Best L-Arginine Dosage for Bodybuilding + When to Take It

L-arginine is one of the most popular supplements for bodybuilders because of its numerous proposed benefits.

But how much L-arginine should you use to maximize effectiveness? And when is the best time to take it?

These are important questions, so if you’re ready to take your bodybuilding game to the next level, let’s dive into the world of L-arginine.

What is the Best L-Arginine Dosage for Bodybuilding?

The best L-Arginine dosage for bodybuilding is between 3 and 10 grams daily.

Or so it appears.

Since the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) is not set for L-Arginine, it is up to you to decide which dose is ideal. It looks like RDA won’t be established anytime soon since much more study is required to thoroughly understand the impacts and advantages of dosing on L-arginine.

Many would advise starting with low doses, around 3 grams, and progressively increasing until you find what works best. 

A popular way of calculating the perfect dose among bodybuilders is 1.5 grams of arginine for every 25 pounds of body mass, so you can also try that approach.

Studies have shown that it is long-term safe for healthy adults to take larger amounts of L-Arginine, up to 30 grams. [1]

What Time of Day is Best to Take L-Arginine?

There is no best time of the day to take L-arginine; rather, the timing of your workout should guide you. 

It’s said you should take L-Arginine roughly 30 minutes before a workout. [2] If you take it an hour or two before a workout, its effects will wear off by the time you start.

During rest days, use L-arginine between two meals. 

It makes sense to take your daily dose about an hour after or before a meal. 

Since arginine is an amino acid, it is best absorbed when you leave a little bit of room between eating and taking the supplement.

All that said – none of this really matters because oral arginine supplementation has little to no effect on your performance.

Should You Take L-Arginine Every Day?

You don’t have to take L-arginine daily.

Scientists have found that taking small daily doses (around 3 grams) is more effective than high doses (10 or more grams) just before a workout.

Although arginine doesn’t need to accumulate in the body like creatine, an improvement in 1-RM and Vo2max tests was observed in people who ingested L-arginine every day for two months compared to those who consumed it irregularly, according to some studies.

Do You Need to Cycle On and Off L-Arginine?

Opinions are divided when it comes to L-Arginine cycling.

While some claim that you must cycle on and off L-Arginine for maximum benefits and minimal side effects, others argue it is unnecessary. 

A consensus has yet to be reached on this topic, and until a study confirms one or the other, you will find opposing advice on this topic.

That said, I believe there is no need to cycle this supplement as long as you remain in the “off phase”.

Are There Any Side Effects of L-Arginine?

The chances that you will experience L-arginine side effects are very low, especially if you consume smaller doses. This is one of the supplements with the most negligible side effects.

If you take too much, nausea, diarrhea, bloating, and other gastrointestinal problems may occur

Even if it happens, the symptoms should not be more serious.

L-arginine has not been reported to cause life-threatening side effects or require immediate medical care. 

Still, you might want to consult your doctor if you decide to jump on it.

Is L-Arginine Really That Beneficial for Bodybuilding?

L-Arginine does not appear to be that beneficial for bodybuilding.  

According to meta-analyses like this one [3], l-arginine enhances athletic performance and improves muscle growth by affecting nitric oxide production. 

This should give you a visible pump, but even more importantly, improve circulation and, therefore, the amount of oxygen and nutrients in the muscles during a workout. 

However, upon closer inspection of such studies, you can see that these “outcomes” were hand-picked to sway the end result in arginine’s favor.

Overall, little to no evidence suggests that L-arginine can benefit bodybuilders if taken as an oral supplement.

On the other hand, those who have problems with erectile dysfunction, high blood pressure, and growth hormone deficiencies could consider taking it.

Why You Might Want to Take L-Citrulline Instead of L-Arginine?

The primary reason you might want to use L-Citrulline instead of L-Arginine is its bioavailability and overall higher degree of efficacy. 

As strange as it may sound, citrulline supplementation is way more efficient at increasing arginine levels than arginine supplementation.

Unlike oral L-arginine supplements that are metabolized by the liver so much that they don’t have any profound effect on increasing arginine levels – L-citrulline doesn’t. It bypasses the liver and goes straight into the kidneys, where it is metabolized into arginine, which is then turned into nitric oxide.

That’s why using L-Citrulline can give you a bigger muscle pump and better delivery of oxygen and nutrients to muscles than Arginine.


L-arginine could be beneficial in a number of ways – just not for bodybuilding.

While arginine itself is immensely important in the nitric oxide production process, supplementing with it does not appear to yield the same benefits.

So, if you’re looking to up the arginine in your bloodstream – you should probably do so with citrulline.

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