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 all about.

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 performance ability.

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, amino acids...

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.

Success Stories:

This was a quote from an individual on a bodybuilding forum:

"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 the supplement.

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.




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