BETHESDA, MARYLAND. A team of American and Israeli researchers reports that oral supplementation with the amino acid l-arginine is highly effective in relieving angina pectoris in very sick heart patients. Their experiment involved 10 men (aged between 48 and 80 years) who had all undergone coronary angiography and angioplasty with nine of them also having had bypass surgery prior to enrollment. All the men suffered from severe angina pectoris (class IV) and had frequent attacks at rest and at night even though they were on maximum tolerable amounts of beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, nitrates, and aspirin. After initial blood sampling the study participants were given nine grams of l- arginine daily for a three-month period. Seven of the 10 patients improved very significantly after one month (from angina pectoris functional class IV to class II) and their improvement was consistent for as long as they took the l-arginine. When discontinuing the supplementation (after three months) their condition reverted back to the original class IV condition. One of the remaining patients improved to class III while no improvement was noted in two patients. All patients showed significant decreases in cell adhesion molecules and cytokine levels and none reported any side effects from the supplementation. The researchers recommend a large, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover study to confirm their findings, but do conclude that l-arginine supplementation may be of benefit in the case of very sick angina patients.
Blum, Arnon, et al. Clinical and inflammatory effects of dietary l-arginine in patients with intractable angina pectoris. American Journal of Cardiology, Vol. 83, May 15, 1999, pp. 1488-90