Nitric Oxide may fall under the long list of available supplements, but its function remains quite unique. It is what bodybuilders refer to as a "Pump" supplement. While the rest of the supplements "supply", Nitric Oxide supplements accelerate.
The two known signaling molecules are Nitric Oxide (NO) and Carbon Monoxide (CO). The latter strongly avoided for health risks, we can use NO as an artificial supplement to increase the signal output within our body. A signaling molecule is one which controls the blood flow in the blood vessels by relaxing, or dilating the blood vessels, thereby promoting greater blood flow. This means an increase in blood flow to all fatigued body muscles, faster cleanup of toxins from the body and a greater oxygen supply to the muscles that need it. This phenomenon is referred to as “Vasodilation”, which means the dilation of vessels. The body naturally produces NO by breaking down Arginine, an Amino acid, inside the blood vessels. This is because NO is chemically unstable and will get expended the moment it is produced, and therefore cannot be stored in the body for a long time. Lack of Nitric Oxide in the body will result in ischemic damage, which basically means that your veins will shrink. NO has been known to be used medically by doctors for patients suffering from pulmonary hypertension or even infants suffering from thinning veins. It can, under medical supervision and strict dosage, be used by patients for muscle relaxation.
What Nitric Oxide does for Bodybuilders
To know why bodybuilders use Nitric Oxide supplements, it is important to understand how it works. From there you will learn both – the good and bad side of NO. It is a compound that is already produced by the body, as it is one of our body’s requirements. It is needed by the body in minor quantities to carry out its processes. What this means to bodybuilders is that every time they workout, Nitric Oxide is produced by the body, carried towards all the parts under strain and ‘tell’ that part to increase blood flow to itself. This has been linked to Vasodilation, where your blood vessels widen in diameter, what we call as popped out veins. And so it has been experimented upon and found that a timed release of Arginine, mixed with Alpha-Keto Glutarate (the whole thing known as A-AKG) can be made and stored inside a pill and eaten to get an artificial dose of NO, causing vascular dilation and thereby increasing the supply of proteins to the muscles. Nitric Oxide is available in pill, powder and lately liquid form, and in plenty of pre-workout daily supplements.
In short, an adequate dose of NO will improve your blood’s oxygen delivery rate, result in a better glucose usage, increase your total power output and also accelerate your muscle growth. Not only that, NO also influences the release of Gonadotropins, which has been linked to physical growth and sexual development. It cannot be stored in the body and is disposed off if not needed. This is why it is necessary to make use of it whenever it is released or ingested, otherwise it is wasted. Also, Vasodilation will only last as long as Nitric Oxide is supplied.
After reading this, anyone wanting to start using Arginine capsules for bodybuilding should realize that Nitric Oxide only increases blood supply to muscles, not increase muscle growth. It should also be noted that the result will take time to show; it will not happen in just a week but will take longer. There have also been reports of high immunity buildup against increased doses in a short time. Bodybuilders have said that after a certain time, the supplements do not work at all. Patients who need doses of Nitric Oxide should be careful while using it if they suffer from other blood pressure or heart related diseases.
Natural Sources of Nitric Oxide
Nitric Oxide, apart from being produced in the body itself, can also be acquired through natural foods. The richest sources of Arginine are peanuts, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds and meats.
Any good thing done excessively will be bad. This includes Nitric Oxide consumption through artificial means. Common side effects include headaches, nausea and diarrhea. Extreme cases of low blood pressure have also been recorded. There are also reports that the body tends to build up an immunity to the excess NO, making its consumption redundant within a short time.
It is always a good habit to look before you leap, and the same holds true for a supplement like Nitric Oxide. At the moment the world seems divided upon the true powers of NO, between a miracle supplement for enhanced body mass gain and a complete sham. It is therefore, advisable to all bodybuilders to take NO sparingly at first, and slowly increase dose to optimum level, so that you can get the best of it. And definitely, consult your health care professional as well as your trainers before following any such routine.