L-Arginine

July 28, 2011

Cycle 44 of the pomalidomide trial is complete and my myeloma is still stable. IgG is down a few percent, M-spike is unchanged, and Lambda free light chains are up, but only to where they usually sit. NOT ho-hum, though – I’m always a bit nervous, because we know that the lovely ride on pomalidomide will come to an end someday. Not today though. Yay!
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I mentioned to Dr RH that L-Arginine made a significant improvement in a uniquely-male problem for me. He seemed pleased, but did caution that there is some anecdotal evidence that L-Arginine can increase the frequency of cold sores (herpes simplex). Perhaps it helps the herpes virus to replicate. In the same vein, a blog reader has commented that he developed shingles (herpes zoster) while taking 2000 mg L-Arginine daily. Ouch.

Consequently, an increased risk of cold sores and shingles outbreaks may be the price of improved erectile function through L-Arginine. Cold sores might not be such a high cost, but shingles can be very painful and, in rare cases, can even result in permanent injury. Further, we myelomiacs have an unusually high risk of shingles, because our immune systems are impaired.

Nevertheless, I’m not stopping the L-Arginine, at least not until I learn the lesson the hard way. I take a daily capsule containing 500 mg L-Arginine and 250 mg L-Ornithine. However, I also take a daily tablet of L-Lysine 500 mg, which is reputed to help suppress those viruses.

Some Current Test Results:

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