What Foods Contain L-Arginine and L-Citrulline?


I’ve written many articles about the need for L-arginine and L-citrulline. How critical they are for nitric oxide production. How your endothelial cells use these two amino acids to create nitric oxide, the master signaling molecule of your cardiovascular system.

Quite frankly, you could not live without nitric oxide. It’s a critical molecule in many biological functions but especially for good cardiovascular health. So, I’m often asked:

What foods can I eat that contain L-arginine and L-citrulline?

To answer that question I went shopping, bought some foods and put together the following video. Enjoy the video and I’ll have some observations to make after you watch it:

In preparing this video I came across an excellent chart that lists food sources high in the amino acid L-arginine. I’ll provide you a link to this chart at the end of this article. It was an eye opener, even for me. It changed my thinking on dairy products and it even helped me to discover the reason why Rocky Balboa was able to beat Apollo Creed in the Rocky movies. Let’s start with some observations.

Observation 1Plant based foods are a better source of L-arginine then animal products.

The chart I found lists the L-arginine content in 100 grams of food. 100 grams is just slightly less than a ¼ pound. You’ll note that if you wanted to get 1 gram of L-arginine or more in your diet, there are 15 choices for plant products but only 5 choices for animal products.

Observation 2 – Much of the literature recommends dairy products as a good source of L-arginine yet it’s listed last on the chart.

You would have to drink 44 ounces or just slightly less than 1 ½ quarts of milk to get 1 gram of L-arginine. Not good for those who are lactose intolerant.

Observation 3 – Most research indicates that for you to receive a therapeutic benefit from L-arginine you need to consume at least 5 grams of this amino acid at one time. So I selected 6 food items from the list that I thought would be common food choices. I did the math conversations to look at how much food you would need to eat to take in 5 grams of L-arginine. I also looked at the number of calories and grams of fat it would bring into your body. Here’s what I discovered and what I based most of the above video on:

Peanuts – 6 oz / .36 lb = 918 calories and 70 g of fat

Beans – 12 oz / .75 lb = 338 calories and 1.5 g of fat

Tuna – 10 oz / .63 lb = 528 calories and 18 g of fat

Chicken Breast – 15 oz / .92 lb = 756 calories and 5 g of fat

Salmon – 15 oz / .92 lb = 865 calories and 42 g of fat

Eggs (Whole, Raw) – 21 oz / 1.34 lbs = 915 calories and 55 g of fat

Observation 4 – Now you can see why weight lifters choose beans, tuna, and chicken breasts as their primary source of protein. It provides them with the proper amount of L-arginine with the least number of calories and grams of fat. Even though peanuts have a higher concentration of L-arginine when you factor in calories and grams of fat it’s not the first choice if you need to watch you weight.

How Rocky Balboa Beat Apollo Creed!

Observation 5 – This is the Rocky Balboa observation. Go back and watch the first movie and compare Rocky’s diet to Apollo Creed’s. Remember the scene where Rocky cracks open about a half dozen eggs into a glass and then drinks them raw, yoke and all. Whether he realized it or not (and I’m sure he and Sylvester Stallone didn’t) he was loading his body with L-arginine to improve his blood flow. This maximized his workout program and improved his cardiovascular stamina.

Observation 6 – There is not much of a choice in foods for L-citrulline. Watermelon is your one and only good food choice. You can read my article, “The Need for L-Citrulline!” to get more information on this subject.

When people realize all the food they need to eat, and the limited menu they have to choose from, they begin to ask the question:

Is it better to get these critical amino acids through food or supplementation?

Well, I’m putting the finishing touches on this video and will have it posted in a couple of days.

Together we can work to save a million lives!

Dan Hammer

P.S. Here is the URL for the chart I used in the information above:


Dan Hammer has a background in biology, chemistry and exercise physiology. He used to run one of the largest health club operations in the Chicagoland area and has been helping people with their wellness issues for more than 25 years.

The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only and never as a substitute for professional medical advice or medical exam. The information contained in this article about L-Arginine and L-Citrulline has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and should not be used to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease without the supervision of a qualified medical doctor.

11 thoughts on “What Foods Contain L-Arginine and L-Citrulline?

  1. Pingback: Food versus Supplementation for L-Arginine and L-Citrulline! | No More Heart Disease

  2. Losing weight without exercise is one of the most widely used statements in the weight loss industry. Is diet better than exercise? Is it possible to lose weight and keep it off without any kind of activity at all? Well, the answer to that is NO. Exercising is a very important factor and dieting alone will not help you lose weight. To lose weight you need to have caloric deficit. There are two ways how you can do that. One is to decrease the amount of calories you consume (eat less). The other is to increase the amount of calories you burn (exercise more).

  3. I was very interested in this video because I have a vasular disease and am taking Plavix. I want a food suppliment to help clear my arteries:)
    Thank you for this site

  4. Robert,
    The food supplement I recommend is ProArgi-9 Plus. It has both long and short term proven clinical results showing its effectiveness in repairing and nourishing the endothelial cells that line all of your cardiovascular system. This product helps your endothelium properly produce nitric oxide – the master signaling molecule of your entire cardiovascular system. One of the functions of nitric oxide is to keep blood platelet cells from clumping together. This reduces the risk for blood clots naturally.

  5. Dear Mens Health,
    I agree with your overall comment but for a different reason. Exercise is important because it helps to maintain or increase lean body tissue or muscle tissue. This helps to maintain your metabolism or increase it. Also, there is a third way to lose weight. The third way is a combination of caloric reduction through reduced calorie consumption with increased caloric expenditure through exercise. It is the best method. Here is an article you might find helpful:
    Thanks for your valuable input.

  6. Hello Dan,
    The product you are offering is Almost Perfect.Is this a 100% natural product?

  7. Hi Gino! Thank you for your comment. ProArgi-9 Plus uses folic acid as folate. Some would not consider folic acid to be 100% natural. And, in their flavoring system they use Sucralose in the Citrus Berry and Stevia in the Mixed Berry. Again, some people would not consider either one to be 100% natural. However, purest would opt for the stevia over the sucralose even though the amounts are at such low quanitities that the benefits of the product far outweigh any concerns. At least in my opinion. Dan

  8. One can lose weight without exercise. I believe in exercise myself – I have been a long distance runner most of my life – but that does not alter the fact that one can lose weight without it. Move to an animal free and fat free diet (Look up the name Esselstyn and read his book ) and you will lose weight and save your life.

  9. Hi Charles! Thank you for your comments. I completely agree with you that one can lose weight without exercise. The secret to all weight loss in taking in less calories that you expand. To be able to do that requires 1 of 3 actions. 1. Reduce your caloric intake by consuming less calories by cutting down your quantity of food. Or, as you suggest, changing the types of foods you eat, which can make a huge difference in your caloric intake. 2. Increase your caloric expenditure by becoming more active whether by exercising or just getting out and enjoying life. 3. Do both. Method 3 is the best method of all. Dan

  10. I just read in the Journal of Health and Longevity about Secretagogue hGH Plus. Then I went to the computer to look up where I could find citrullin and came upon your insiteful information gleaned from much research on your part. I appreciate your gift. Please compare to ProAgri-9 Plus. Thank You very much. Edna

  11. Hi Edna! Thank you for the information about Secretagogue HGH Plus. I did a Google search on this product and here is my take on how it compares to ProArgi-9 Plus. Price is about the same for each product. While the ingredients vary there are two major issues that stand out on the Secretagogue HGH Plus. First, they combine L-arginine with L-Lysine. These two amino acids compete with each other. If you are going to use L-Lysine it should be taken completely opposite from the L-arginine. For example, if you took your L-arginine supplement in the morning then you would want to take the L-Lysine in the evening. Second, their proprietary blend is only 1000 mg. The blend includes L-arginine with other ingredients. Thus, there is less than 1 gram of L-arginine. If you look at the work of Dr. Louis Ignarro, who won the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his work on L-arginine being converted by the endothelium into nitric oxide, he clearly states that you need 4 to 6 grams at one time to get a therapeutic increase in nitric oxide production. The ProArgi-9 Plus product contains 5 grams of L-arginine in every serving and the Secretagogue HGH Plus is substantially less. If you are looking for improved nitric oxide production, then my feelings are ProArgi-9 Plus is a significantly better designed product. Dan

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