Arginine intake, blood pressure, and the incidence of acute coronary events in men: the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study

Am J Clin Nutr. 2002 Aug;76(2):359-64. doi: 10.1093/ajcn/76.2.359.


Background: Evidence suggests that dietary supplementation of L-arginine, the precursor of nitric oxide, may protect arteries against atherosclerosis.

Objective: We tested the hypothesis that dietary arginine intake is associated with a decreased risk of acute coronary events in Finnish men aged 42-60 y.

Design: We investigated this association in a prospective cohort study of men who were free of prior coronary artery disease and who were examined in 1984-1989 in the Kuopio Ischaemic Heart Disease Risk Factor Study (KIHD). The dietary arginine intake of 1981 men was assessed by a 4-d food intake record during the baseline phase of the KIHD.

Results: Men in the highest quintile of dietary arginine intake (>or= 5691 mg/d) did not have a significantly lower risk of acute coronary events than did men in the 4 lower quintiles (relative risk after adjustment for potential coronary risk factors: 1.28; 95% CI: 0.85, 1.94). The covariates were age; examination years; body mass index; systolic blood pressure; serum total, HDL, and LDL cholesterol; serum triacylglycerols; urinary excretion of nicotine metabolites; maximal oxygen uptake in an exercise test; and alcohol intake. Splitting arginine intake into deciles or analyzing plant- and animal-derived arginine separately did not show any association between dietary arginine intake and the risk of acute coronary events. Arginine intake was also not consistently associated with blood pressure.

Conclusion: Dietary arginine intake is not associated with the risk of acute coronary events in middle-aged men in eastern Finland.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Arginine / therapeutic use*
  • Arteriosclerosis / prevention & control*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Ischemia / epidemiology
  • Myocardial Ischemia / prevention & control*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Arginine