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L-Arginine Base or Arginine HCL: What's the difference?

L-Arginine is very popular with competitive athletes. The amino acid has a vasodilating effect, which improves the supply of nutrients and oxygen to the muscle cells. Many people therefore also like to use it as abooster before a workout. In one study, the intake of arginine led to a performance increase of 20%.

However, the amino acid is not only interesting for endurance and strength athletes. A study shows that it can also have a positive effect on the immune system by increasing the number of lymphocytes. Lymphocytes are white blood cells (leukocytes). These immune cells are also known as the body's guardians. Arginine also supports wound healing by promoting wound closure through collagen. People with cardiovascular disease or erectile dysfunction can also benefit from arginine supplementation. Some online sites even praise L-arginine as a natural Viagra. Another study also showed that arginine can reduce fat mass and promote muscle building. You can find out more about the positive effects of the amino acid on the body here.

L-arginine is a semi-essential amino acid. This means that the body can produce it itself and does not have to absorb it from food. However, this does not always work: for example, the amount produced by the body may not be sufficient during stress, illness or intense training. L-arginine must then also be taken in through food.

Table of contents:
  1. What is the difference between arginine supplements?
  2. L-Arginine Base or Arginine HCL: Which is better?

What is the difference between arginine supplements?

Supplements with arginine contain either Arginine Base or Arginine HCL. L-arginine is one of the basic amino acids. The term arginine base therefore stands for the pure amino acid. Such products usually contain almost 100% of the amino acid. In supplements with HCL or hydrochloride, however, the amino acid is bound in the salt of hydrochloric acid (HCL). These preparations have a significantly lower arginine content - around 70-83% of the total amount. The L-arginine capsules from Nutri-Plus consist of almost 100% pure L-arginine and contain 4500 mg per daily dose.

L-arginine base or arginine HCL: which is better

In addition to the higher L-arginine content, L-arginine base products have other advantages. The pH value is in the alkaline range, which means that the amino acid has higher bioavailability and can be better absorbed by the body. In addition, the base product is obtained from barley by fermentation and is therefore purely plant-based. Arginine HCL is obtained from animal products, e.g. duck feathers.

Further information on how L-arginine can improve your training and what you need to consider when taking it can be found here.

In addition to L-arginine, there are other amino acids that can support your muscle building. The combined intake of L-arginine and citrulline or BCAAs is particularly popular


Barbul A. et al. Arginine enhances wound healing and lymphocyte immune responses in humans. Surgery 1990; 108(2):331-6.

Maxwell A.J., Cooke J.P. Cardiovascular effects of L-arginine. Curr Opin Nephrol Hypertens;1998; 7(1):63-70.

Jobgen W. et al. Dietary L-arginine supplementation reduces white fat gain and enhances skeletal muscle and brown fat masses in diet-induced obese rats. J Nutr. 2009 Feb;139(2):230-7.