What Are Nitric Oxide Supplements? | Exercise.com Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

What Are Nitric Oxide Supplements?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for Exercise.com. He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Nitric oxide supplements are commonly referred to the amino acids, L-arginine or sometimes L-citrulline.
  • L-arginine is converted into the chemical nitric oxide and L-citrulline.
  • Nitric oxide supplements may have some benefits but more research is needed.

For those looking for an increase in stamina and endurance, nitric oxide supplements may help.

Before starting any new supplement it is wise to discuss it first with your doctor.

And always remember that supplements alone will not reap the most benefits. Exercise is vital. Sign up for an Exercise.com PRO plan today for access to certified personal trainers, workout plans, and more.

What Is the Theory Behind Nitric Oxide Supplementation?

What has been shown to happen with nitric oxide is an increased inflow of blood to the muscles. This, in turn, delivers and transports both nutrients and blood to muscles that are in the process of being strained or “working”. This is thought to help the muscles move and work more efficiently.

What happens is that nitric oxide is a free forming gas produced to communicate with other cells. In order for this to happen, enzymes in the body must break down L-arginine, an amino acid in the body.

When L-arginine is consumed through various foods or supplements, it is converted to nitric oxide and L-citrulline. This is known as Nitric oxide synthase.

Are There Short or Long Term Side Effects of Nitric Oxide Supplementation?

There may be some short term effects with some individuals. However, more research is needed to confirm these effects and if any potential long term effects may arise.

There are concerns for some when using nitric oxide that includes vasodilation, increased herpes outbreaks, and short term headaches among others.

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Vasodilation is the increase in blood flow to the skeletal muscles. The main things to worry about with vasodilation are individuals with high blood pressure and those susceptible to bleeding.

The positive outcome of vasodilation is the increase in both nutrient and blood flow throughout the body. The heart tends to benefit from increased blood and nutrient flow.

Nitric oxide supplementation has shown to increase herpes outbreaks as there is evidence that L-arginine is needed for the multiplication of the herpes virus.

Other side effects may include gout, low blood pressure, and blood abnormalities among others.

What Are Some Additional Benefits of Nitric Oxide Supplementation?

Nitric oxide does increase the blood flow to the muscle cells, which in turn may be linked to an increase of muscle endurance and strength.

Nitric oxide may also decrease muscle soreness, lower blood pressure, and manage type 2 diabetes.

For those who are looking for a little extra help in the gym, nitric oxide might help your strength and endurance but it is always best to consult your doctor first.

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