6 Nitric Oxide Benefits for Cardio Health and Training Performance

For power athletes, bodybuilders, and on a regular basis health lovers alike: nitric oxide has entered the chat. What’s nitric oxide? The straightforward reply is that it’s a fuel that already exists in your physique, and it could have an effect on essential capabilities — together with blood movement.

Analysis and science over the past twenty years level to plenty of well being advantages of nitric oxide for athletes and non-athletes. Since this fuel impacts your blood movement, it’s been linked to muscle gain and diminished soreness after understanding — each essential elements of your coaching. To not point out, this fuel may increase mind well being and assist decrease your blood strain.

A muscular person holding supplement capsules.
Credit score: mrbigphoto / Shutterstock

You possibly can improve your nitric oxide ranges naturally and thru supplements. However what does nitric oxide do to your physique, precisely? When you’re trying to study nitric oxide for understanding and different health-related nitric oxide makes use of, you’ve come to the fitting place.

Editor’s Observe: The content material on BarBend is supposed to be informative in nature, nevertheless it shouldn’t be taken as medical recommendation. When beginning a brand new coaching routine and/or weight loss plan, it’s all the time a good suggestion to seek the advice of with a trusted medical skilled. We aren’t a medical useful resource. The opinions and articles on this web site usually are not supposed to be used as analysis, prevention, and/or remedy of well being issues. They don’t seem to be substitutes for consulting a certified medical skilled.

What Is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide is a fuel and a free radical that exists naturally in your physique. (1) It’s an essential part of your vasculature and has a direct impression in your blood movement. (2)

What Does Nitric Oxide Do?

Nitric oxide suppresses cell irritation and adhesion, limits blood vessel constriction, and promotes new vessel formation. (2) This widening of the blood vessels helps to extend vasodilation — in any other case referred to as blood movement. This has been proven to assist to decrease blood strain and improve brain health, as effectively. (3)(4)

The nitric oxide impact of accelerating blood movement led scientists to analysis the hyperlink between nitric oxide and train since blood movement is important to coaching and hypertrophy. Right here’s what occurs within the physique to create nitric oxide, and how one can harness that energy to boost your training.

Nitric Oxide within the Physique

Endogenous, or naturally occurring, nitric oxide is fashioned within the physique from the precursors L-arginine (an essential amino acid) and nitrate. L-citrulline, a non-essential amino acid, is a precursor for L-arginine. (5) You may know these helpful amino acids from the muscle-building supplements that you simply pop into your pre-workout.

When you’re dedicated to the vitamin facet of muscle-building, you could already take note of amino acids. L-arginine and L-citrulline, together with 18 different amino acids, make up muscle protein. Amino acids are important to muscle protein synthesis — therefore why they hold displaying up in bodybuilding dietary supplements. (6

Nitric Oxide Meals Sources

Since nitric oxide is a fuel that’s created in your physique, you possibly can’t take nitric oxide. However you possibly can assist improve ranges by ingesting the mandatory precursors — nitrate, L-arginine, and L-citrulline. You will get a natural nitric oxide booster by way of complete meals and drinks. You can too take dietary supplements to extend nitric oxide as a result of they comprise these amino acids.

Beets and beets juice, a good source of nitric oxide.
Credit score: istetiana / Shutterstock

Under are some pure sources of nitrates, L-arginine, and L-citrulline to extend and encourage nitric oxide manufacturing in your physique.

Nitric Oxide Dietary supplements

Nitric oxide supplements are available many alternative kinds. You will get nitric oxide powder to combine into your smoothies. Available on the market, additionally, you will discover nitric oxide drugs, nitric oxide tablets, and nitric oxide nutritional vitamins.

Do not forget that you can not really take nitric oxide straight into your physique. You possibly can all the time examine the substances in nitric oxide dietary supplements to make sure that they embody L-citrulline and L-arginine, the amino acids wanted to assist increase nitric oxide in your physique. (5)

Potential Advantages of Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide within the physique helps to widen blood vessels. It’s been proven to have a notable function in controlling vasodilation, blood fee, and mitochondrial respiration. (10) These processes could have a direct impression on train efficiency, blood strain, and cardiovascular and mind well being.

Let’s take a deeper dive into every of those potential nitric oxide advantages to search out out extra.

Could Enhance Train Efficiency

A evaluate of nitric oxide and its role in exercise physiology argues that train and nitric oxide have a constructive relationship. (10) In different phrases: extra train, extra nitric oxide. 

However precisely what does nitric oxide do for understanding? Nitric oxide helps to extend blood movement, and blood movement sends vitamins and oxygen to your muscle groups throughout strength training. In flip, this may also help you get probably the most out of your program. 

Nitric oxide additionally helps to chill out vascular clean muscle and dilation, which can increase skeletal muscle efficiency, hypertrophy, and strength adaptations. (5

Some proof exhibits that nitric oxide might also improve high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and longer-duration cardio train as a result of elevated blood movement. (11)(12)

Could Support In Hypertrophy

What’s nitric oxide used for in bodybuilding? All that wholesome blood movement and vascularity could aid you practice longer and more durable. This will have a internet constructive impact on hypertrophy training in the long term. 

When bodybuilders are grinding out these gradual, eccentric units of biceps curls, the elevated blood movement could assist hold their muscle groups swelling by way of the top of their session.

A muscular person working out with dumbbells.
Credit score: Chutimun Kasun / Shutterstock

Nevertheless, it is a principle that hasn’t been absolutely confirmed. One research of the impact of citrulline dietary supplements on upper-body resistance exercise on resistance-trained cisgender males didn’t straight join the supplementation to hypertrophy. (13)

The science nonetheless holds that blood movement supply to your muscle groups is crucial throughout train. (14) However, whether or not or not nitric oxide for muscle growth is a direct impact stays half of a bigger image of your training over time

Could Lower Muscle Soreness

One of many different advantages of nitric oxide dietary supplements is restoration.

With coaching usually comes delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS), and nitric oxide could assist to lower it. Research have proven blended outcomes, and extra analysis is required. Nevertheless, a 2020 research investigated the impact of nitric oxide precursor substances with different vitamins on the flexibility to extend nitric oxide ranges and recovery after acute train. (15)

The research confirmed that taking the nitric oxide complement — along with different nutrition and coaching methods — improved the recovery of the athletes by accelerating lactate excretion from their our bodies. (15) The research concludes that nitric oxide can have a constructive impact on train efficiency and restoration. (15)

It’s not a direct hyperlink between nitric oxide dietary supplements and decreased DOMs. Nonetheless, together with nitric oxide dietary supplements with different coaching, vitamin, and restoration practices may also help clear your blood of lactic acid — which is commonly linked to post-exercise soreness.

Could Decrease Blood Strain

Apart out of your skeletal muscles, nitric oxide has a significant impact on one other muscle — your coronary heart. The way in which that nitric oxide works in your physique causes it to decrease your blood strain. 

After it’s produced, nitric oxide diffuses into clean muscle groups and causes them to chill out. This ends in vasodilation, which reduces systolic blood strain whereas rising blood movement and oxygen supply. (16) A research confirmed {that a} single dose of a nitric oxide supplement considerably decreased each systolic and diastolic blood strain after 20 and 60 minutes. (16)

Docs will usually prescribe nitric oxide dietary supplements to people with hypertension. When you’re questioning should you can take nitric oxide with hypertension, it’s all the time finest to seek the advice of along with your doctor.

Could Shield Cardiovascular Well being

Nitric oxide is alleged to be integral to regulating blood strain and sustaining a wholesome cardiovascular system. Nitric oxide deficiency is related to the event of hypertension and different types of cardiovascular (CV) illness. (16) It performs an essential function within the prevention of the onset and development of CV disease. (17)

Atherosclerosis is among the primary underlying circumstances that trigger CV ailments, and it’s related to endothelial dysfunction — or constricted blood vessels. (17) Since nitric oxide widens blood vessels, it could assist forestall these circumstances.

Could Enhance Mind Well being

Nitric oxide improves blood movement to your skeletal muscle groups when understanding, your coronary heart for total cardiovascular well being, and yet one more main organ — your brain. Nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter and has been discovered to induce cognitive behavior in experiments on animals. (4)

A research discovered that L-arginine (a precursor for nitric oxide) could play a key function within the remedy of age-related degenerative ailments together with Alzheimer’s. It additionally could also be efficient at stopping cognitive problems brought on by epilepsy and diabetes. (4)

Nitric Oxide Myths

There’s loads of misinformation about what nitric oxide is and what it does. Let’s check out some widespread myths.

Fantasy: Nitric Oxide Is a Drug

Nitric oxide is commonly confused with nitrous oxide, or the “laughing fuel” you may get at the dentist or for different surgical procedures. It’s not the identical factor. 

Whereas they’re each chemical compounds made from nitrogen and oxygen, they’ve totally different numbers of nitrogen atoms. This refined however vital distinction offers the compounds vastly totally different chemical properties and impacts on the physique.

Fantasy: Nitric Oxide Is a Good Pre-Exercise

Since nitric oxide could improve exercise performance, athletes could surprise: is nitric oxide pre-workout? Keep in mind that you may’t really take nitric oxide. That mentioned, many pre-workout dietary supplements do embody precursors to nitric oxide, together with L-citrulline and L-arginine. 

When you’re searching for elevated emotions of power and diminished fatigue from your pre-workout, nitric oxide dietary supplements alone in all probability received’t ship. However you possibly can reap the potential nitric oxide complement advantages by selecting a pre-workout that features these amino acids as precursors.

Fantasy: Nitric Oxide Is Secure

Whether or not or not nitric oxide is “protected” will differ for every particular person, and it’s best to all the time seek the advice of along with your doctor earlier than attempting one thing new. Can nitric oxide be dangerous? It relies upon. It could work together with sure medicines, and it’s typically not really useful for people with kidney illness. 

Moreover, nitric oxide dietary supplements, like all dietary dietary supplements, don’t should be regulated by the FDA (Meals and Drug Administration) to be bought.

Potential Drawbacks of Nitric Oxide

Though nitric oxide has potential advantages, it has potential drawbacks as effectively.

Nitric Oxide Complement Aspect Results

Nitric oxide dietary supplements, like every dietary supplements, could trigger side effects. Some customers report experiencing blurry imaginative and prescient, dizziness, fainting, slow heartbeat, diarrhea, stomach ache, nausea, and headache.

May Decrease Blood Strain Too A lot

Though nitric oxide’s capability to decrease blood strain is a possible profit for people with hypertension, it’s a possible downside for people who’ve decrease blood strain. It’s not really useful for individuals with hypotension (low blood strain) as a result of it’s attainable to decrease your blood strain an excessive amount of.

Not Sufficient Analysis

Some analysis on nitric oxide stays conflicting or inconclusive. Different analysis stays centered on a particular inhabitants — cisgender males who’re experienced lifters

A person slicing beets, and using a laptop.
Credit score: taranova oxana / Shutterstock

Increasing analysis on nitric oxide to give attention to populations like trans and nonbinary people, inexperienced lifters, cisgender girls, and folks of coloration can present extra insights into how dietary supplements impression the physique.

It’s Not Nitrous

Whilst you could giggle once you get nitrous fuel on the dentist, it’s not the identical because the naturally occurring fuel, nitric oxide. You possibly can increase nitric oxide ranges in your physique by including in additional nitrates, L-arginine, and L-citrulline by way of your diet or dietary supplements. 

Nitric oxide widens blood vessels and will increase blood movement all through your physique to your skeletal muscle groups, heart, and mind. This will translate into improved train efficiency and restoration, decrease blood strain, and elevated cardiovascular and brain health. However we nonetheless want extra analysis on extra numerous populations.

This analysis will assist flesh out the direct hyperlink between nitric oxide dietary supplements and the advantages they could present. With that analysis, your coaching and complement sport might actually take off.


  1. Bruckdorfer R. The fundamentals about nitric oxide. Mol Features Med. 2005 Feb-Apr;26(1-2):3-31.
  2. Ghimire Ok, Altmann HM, Straub AC, Isenberg JS. Nitric oxide: what’s new to NO? Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2017 Mar 1;312(3):C254-C262. 
  3. Kapil V, Khambata RS, Robertson A, Caulfield MJ, Ahluwalia A. Dietary nitrate supplies sustained blood strain decreasing in hypertensive sufferers: a randomized, section 2, double-blind, placebo-controlled research. Hypertension. 2015 Feb;65(2):320-7.
  4. Paul V, Ekambaram P. Involvement of nitric oxide in studying & reminiscence processes. Indian J Med Res. 2011 Could;133(5):471-8. 
  5. Gonzalez AM, Townsend JR, Pinzone AG, Hoffman JR. Supplementation with Nitric Oxide Precursors for Energy Efficiency: A Overview of the Present Literature. Vitamins. 2023 Jan 28;15(3):660.
  6. Wolfe RR. Branched-chain amino acids and muscle protein synthesis in people: fable or actuality? J Int Soc Sports activities Nutr. 2017 Aug 22;14:30.
  7. Dos Santos Baião D, Vieira Teixeira da Silva D, Margaret Flosi Paschoalin V. A Narrative Overview on Dietary Methods to Present Nitric Oxide as a Non-Drug Cardiovascular Illness Remedy: Beetroot Formulations-A Sensible Dietary Intervention. Meals. 2021 Apr 15;10(4):859. 
  8. Kurtz TW, DiCarlo SE, Pravenec M, Morris RC. Useful meals for augmenting nitric oxide exercise and lowering the chance for salt-induced hypertension and heart problems in Japan. J Cardiol. 2018 Jul;72(1):42-49.
  9. Kobayashi J, Ohtake Ok, Uchida H. NO-Wealthy Weight loss plan for Life-style-Associated Ailments. Vitamins. 2015 Jun 17;7(6):4911-37. 
  10. Oral O. Nitric oxide and its function in train physiology. J Sports activities Med Phys Health. 2021 Sep;61(9):1208-1211. 
  11. Wylie LJ, Mohr M, Krustrup P, Jackman SR, Ermιdis G, Kelly J, Black MI, Bailey SJ, Vanhatalo A, Jones AM. Dietary nitrate supplementation improves group sport-specific intense intermittent train efficiency. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2013 Jul;113(7):1673-84. 
  12. Lansley KE, Winyard PG, Fulford J, Vanhatalo A, Bailey SJ, Blackwell JR, DiMenna FJ, Gilchrist M, Benjamin N, Jones AM. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 price of strolling and operating: a placebo-controlled research. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2011 Mar;110(3):591-600.
  13. Gonzalez AM, Spitz RW, Ghigiarelli JJ, Promote KM, Mangine GT. Acute Impact of Citrulline Malate Supplementation on Higher-Physique Resistance Train Efficiency in Recreationally Resistance-Educated Males. J Energy Cond Res. 2018 Nov;32(11):3088-3094. 
  14. Trinity JD, Broxterman RM, Richardson RS. Regulation of train blood movement: Function of free radicals. Free Radic Biol Med. 2016 Sep;98:90-102. 
  15. Mor A, Yılmaz AK, Acar Ok, Birinci MC, Ipekoglu G. Does Nitric Oxide Consumption Have an effect on Put up-Train Restoration in Athletes? A Examine on Cocoa, Caffeine and Nitric Oxide Complement: Impact of Nitric Oxide Consumption in Athletes. Progr Nutr [Internet]. 2020 Sep. 30
  16. Houston M, Hays L. Acute results of an oral nitric oxide complement on blood strain, endothelial perform, and vascular compliance in hypertensive sufferers. J Clin Hypertens (Greenwich). 2014 Jul;16(7):524-9. 
  17. Naseem KM. The function of nitric oxide in cardiovascular ailments. Mol Features Med. 2005 Feb-Apr;26(1-2):33-65. 

Featured Picture: mrbigphoto / Shutterstock

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