Besides helping one to build muscle and increase endurance, Nitric Oxide, or (NO) has produced wonderful benefits several different areas including, mental acuity, sexual performance, blood pressure management, cancer fighting, wound healing, symptoms due to diabetes, even hair growth!
With good reason, nitric oxide has been called the “Miracle Molecule”. This simple, two element substance won “Molecule of the Year” in 1992, as well as provided scientists working on it a Nobel Prize.
But what does that mean for you and me?
For the past few years, you may have seen those “Secret Way to Build Muscle” ads all over the Internet. Perhaps you’ve seen the ads for that “mysterious” supplement that will “help burn fat fast” or “strengthen your brain”. In fact you may see a couple of them on the right part of the screen! Many of these ads tout the benefits of N.O. or provide tools to test nitric oxide levels. The reason that you see so many of these ads everywhere is that 1)They are successful and; 2) The supplements may actually work!
You can read more about avoiding nitric oxide scams here.
There are several reputable companies that manufacture high quality nutritional supplements. However, there are only a few nutritional supplements that have been the subject of large, long term studies and have been shown to be effective. These include creatine, HMB and nitric oxide supplements.
Arginine and Citrulline
Almost all nitric oxide supplements have L-arginine and L-Citrulline in them. Some will have Arginine AKG (alpha ketoglutarate) or Arginine Ethyl Ester, but in the end, they still probably contain one or both of these two semi-essential amino acids.
Arginine and Citrulline are called semi-essential amino acids because they can be produced in the body, although, as we age, we produce ever diminishing quantities. In my opinion these amino acids are ESSENTIAL because they lead directly to the production of nitric oxide.
That being said, simply supplementing one’s diet with arginine may not be the most effective way to increase NO activity even though arginine is directly involved in NO’s creation. Other powerful supplements like agmatine and even resveratol, have been shown to increase the production of nitric oxide as well as increase the activity of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), the enzyme that generates nitric oxide from arginine.
What Does Nitric Oxide Do?
Nitric oxide is produced by three main enzymes called nitric oxide synthase or NOS for short.
- NOS1 produces nitric oxide that is used in the brain to signal between neurons.
- NOS2 or iNOS, produces inducible NO at a rate 100 – 1000 times normal. NO is poisonous to bacteria and at this high rate of production, the body uses nitric oxide as an important part of the immune system and for wound healing.
- NOS3 or eNOS, is the one that most people think about when we talk about nitric oxide. This enzyme produces nitric oxide in the inner lining of the blood vessels, called the endothelium, which instructs the blood vessels to relax. This relaxing, or expanding of the blood vessels is called vasodilation. Vasodilation helps to reduce blood pressure, improve circulation, and improve waste removal efficiency.
Nitric Oxide Benefits
NO has an incredible reach in the human body as it is involved virtually every major system. Every organ in the body can benefit from increasing blood, oxygen and nutrient flow to them! Indeed, nitric oxide has been shown to improve brain function, wound healing, weight loss, muscle and strength gain, endurance, and fight other vascular diseases. It has been shown to benefit cancer and diabetes patients as well as healthy individuals just working on their diet. There is a reason that these supplements are such a big deal. Nitric oxide supplements can improve the body’s natural ability to heal, fight disease, and grow.
Where Can I Find Nitric Oxide Supplements?
As I mentioned before, nitric oxide supplements supply the body with additional arginine, citrulline, agmatine, which are either broken down by NOS to produce NO, increase the production of NOS itself, or increase its activity. However, you don’t necessarily need to buy pills or drink mixes to get these amino acids.
Foods rich in nitrate like fish, nuts, legumes, cheese, milk, spinach, kale, beets and herbs like Hawthorne can also help supply the body with these building blocks as well as other nutrients. There are a lot of foods and even classified diets like the Mediterranean Diet, that have nitric oxide boosting foods in them. However, athletes, bodybuilders, or just really busy individuals, may find that it is more convenient and less expensive to supplement their diet with products like NO boosters. You can buy combo supplements which have several nutrients combined, or you can find simple formulations of straight aginine or citrulline. You’ll find boosters at many local shops around town including GNC. But, you will also find NO supplements at various online stores including Bodybuilding.com, SupplementsToGo.com and Vitamin Shoppe. I have shopped at all three and can recommend them for their convenience, great customer service, and huge inventory.
Nitric Oxide Side Effects?
Like any substance, too much can do damage. Most arginine and citrulline supplements recommend no more than 7 grams per day. Side effects from too much include headache, nausea, dry mouth, sleep disturbances and fatigue. Also, in order to increase the efficacy of nitric oxide supplements, as well as to provide other benefits, supplement manufacturers sometimes include other ingredients in their formulations including, caffeine, B vitamins, and binders or fillers. You can usually find non-caffeinated versions of the supplements as well.
You can learn about more nitric oxide side effects here .
Of course, before taking any supplement, consult a trained physician. Everyone’s circumstances are different.
Here are some of the more popular pages and sections on NitricOxide.org:
- Nitric Oxide Supplements
- Is eating chocolate really healthy?
- Nitric oxide and blood pressure
- NO for sexual performance
- Erectile dysfunction
- Building muscle
- Improving mental acuity
- What are nitric oxide’s side effects?
If you have any questions, please feel free to email me