Thursday, July 20, 2006

L-Arginine For All The Ills That Ail You

L-Arginine is a popular supplement sold on the internet for such things as (EoR chose this site randomly because it's from Australia and it gave six pages of L-Arginine supplements, but there are many many more out there)

Major energy currency. Detoxification of ammonia. Immune system health - colds and flu. Heart disease - lowers high blood pressure. Erectile and sperm function. Impotence. Build and tone muscle tissue

EoR also wonders in passing about the product whose benefits appear to be a secret, and which carries this mysterious warning in capitals:


Of course, most of these claims are not scientific ("energy currency"? what the hell is that supposed to mean?) and there is little or no evidence to back up the supposed benefits of these products. Luckily, someone is investigating the efficacy of L-Arginine, in relation to its use in Acute Myocardial Infarction. As claimed above, L-Arginine is supposedly useful for heart disease and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, the researchers found the reverse was true, and had to terminate the study when patients began dying.

There was no significant change from baseline to 6 months in the vascular stiffness measurements or left ventricular ejection fraction in either of the 2 groups, including those 60 years or older and the entire study group. However, 6 participants (8.6%) in the L-arginine group died during the 6-month study period vs none in the placebo group (P = .01). Because of the safety concerns, the data and safety monitoring committee closed enrollment.

This has led to the Therapeutic Goods Administration in Australia issuing an alert.

As a result of the JAMA publication, the TGA, in consultation with the Complementary Medicines Evaluation Committee, is conducting an immediate in-depth review of the scientific literature on the safety aspects of L-arginine before considering further regulatory action. Until such time as the safety review is completed, the TGA advises anyone who has suffered a heart attack to avoid taking medicines containing L-arginine. The TGA points out that topical L-arginine products (such as creams or ointments) available in Australia are not likely to carry the same potential risk reported for oral products.

EoR wonders when the alties will start coming out of the woodwork asserting some BigPharma conspiracy.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.