The scientific name for nitric oxide is arginine-alpha-keto-glutarate (AAKG). While it’s a new product in the sports industry it has been shown to work for those who use it.

While nitric oxide might not be as effective as creatine, there are no findings of severe side effects. 

For those looking for an increase in stamina and endurance in their workouts, nitric oxide has proven to help with this.

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

A study by Baylor University’s Exercise and Sports Nutrition Lab researched the effects of nitric oxide supplementation during training. 

The study included 35 males who were already doing resistance training; some took a placebo and some took the supplement. 

There were no changes in the size of the subjects’ muscles and body mass. However, there were significant changes in the strength in those who used the supplement. 

For example one repetition in a bench press was increased dramatically in an 8 week period for those using the supplement. 

On average, users were able to lift an additional 13 pounds over the placebo group during the test.

What is the theory behind nitric oxide supplementation?

What has been shown to happen with nitric oxide is an increase in flow 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, being a free forming gas, is produced by 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 this amino acid is converted into L-citrulline, this is known as Nitric Oxide Synthase. With this happening there is an enhancement in skeletal muscular hypertrophy, performance during exercise and muscle recovery.

Are there short or long term side effects of nitric oxide?

There are no known long term side effects to supplementation with nitric oxide. However, it hasn’t been on the market very long which could be a major reason why studies haven’t shown long term results.

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

Vasodilation is considered a short term adverse effect, but it also has positive attributes as well. Vasodilation is the increase in blood flow to the skeletal muscles. The main things to worry about with vasodilation are lower blood pressure and increased bleeding. 

The positive outcome of vasodilation is the increase in both nutrient and blood flow throughout the body. The heart tends to benefit from increase blood and nutrient flow and also there has shown to be anti-aging benefits to this as well.

Nitric oxide supplementation has shown to increase herpes outbreaks for those who are predisposed. With an increase in L-arginine there also comes a decrease in L-lysine amino acids. 

L-lysine is known to inhibit herpes virus. With not as much amino acid L-lysine in the body, herpes virus seems to be uninhibited and causes more outbreaks.

Another downfall of increased levels of L-arginine amino acid is some short term side effects including:

  • Headaches
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased heart rate
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Water retention

What are some additional benefits of nitric oxide?

The benefits of nitric oxide come not only from the NO, but from the amino acid L-arginine as well. With this you can focus on what both do for the body. Nitric oxide does increase the blood flow to the muscle cells, which in turn has shown to increase endurance and strength when working out.

Some of the benefits of L-arginine in the body are ridding the body of ammonia. Ammonia is a waste product of ATP, the body’s energy source. L-arginine also helps to regulate HGH levels in the body and is a necessary component in protein synthesis.

Another benefit of L-arginine, like nitric oxide, is the ability to allow more blood to flow the muscles. This increases both energy and oxygen which in turn helps with recovery and overall strength.

For those who are looking for a little extra help in the gym, nitric oxide might help your strength and endurance. In order to utilize the supplement of nitric oxide, having the correct workout is important.