What is nitric oxide?
Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signaling molecule that acts in many tissues to regulate a diverse range of physiological and cellular processes. It’s role was first discovered by several groups who were attempting to identify the agent responsible for promoting blood vessel relaxation and regulating vascular tone.
This agent was termed endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF), and was initially assumed to be a protein like most other signaling molecules. The discovery that EDRF was in fact nitric oxide – a highly reactive gas – has led to an explosion of interest in this field, resulted in over 60,000 papers published in the last ten years and won the Nobel prize in 1998.
Nitric oxide has now been demonstrated to play a role in a variety of biological processes including neurotransmission, immune defense, the regulation of cell death and cell motility.
Nitric oxide has now become an extremely popular bodybuilding supplement. Nitric oxide is the muscle’s “cell-signaling” molecule responsible for blood flow (hemodilation), oxygen delivery, glucose uptake, muscle velocity, power output, and muscle growth.
Taking nitric oxide supplements has been shown to increase blood flow to the muscles. This is perfect for bodybuilders, who need the maximum amount of nutrients to be delivered to the muscles when they’re under stress. Many users of nitric oxide also report an increased “pump” during training when supplementing with nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide also affects the endocrine system. It affects the release of the gonadotroptin releasing hormone, as well as the release of adrenaline from the adrenal medulla.
The main ingredient of nitric oxide supplements is the amino acid arginine. Taking too much arginine may lead to a feeling of tiredness or weakness, diarrhea and nausea. No clear dosage guidelines have been set for supplementing with arginine, so you must assess your own tolerance levels.
Here’s how you assess your tolerance: You take a small dosage for 1 week, assess the effects and results, then adjust your dosage accordingly. Using this method will minimize side effects and help you to find your optimal dose. Each nitric oxide supplement comes with clear instructions about dosages.
Nitric oxide has been using in bodybuilding supplements since 1996. It’s available in both pill and powder form. Pure nitric oxide is usually found in pill form. Pre-workout nitric oxide based products have now become very popular. These products contain nitric oxide as well as vitamins, stimulants, creatine and vitamins. These new nitric oxide powders are now the most popular way to take NO2.