Benefits of The Supplement Nitric Oxide
There has been a lot of publicity for Nitric Oxide
in the supplement industry lately. Let's take
a closer look at it, and see what the fuss is
What Is Nitric Oxide?
Nitric Oxide is a gas that naturally occurs in
the body. It is a compound made of one nitrogen
atom and one oxygen atom. In order for the body
to create Nitric Oxide, it uses L- Arginine (an
amino acid) and a family of enzymes called Nitric
Oxide Synthase (NOS). When arginine and a NOS
enzyme come in contact with each other, the chemical
reaction produces Nitric Oxide and citrulline,
which is another amino acid.
Most Nitric Oxide supplements contain large amounts
of L-Arginine and synthetic NOS substances.
Where and How Does It Occur Naturally?
Nitric Oxide is produced within the flat endothelial
cells that line the inside of blood vessels. When
the endothelial cell is stimulated, which happens
when muscles contract, the above mentioned substances
combine and release Nitric Oxide. Once released,
Nitric Oxide goes across the endothelial cell
membrane into the adjacent smooth muscle tissue
of the blood vessels, causing them to relax and
widen. This process is called vasodilatation.
This results in an increase in blood flow to the
stimulated area, which ultimately causes your
muscles to get pumped.
Muscle Pump, Should I Care?
Why do muscles get "Pumped?" Well,
basically, the pump is one of the body's fail-safe
mechanisms for preventing a decline in muscle
function and performance. The body realizes that
it is performing work at a level that requires
more nutrients than currently available. These
nutrients are delivered by the blood. Blood, which
is the body's primary transport medium, carries
all the vital nutrients (e.g., amino acid, creatine,
glucose, and oxygen) to the muscle, which are
required for energy production, growth, and maintenance.
Blood is also responsible for taking away the
byproducts of metabolism (e.g., carbon dioxide
and lactic acid) that fatigue the muscle and reduce
The increase in the size
of the blood vessels allows more oxygen and blood
to be carried to the working muscle, which provides
a bigger "pump" and increased stamina.
The benefit of Nitric Oxide, logic would say,
is that with the increased stamina from extra
blood and nutrients, you can lift heavier weights
and more repetitions, which leads to building
bigger, leaner muscles.
Is There A Downside?
The idea is that NO expands your veins and arteries
to carry more blood and oxygen to your muscles.
This is a good thing because your muscles are
getting more blood and nutrients. That is undeniably
a good thing. Your muscles need blood, O2, water,
But here is a question for you. Doesn't your
body do this already? Doesn't your body already
pump blood containing all of these nutrients to
your working muscles? It does. If NO actually
does what it is supposed to, it widens and relaxes
your blood vessels, allowing more blood than normal
to be forced through the vessels.
Does that sound good? Is it good?
I'm not an MD, but lets put this in simple terms.
Your blood vessels have smooth muscles lining
their walls called visceral muscle. This keeps
the size and structure of the vessels intact and
functioning. NO is supposed to widen these vessels
and relax them.
Picture this: You have a water hose that water
pumps through. This would be like your vessels
having blood pumped through them. The heart is
the pump. Now, if the hose rounded and solid,
as it should be, water will flow through much
easier. Now if the hose was expanded and relaxed,
it would flatten out. That would create a huge
amount of backup on the pump, the heart. It just
doesn't seem like a good idea.
Some side effects are low blood pressure, diarrhea,
vomiting, and weakness.
This was a quote from an individual on a bodybuilding
"It does work and will produce some results
provided you have a well laid down eating plan
and steady lifting habits. Just remember, you
have to be on it for at least 8 weeks to see any
sort of results."
Does that sound credible to you? You will see
results with steady training and eating over an
8 week period. You would see results with or without
NO or any supplement.
Take a look at all success stories for supplements.
Assuming they are true, they are all accompanied
by a solid program of eating and training properly.
No real results can be directly contributed to
When it's all said and done, who really knows
if Nitric Oxide supplements actually help you
gain muscle. The supplements are just the precursors
to NO, not actual NO. The ingredients must be
present at the right place at the right time,
and then your body has to combine them to form
NO. Will consuming these powders actually combine
and form NO? They might. They might even work
exactly as they should by increasing the size
of your blood vessels and delivering more blood.
That sounds good for working muscles, but would
you like the vessels of your brain, eyes, or internal
organs to also relax and expand in size? It could
happen. Anything could happen.
My recommendation is to just go natural. If you
want to use supplements, try a protein shake and
creatine, but only when you know how, when, and
why to take them.
Just as stated above, with a solid plan of eating
and training, you will see results with or without
supplements. Save your money and potentially your
health and see what you can accomplish naturally.