Nitric Oxide (NO) Supplements What Works and What Doesn't

Posted: Tuesday, 27 November 2012 by Strength&Nutrition24/7 in Labels: ,

Everyone wants to improve their performance, get bigger, and stronger faster. One way that has caused an explosion in the supplement industry is rooted in scientific theory. The theory goes as such increasing blood flow to working muscles by way of vasodilation may increase work capacity during both aerobic and anaerobic performances. Also, it may enhance recovery through increased nutrient delivery. Due to these potential benefits the supplement companies grabbed on to the semi-essential amino acid L-arginine because it can be converted to nitric oxide (NO) via NO synthase. NO is responsible for vasodilation. The supplement companies developed a vast market of NO products with L-arginine as the primary ingredient without any human trials being done. The NO supplements continue today to be one of the leading forces in the supplement industry.

Unfortunately, for all the individuals who are currently spending a fortune on these NO products, they are useless. Research has demonstrated that none of the claims that the supplement companies are telling you are true. Rather, all the gains that are being obtained through the ingestion of these NO products are purely associated to the placebo effect (psychological). Interestingly, all the benefits that have been promised can be found in a vegetable juice. The results that have come back from the ingestion of beetroot juice are very impressive. Beet root juice effectively raises NO levels on acute intake (taken 2.5 hours prior to training) and has a powerful accumulative effect when taken on a daily basis. When it came to L-arginine most studies found no improvement in blood nitrate levels, with the exception of one study which found a 5-6% increase; however, when beat root juice is taken for 6 consecutive days a 25% increase in NO levels occurs. Further, when taken for 15 consecutive days, a 46% increase in blood NO levels occurred.

How it works 

Benefits in point form:
Acute dose improves the following for 5 hours

  • muscle contractility
  •  hypoxic vasodilation resulting a reduction in blood pressure
  •  a reduction in 02 cost during exercise (without increase in lactate accumulation)
  • modulation of muscle contraction and glucose uptake
  •  and reduced breakdown of PCr (improving participants time to exhaustion)

Taken for 4-6 days the following improvements occur:

  • All of the above improvements at a greater level plus
  • Improvement in exercise tolerance by up to 16% in aerobic
  • Improvement in exercise tolerance by up to 25% in anaerobic

After 15 days of ingestion

  • All the above and the following 
  • Significant reduction in blood pressure rise during exercise 
  • Reduction in oxygen demand without an increase in lactate production 
  • Improves time to exhaustion 

NO supplements with their basis in L-arginine are ineffective and are a waste of your money. Rather, supplementing with the ingestion of beat root juice has been found to improve muscle contractility, hypoxic vasodilation resulting a reduction in blood pressure, a reduction in 02 cost during exercise (without increase in lactate accumulation), modulation of muscle contraction and glucose uptake, and reduced breakdown of PCr (improving participants time to exhaustion). Research has found this by having 500 ml of beat root juice consumed 2.5 hours prior to training on a daily basis. It is speculated that BR consumption may result in a grater adaptive response to training due to an increase in the volume and/or intensity of work completed during such a session. However, one should note that “prolonged use of high doses of nitrate-rich substances is advised for these results, but the safety of such practices has not been researched and established yet, especially when combined with other ergogenic aids.”


  1. annidug says:

    I have heard many times about the Nitric oxide. I knew people consider this ingredient when they are looking to buy supplements but never was aware that it is so much important. I will say it as must have product if you want to have a great body.