We investigated whether dietary supplementation with L-arginine, the endogenous precursor of nitric oxide, might affect serum lipid levels and activities of intestinal mucosa enzymes in animals, in which diabetes was induced by administration of streptozotocin. Control and diabetic rats were fed diets with or without 2% L-arginine supplementation for 4 weeks. Diabetic rats had significantly higher concentrations of serum triglycerides and LDL-cholesterol than control rats. These alterations were partially reduced by L-arginine supplementation. Experimental diabetes did not influence the lactase and leucine aminopeptidase activity in the intestine, but the activity of alkaline phosphatase was increased. Furthermore, activities of maltase and sucrase in the intestinal mucosa were elevated in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats and were restored to control levels after dietary L-arginine supplementation. On the basis of the present experimental evidence, dietary L-arginine supplementation appears to affect the metabolism of lipoproteins and might alleviate some gastrointestinal dysfunctions, commonly seen in diabetes mellitus.