L-Arginine and Blood-Flow Overload

After my friend told me about Kyani and how it helped her Lupus go into remission, as a nurse, I was of course curious about why that happened. As it turned out, the Kyani Nitro has concentrated Noni juice in it, which is full of a natural nitrate that breaks down to nitrite with saliva and stomach acid. The process produces nitric oxide, and nitric oxide dilates blood vessels, increases circulation, lowers blood pressure, and decreases inflammation (It’s the same process that makes Viagra so effective for circulation). (1)

These are all issues I have because of CREST, and they are in part what cause the secondary Raynaud’s Syndrome in my hands and feet. So I started researching nitric oxide production.

It turns out in addition to the Kyani Nitro, there are some over the counter supplements you can buy that will help increase Nitric Oxide production. One of them produces nitric oxide in a different way: L-Arginine is an amino acid that reacts with nitric-oxide-synthase enzymes to produce nitric oxide. Body builders and fitness nuts use it to reduce recovery time, as the increase in vasodilation can help heal muscle and increase oxygen disbursement. (2)

While I was learning all this, my fingers were full of painful ulcers, and I initially thought Kyani was a little bit expensive, so I decided to give L-Arginine a try. We were at the grocery store, and I found a bottle in the supplement aisle for under $20 and it would last 2-3 weeks.

I got them home and opened the bottle. The pills were the size of my pinky finger. Well, I may be exaggerating a little, but if you have any kind of swallowing difficulty, this is not the supplement for you. The maximum recommended daily dose was 6,000 mg, and I figured why not start there.

It worked. And it worked fast.   In about ten minutes or so, my hands went from white, to blue, to pink, to bright red, and my pain level went from dull throb to excruciating pulse. The vessels in my fingertips were too damaged to handle all the blood flow at once, and my fingers started to swell, stretching the digital ulcers. I don’t cry much, but the pain was unbearable.

After that, I reduced my dose to 1,000 mg a day, but that dose seemed to have about the same effect as the generic sildenafil. I could tell it was helping increase circulation, but not really enough to be helpful.   I played with the dose here and there, but to be honest I could never get it quite right. And on top of that it was hard to balance it with the Lisonopril I was taking for high blood pressure. All the increased blood flow was lowering my blood pressure, so I would skip a dose of medicine, but then my blood pressure would spike. Either it was too much blood flow or not enough.

The nitric-oxide production of the Kyani Nitro seems to be a more gradual and stable circulation increase. My guess is that it’s because it is a more natural process. Imagine you were low on sugar; it would be the difference between drinking a glass of orange juice or high fructose corn syrup. They’re both going to help energize you; it’s just that the latter might leave you doing cartwheels all night long. I can see why the extreme athletes like the stuff.

All in all, L-Arginine helped the circulation in my hands but was difficult to manage. It was incredibly difficult to swallow (which is probably the biggest reason I quit trying to figure out a good dose). If you have Raynaud’s it might not be the first choice for you . . . well unless you plan on becoming an extreme athlete too.


  1. “Plant-based Diets | Plant-based Foods | Beetroot Juice | Nitric Oxide Vegetables”. Berkeley Test. Retrieved 2013-10-04.

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