2018's 10 Best
Nitric Oxide Supplements
Nitric oxide is arguably one of the most important molecules in the human body. This gas is a nitrogen atom attached to an oxygen atom and is used by almost every cell and organ in the body. It is primarily used to help cells talk to each other to cause certain reactions to occur, but it is used for other purposes as well.
Nitric oxide supplements are often used by athletes and other adults who want to be healthy. Surprisingly, these supplements do not actually contain nitric oxide themselves. It’s a gas, remember? So instead, they have other ingredients in them that the body is able to make into nitric oxide. These products can have a wide range of health benefits. We’ve put together a bunch of information here that will help you pick out the best nitric oxide supplement.
How Nitric Oxide Works
Nitric oxide is formed in the body in two ways. The first is by using enzymes. The body takes an amino acid called L-arginine and turns it into another amino acid called L-citrulline. When this reaction occurs, nitric oxide is created as a byproduct.
The second way that nitric oxide is formed is when nitrate and nitrite are reduced. This process occurs within muscle and organ tissues when blood supply is limited. In the case of nitrate, the nitrate molecule loses one of its three oxygen atoms, turning it into nitrite. Then, it loses another oxygen atom and becomes nitric oxide.
One of the main functions of nitric oxide is to dilate and open up the blood vessels. It does this by telling the walls of the blood vessels to relax. This increases total-body blood flow and can promote healthier tissues. Nitric oxide also controls insulin production and strengthens the body’s immune system to fight off disease.
Health Benefits of Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is an important neurotransmitter that affects almost every cell in the body. The most important place that it works is in the blood vessels, but it is also critical in the organs and brain.
HIGHER ENERGY AND BETTER WORKOUT STAMINA
Athletes and people who work out often take nitric oxide to get extra energy and/or a strength boost in the gym. As your muscles get tired, the blood flow to them is reduced, and lactic acid begins to build up. Nitric oxide helps to increase blood flow throughout the body to provide oxygen to the tissues. This can help increase endurance and power during workouts.
These supplements can be even more helpful for those with diabetes, arthritis, or other health problems that limit blood flow. These conditions can make it hard for the muscles and joints in the body to warm up during exercise. This can result in excess pain or increase the chance for injury. Nitric oxide may be able to ease these issues and reduce unnecessary discomfort.
The most effective nitric oxide supplements for athletes often have nitrate or citrulline in them. Both of these compounds are able to be absorbed in the bloodstream to increase their effects. On the other hand, arginine is broken down before it enters the bloodstream, which can make it less effective.
LESS MUSCLE SORENESS
Lifting weights and exercising cause your muscles to develop tiny tears in them. The muscles also create waste products, such as ammonia and lactate. Afterward, the body heals these tissues and builds them up stronger than before to increase their strength. Both inflammation from the healing process and lactic acid build up can cause muscle pain and soreness.
Increased blood flow during exercise from taking nitric oxide supplements may decrease your muscle soreness after workouts. The extra blood can help clear out lactate and ammonia so that it doesn’t build up and cause extra soreness. It can also bring extra nutrients to the muscles to help them recover faster.
DECREASED BODY INFLAMMATION
The body creates inflammation to help heal wounds and damaged tissues. When damage occurs, the body sends extra white blood cells to the area along with other nutrients. These extra cells help speed up the healing process by creating scar tissue more quickly to close any wounds and stop the bleeding.
Health problems like obesity, high blood pressure, smoking, and high cholesterol can damage the body’s arteries and cause an increase in inflammation. But this inflammation is not the same as inflammation occurring from the normal healing process. Instead, it is chronic inflammation. This leads to a buildup of scar tissue and plaque in the blood vessels, which increases the risk of a heart attack and other health problems.
Taking nitric oxide supplements can reduce these health issues and the chance of chronic inflammation. If inflammation has already occurred, nitric oxide can help clear out and heal some of the plaque and tissue buildup inside the blood vessels.
MANAGEMENT OF TYPE 2 DIABETES
People with type 2 diabetes often do not have enough nitric oxide in their bodies. This can cause their blood vessels to break down and lead to heart and kidney issues. One way that nitric oxide supplements can help to prevent this is by increasing insulin sensitivity.
When glucose is in the bloodstream, the body releases insulin to bring it into the cells to provide energy. For those with diabetes, it is much harder to get glucose into the cells. With a nitric oxide supplement, insulin sensitivity is increased. This makes it so that the body can bring more glucose into cells with less insulin.
Nitric oxide supplements can also increase the functionality of beta cells. These cells are responsible for making and releasing insulin. These supplements can help reduce issues with diabetes, but they are not able to be used to prevent an individual from getting this condition.
REGULATE BLOOD PRESSURE AND INCREASE HEART HEALTH
High blood pressure occurs when the arteries and veins in the body are too small and the blood inside them creates too much pressure. Over time, this can lead to heart and kidney disease. Nitric oxide works to dilate the blood vessels, making them larger. This helps lower both your systolic and diastolic blood pressures.
This improved blood flow can also make your heart stay healthier and work better. Extra blood brings more nutrients to tissues to keep them healthy and heal any injuries. These supplements also often contain antioxidants. These help to get rid of free radicals within the body, which would otherwise go about their merry way trying to destroy healthy cells.
TREAT ERECTILE DYSFUNCTION AND INFERTILITY
Erectile dysfunction is when a man is not able to achieve an erection for sexual activity. This often occurs because the body is not able to supply enough blood to the proper areas. Taking nitric oxide supplements can increase blood flow and also help the muscles of the penis to relax. Combined, this can help get rid of erectile dysfunction problems.
Having low levels of nitric oxide can also result in infertility for both men and women. In men, it often results in a decreased sperm count. Problems with fertility can be compounded by high levels of stress. If you struggle with fertility problems, a nitric oxide supplement may be able to help.
What to Look For When Buying Nitric Oxide Supplements
As we mentioned earlier, nitric oxide supplements do not actually contain nitric oxide itself. For medical use, nitric oxide gas is available and can be inhaled, but this is not used by most individuals. Instead, nitric oxide supplements contain other ingredients that the body can turn into nitric oxide.
The three most common of these ingredients are L-arginine, L-citrulline, and nitrate. Arginine is an amino acid that the human body makes and is found in many foods. The body converts arginine into citrulline, and nitric oxide is created as a byproduct. There are four main types of arginine that can be used in supplements. The most popular of these is arginine alpha-ketoglutarate.
A second common ingredient is L-citrulline. Citrulline actually increases levels of L-arginine and makes nitric oxide through it. It may seem counterproductive to take L-citrulline instead of just taking arginine. However, when these are taken by mouth, the body is able to absorb a higher percentage of citrulline compared to arginine. This can further increase nitric oxide production.
The third most common ingredient in nitric oxide supplements is nitrate. Nitrates are found in many foods, such as vegetables and even drinking water. They are also used as a preservative in foods like bacon, sausages, and ham. Nitrates are turned into nitrite and then into nitric oxide inside the body. Many of these supplements use beetroot because it is high in nitrates.
A mixture of these three ingredients should be the main parts of a nitric oxide supplement. Otherwise, only some extra vitamins, minerals, and natural extracts should be added. If there are many other ingredients, it may be best to avoid choosing that supplement.
The Proper Dosing for Nitric Oxide Supplements
Many nitric oxide supplements come in powder form. Some products may also come in pills or tablets that have between one and 1.5 grams of supplement in them. The amount of a nitric oxide supplement that you should take depends on the benefits you want to see and the specific ingredients.
If your supplement contains large amounts of L-arginine, the body is only able to digest around six grams at a time. So, you should not take a dose larger than that. If the supplement contains a lot of L-citrulline, the body should be able to digest larger amounts than six grams. For supplements that contain mainly nitrate, about 500 milligrams per day should be enough.
No matter what benefits you are looking for, the dosage of supplements that are high in nitrate are very similar at 500 milligrams per day. Because of this, we will only be giving specifics for supplements high in arginine and citrulline. Often, following the instructions on the label is a good way to check that you are taking the correct dose. Here are a few general guidelines based on the benefits you wish to see:
For Energy Increase and Better Physical Performance
About six to 10 grams of a supplement with arginine or citrulline should be taken each day for benefits during exercise. This can help increase muscle growth and energy levels.
For Promoting General Health
Taking a small dose of around 1.5 grams of a nitric oxide supplement per day is best to reduce inflammation and increase total-body health.
For Heart Health, Diabetes, and Erectile Dysfunction
When using nitric oxide for these issues, you should take three to six grams per day. You can divide this up into two to three doses throughout the day if you would like.
Possible Side Effect of Nitric Oxide
>Nitric oxide supplements are generally safe for most people to use. But, if you take large doses, you could cause damage to your kidneys. This is especially true for supplements containing nitrate. Nitric oxide can also increase bleeding if you have an open wound or a bleeding disorder.
If you take supplements high in arginine, you may experience diarrhea, stomach pain, or bloating. You may also see a drop in blood pressure or your allergies could get worse. People with asthma could have their condition worsened as well. For nitrate-high supplements that use beetroot, you may notice dark red urine or stool.
Nitric oxide supplements have not been thoroughly studied on children or women who are pregnant. These supplements are also not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Because of this, these groups should not take nitric oxide.
Interactions of Nitric Oxide with Other Drugs
Be sure to talk with a doctor if you are taking other medications to make sure that there aren’t any complications. This is especially true if you are taking blood thinners or medications that lower your blood pressure. Nitric oxide supplements can compound the effects of these medications and cause problems.
Best Nitric Oxide Supplements
Our top 10 list of nitric oxide supplements is organized to reflect what you most value in your supplements. First and foremost is quality. All of our top ten supplements meet high standards of quality and come from brands with a proven record in excellence and purity. Another important factor in deciding the top ten was cost. You don’t have to pay through the nose to get a high-quality nitric oxide supplement. In addition, all the companies represented on our list have stellar records with customer service and prompt shipping. This ensures that your supplement experience is enjoyable from the first click to your final dose.
- Yvette C. Luiking, PhD, Mariëlle P.K.J. Engelen, PhD, and Nicolaas E.P. Deutz, MD, PhD 5-HTP PMC
- Gavin Van De Walle, MS Lower Blood Pressure Healthline
- Kris Gunnars, BSc Dietary Nitrates/Nitrites Lower Blood Pressure and Have Major Benefits for Heart Health Healthline
- JEFFREY TRAISTER The Supplements and Foods That Increase Nitric Oxide Production LiveStrong.com
- Monti LD, Setola E, Lucotti PC, Marrocco-Trischitta MM, Comola M, Galluccio E, Poggi A, Mammì S, Catapano AL, Comi G, Chiesa R, Bosi E, Piatti PM Effect of a long-term oral l-arginine supplementation on glucose metabolism: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. NCBI
- Luke Stanaway, Kay Rutherfurd-Markwick, Rachel Page, and Ajmol Ali Performance and Health Benefits of Dietary Nitrate Supplementation in Older Adults: A Systematic Review PMC
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