain and wound/injury healing.

Be aware!

It is apparently common to feel a bit more vascular after taking Arginine, so don’t be worried if you look in the mirror and see a few more veins staring back in the reflection! If you like them, great. If you don’t, they will go down!

Make sure you are well armed. – One of the most important things to arm yourself with when heading to a training session is a PLAN. – Far too many people head to a session, gym, outdoors, pool etc and have no idea of what they are going to do until they get there. This is better than sitting on the sofa all day yes, but compared to a well thought out session, it is likely to be lacklustre and less specific. – By planning you can ensure you train the various muscles/movements fairly and evenly. You can also ensure you set a hard enough session to get you to that failure point rather than leaving a movement just at the critical point. – You can always change a plan on the day. Flexibility is key, but at least go with a plan, ideally that is part of a larger overall programme and really reap the rewards. – Check out the various programmes and training plans I have at More will be added in the coming weeks to do keep an eye out. Photo: @surbs

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Sean Lerwill - Author

Sean is an former-Royal Marines Commando Officer & Physical Training Instructor. He has been published as a writer five times, has a BSc in Molecular Genetics and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education. He is also a Maximuscle ambassador.

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