You may have heard that nitric oxide supplements can help you build muscle, but is this true? Many nitric oxide supplement brands claim that their products enhance endurance, boost workout performance, and even improve sexual performance.
Nitric oxide is a natural gas that is found in our bodies. It is responsible for our blood flow. Therefore, nitric oxide boosters or supplements aim to produce more nitric oxide in our bodies to improve our workouts. Ingredients that boost nitric oxide in the body are found in a lot of pre-workout mixes.
The research on nitric oxide boosters is mixed. This article discusses nitric oxide boosters, whether or not they work, and if you would benefit from them or not.
What Is Nitric oxide?
Not to be confused with nitrous oxide, the laughing gas, nitric oxide is a naturally occurring gas in our bodies that helps with blood flow.
Nitric oxide boosters
When you take nitric oxide supplements, the amount of nitric oxide in your blood should increase, which helps you gain muscle and reduce fatigue during workouts.
Nitric oxide supplements are not a magic pill that will enhance your workout. Most nitric oxide supplements do not actually contain nitric oxide. They most likely contain another compound – L-arginine.
Other booster supplements that claim to boost nitric oxide production may contain ingredients that are not regulated. Supplements and boosters that have not been regulated may not be efficient at what they claim to do. They may also be unsafe to take.
L-arginine is involved in nitric oxide production, but it is not clear whether taking supplements with this compound increases nitric oxide production in the body. And if L-arginine does help your body produce nitric oxide, it is also not clear whether this effectively helps you gain muscle.
Why take nitric oxide supplements?
The primary purpose of nitric oxide in the body is to promote blood flow. Proper blood flow is essential for multiple functions in the body, including controlling blood pressure and maintaining erections.
Nitric oxide boosters don’t usually contain nitric oxide. They are more likely to contain other ingredients that cause your body to produce more nitric oxide. Two common ingredients for nitric oxide boosters are L-arginine and L-citrulline.
Taking these supplements or boosters is supposed to help your body produce nitric oxide on its own by stimulating the synthesis of nitric oxide.
Increased blood flow allows your body to carry more oxygen to your muscles. This can help you work out for more extended periods and speed up your recovery time. Both of these help you gain more muscle by enhancing your workout.
Some nitric oxide boosters claim to increase the size of your muscles by making them look more pronounced. Your muscles may look more pronounced when taking these supplements, but that is only because they are engorged with blood.
Are nitric oxide boosters effective?
While there is not much evidence that suggests nitric oxide boosters are effective, some studies have shown a link between nitrate levels in the blood and improved performance.
However, this does not prove that nitric oxide supplements work. Exercise increases nitric oxide on its own, so the link could be between extensive training and increased performance. Also, you can get nitrate from foods you eat like vegetables, not just from supplements.
Some studies have shown that nitric oxide supplements are better for those who do not have a tolerance for exercise, meaning those who are out of shape or have not been moderately trained. Those who are highly trained and have a tolerance for exercise do not benefit as much from taking nitric oxide supplements.
Are there any side effects to taking nitric oxide supplements?
High amounts of nitric oxide in the blood can put your kidneys at risk, which could reduce your workout performance.
It is best to start out by taking a low dosage of nitric oxide boosters. However, if you are prone to hypertension or low blood pressure, you should not take nitric oxide supplements.
Nitrate in beetroot juice
Some studies have shown that nitrate found in beetroot juice increases endurance. Beets themselves are a great source of nitrates, therefore beetroot juice may have an impact on nitric oxide levels, which helps improve exercise performance.
Beets and beetroot juice are great for increasing strength, increasing endurance, improving cognition, reducing inflammation, and improving antioxidant function. They are also good for muscle recovery and heart health.
If you are looking for a more natural supplement to improve your workouts and help you gain muscle, consider adding more beets to your diet or mixing beetroot juice into your pre-workout mix.
Nitric oxide supplements are not regulated for safety or effectiveness. It is best to be careful about which supplement brand you decide to use. Try to find a product that has been tested by a third party, so you know if they are safe and effective.