Arginine aspartate is a supplement made from two amino acids, L-arginine and L-aspartate. Though it is often sold as a metabolic booster, on its own, arginine aspartate does not appear to have any significant effect on a person’s metabolism. The compound is also sometimes used in treatments designed to correct erectile dysfunction, though clinical studies of the use of this treatment have not been conducted by official organizations.
There are two amino acids that comprise arginine aspartate. One of these amino acids, arginine, is one of the 20 most common amino acids, and a limited amount is synthesized within the human body. In order to make up for the difference between the amount of arginine needed and the amount a person is able to produce, additional arginine must be consumed. There are many foods, rich in arginine, including seafood, poultry, dairy, seeds, nuts and whole grains. Arginine is involved in a number of important processes, including healing, the removal of waste from the body, and cell division.
The other component of arginine aspartate, aspartate, is a form of aspartic acid, one of the building blocks of proteins. This amino acid is readily available in many of the same foods that arginine is found in. It is possible, though, for a person to synthesize as much aspartic acid as is needed.
Studies conducted on athletes who use arginine aspartate as a dietary supplement have not shown that the supplement has any positive effects on their metabolism. These studies also show that increasing the amount of arginine and aspartate in a person's body significantly reduces the amount of other amino acids that are found in a person's plasma. Medical professionals are reluctant to use supplements that are limited to only a couple of amino acids because the increase in levels of these amino acids can affect the balance that is normally maintained in a person's body.
When combined with pycnogenol, a plant extract found in certain species of pine trees, and icariin, arginine aspartate is used to treat erectile dysfunction. Results from a number of different studies have shown positive results in the use of this compound, which works by increasing blood flow to the penis. Though the use of this supplement has not been evaluated by government organizations, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many people claim to benefit from its use.