L-arginine and pine bark extract have individually showed promising results in supporting erectile functioning. Both of these supplements have demonstrated pro-erection properties through their impact on nitric oxide levels. However, when these two substances have been ingested together, the results are reported to have been magnified. To learn more about l-arginine on Truelibido, please go here, and to learn more about pine bark on Truelibido, please go here.
Why would these two supplements together provide an increased effect? The reason is probably that l-arginine and pine bark support nitric oxide production through different pathways and also impact the effect of the other, and therefore are able to create synergistic effects.
L-argenine provides the fuel for the production of nitric oxide, as l-arginine is a necessary component for nitric oxide creation. This happens whereby the enzyme nitric oxide synthase combines a nitrogen atom from l-arginine and an oxygen atom from molecular oxygen to create nitric oxide. Without l-arginine there would be no or very little nitric oxide.
Pine bark extract on the other hand increases the efficiency of the creation of nitric oxide and also prolongs the life of nitric oxide. Pine bark, or rather procyanidins, which are the active ingredients of pine bark, firstly act as a catalyst on this nitric oxide production. Procyanidins make the enzyme nitric oxide synthase more efficient at creating nitric oxide, which means that more nitric nitric oxide can be created. Secondly, procyanidins also neutralize substances called superoxide and oxidized low-density lipoprotein (LDL).
Superoxide is toxic and is created by a few different processes in the body, but perhaps most importantly, by the immune system to kill invading microorganisms. Superoxide is a free radical and reacts easily with other substances such as nitric oxide. Oxidized LDL is LDL that has reacted with a free radical. This oxidized LDL is now very reactive with other substances, such as nitric oxide. Also, when oxidized LDL comes in contact with an artery wall, it often injures the artery wall and causes inflammation. This inflammation may start a plaque forming process that can be the start of atherosclerosis.
When a larger number of superoxide and oxidized LDL molecules are removed by procyanidins, there are fewer ‘predators’ to eliminate nitric oxide from the bloodstream. As a result, the absolute level of nitric oxide will be increased.
One study investigated the effects of pine bark extract and l-arginine on men with erectile dysfunction over a period of three months. 40 men with varying degrees of erectile dysfunction were first given 1,700 mg/day of l-arginine for one month. Only a small percentage of the men reported improvements after this month. For the second month, in addition to the same dose of l-arginine, the men were given 40 mg of pine bark extract twice a day, for a daily total of 80 milligrams. 80% of the men reported that they were able to regain the ability of having erections after two months. In the final and third month the men were given the same dose of l-arginine and three 40 mg daily doses of pine bark extract, for a daily total of 120 milligrams. After the third month, 92.5% of the men reported an ability to have normal erections.
Another study on Japanese patients with mild to moderate erectile dysfunction, reviewed the effect of 60 mg/day of Pycnogenol, 690 mg/day of l-arginine and 552 mg/day aspartic acid for eight weeks. After eight weeks of taking these supplements, erectile functioning had improved, and in particular, a marked improvement was observed in ‘hardness of erection‘ and ‘satisfaction with sexual intercourse’.
A third study analysed the impact on 37 men with milder forms of erectile dysfunction of taking Prelox, a patented supplement containing 20 mg of Pycnogenol and 750 mg of l-arginine aspartate, four times daily for six weeks. The research study showed an improvement in erectile functioning with 73% of the men reporting that erections were easier to initiate, and 70% of the men reporting that erections were easier to sustain.
Other studies on l-arginine and pine bark extract have also shown similar results. In addition, studies have also reported that the combination of l-arginine and pine bark extract enhance fertility through an improvement in sperm count and sperm motility.
- When: One hour before sexual activity
- Effect on Libido: None
- Effect on Erection: Very good
- Effect on Sensation: None
- Taste: Neutral
- Verdict: A very nice supplement combination
- Noticed Side-Effects: None
When I first learned about the combination of l-arginine and pine bark extract, I had already used l-arginine for some time with mixed results. I had however at the time not tried pine bark extract by itself.
Sometimes l-arginine by itself seemed like it worked great, and other times, there would not be much of an effect. I then read a research study that claimed that the combination of these two supplements should work really well since they both increased nitric oxide production, but through different pathways, and also because the effect of taking them both together could be greater than the isolated effect from either one.
This study (and others as well) had used a relatively small dose of pine bark extract, so I wanted to start out doing the same. So about one hour before sex, I swallowed three capsules containing a total of 600 mg pine bark extract and also mixed one half-topped tablespoon of l-arginine powder (about 7 grams) with cold water. To me, both the pine bark capsules and the l-arginine powder have a neutral taste.
After taking this supplement combination, I have felt a significant improvement in firmness of my erections compared to when I have taken l-arginine by itself – my erections are harder and tend to last for longer. It also feels like the results are more reliable than when taking l-arginine by itself. That said, this combination has not always been able to produce the desired results.
I have also switched from l-arginine to a very similar supplement called l-citrulline (see write-up of l-arginine for more information) as I feel that this has produced better results. L-citrulline does not have a neutral taste, but rather tastes like citrus.
Although l-citrulline and pine bark extract has helped me getting erections, I have not noticed any increase in libido or any increase in pleasurable sensations from sex after taking this supplement combination.
When I take supplements, I typically always take more than one because the combined effect of taking several of these is typically very intense. And the combination of l-citrulline and pine bark extract is normally always included among the ones I take. When I do take supplements, I typically always also take l-citrulline, pine bark and ZMA as a base, and a herbal supplement on top of this. You can learn more about this in the section called The Solution.
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Lamm S, Couzens GS. Prelox for sexual satisfaction, a clinical trial. Study Report, 2002.
Lamm S, Schönlau F, Rohdewald P. Prelox for improvement of erectile function: a review. European Bulletin of Drug Research 2003, 11 (3): 29-37.
Ledda A, Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Dugall M, Schönlau F. Investigation of a complex plant extract for mild to moderate erectile dysfunction in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallelarm study. BJU Int. 2010 Oct; 106(7):1030-3. DOI: 10.1111/j.1464-410X.2010.09213.
Nishioka K, Hidaka T, Nakamura S, Umemura T, Jitsuiki D, Soga J, Goto C, Chayama K, Yoshizumi M, Higashi Y. Pycnogenol French Maritime Pine Bark Extract, Augments Endothelium-Dependent Vasodilation in Humans. Hypertens Res. 2007 Sep; 30(9):775-80.
Stanislavov R, Nikolova V, Rohdewald P. Improvement of erectile function with Prelox: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, crossover trial. Int J Impot Res. 2008 Mar-Apr; 20(2):173-80.
Stanislavov R, Nikolova V, Rohdewald P. Improvement of seminal parameters with Prelox: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, cross-over trial. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar; 23(3):297302. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2592.
Stanislavov R, Nikolova V. Treatment of erectile dysfunction with Pycnogenol and L-arginine. J Sex Marital Ther. 2003 May-Jun; 29(3):207-13.
Stanislavov R, Rohdewald P. Sperm quality in men is improved by supplementation with a combination of L-arginine, L-citrullin, roburins and Pycnogenol. Minerva Urol Nefrol. 2014 Dec; 66(4):217-23.