Nitric Oxide for Bodybuilding: Benefits and Side Effects

Trying to get into shape is a noble but difficult endeavor. There is a lot of conflicting information and downright lies concerning supplements and diet additions. I am going to tell you that there is no magic bullet for weight loss and muscle building. There is, however, supplements that can help your body bounce back from exercise and build muscle more efficiently. One of the best supplements available is Nitric Oxide (NO).

What is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric Oxide, also known as Nitrogen Monoxide, is a free radical molecule that is a by-product of the combustion of substances in the air. It is produced naturally by the electrical discharges of lightning and artificially by car exhaust and manufacturing.

Nitrogen Oxide is an important biological regulator within the body. It is used by the inner lining of your blood vessels to signal the surrounding smooth muscle to relax which increases blood flow. In a nutshell, Nitric Oxide works as a vasodilator within the body decreasing blood pressure and improving blood flow to the cells. The gas dilates the veins allowing blood to flow more freely within them. This does not lower heart rate, but it does decrease the amount of constriction that the heart has to make in order to pump the blood where it needs to go. This results in less strain on the heart and more oxygen to the muscle tissue during exercise. You can do more muscle building reps with an increase of NO in your body.

Benefits of Nitric Oxide while exercising

In order to build muscle mass, you have to strain the muscle you are attempting to build. While doing this, you will notice a quick decrease in the amount of movements you are able to make with the muscle you are building. This restriction is due to the fact that your body is not able to get oxygen to your muscles as quickly as you are using it. The effect is the burning sensation and inability to continue using the muscle until the oxygen levels in the muscle cell regulates. Nitric Oxide supplements give your body more NO than it normally would have from natural sources. This causes the dilation of the arteries allowing for blood to flow more freely and quickly to the muscle tissue. You therefore are able to do more reps than you were previously.

Nitric Oxide also assists in the rebuilding of damaged muscle tissue. If you push things to far at the gym and injury your muscle, the addition of NO can help your body deliver more oxygen to the site. It also helps shorten recovery time from injury because it enhances the ability to produce growth hormones that heal the muscle.

Side Effects of Nitric Oxide

When taking Nitric Oxide as a supplement, it is usually delivered into the body in the form of amino acid L-Arginine. This is a naturally occurring substance in the body and the foods we consume. Your body transforms Arginine into Nitrogen Monoxide using the enzyme nitric oxide synthase. Despite its natural origins, there are some side effects to be aware of when taking Nitric Oxide. These include:

  • Electrolyte imbalance can occur if your kidneys are not functioning correctly. Do not take Nitric Oxide if this is the case.
  • Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.
  • Tremors and profuse sweating.
  • Low blood pressure caused by the vasodilatation.
  • Breathing problems occur in cases of allergic reaction and should be handled by a physician.

Taking any supplement has its drawbacks. It is important to know how much your body needs and to not overdo it. Moderation is the best advice when considering Nitric Oxide. It is also a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any new supplement.

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