Health & Habits
5 Ways Nitric Oxide Supplements Boost Your Health and Performance
Posted January 27, 2021
Not many people know about nitric oxide, but it’s been called a “miracle molecule,” and plays a critical role in our overall health and performance. Nitric oxide (NO) is what’s known as a biological regulator, and primarily keeps our blood vessels flexible to increase blood flow. Cells in our arteries and veins produce it to help our 50 trillion cells communicate with each other, regulating the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. It’s most important function is “vasodilation” - or increasing blood flow - which is why it’s mostly produced in the lining of blood vessels.
Surprisingly, it was only a few short decades ago that scientists discovered the connection between nitric oxide and blood flow. They found that in the presence of NO, blood vessels relaxed and reduced blood pressure. At the time, this led to great insights and developments in the treatment of not only cardiac patients but also those with essential hypertension. As more research emerged, the scientific understanding of NO’s role throughout the body grew, and in 1998 the Nobel prize for medicine was actually awarded to the 3 scientists who discovered its drastic effects on cardiovascular health.
Although it’s important to all of us, nitric oxide is particularly beneficial to athletes. Increasing blood flow delivers more oxygen and other key nutrients to exercising muscles during workouts. Increasing NO levels is increasingly becoming an important tool for recreational and competitive athletes that are looking to better manage fatigue leading to improved performance.
Our bodies produce nitric oxide in several ways. To get technical, it can be made from the amino acid L-arginine with the help of the enzyme nitric oxide synthase. It can be synthesized from sweat nitrates by our skin, and it can also be derived from dietary nitrates from the food we eat. Foods like beets, leafy greens, dark chocolate, pomegranates and citrus fruits are known to be rich in dietary nitrates.
Over the years, many benefits of NO have been more deeply studied, but here are five of the most important:
1. Improved Physical Performance
Without question, improved blood flow has long been linked to increased athletic ability and physical performance. Better oxygen delivery and nutrient availability for muscles during exertion increases their tolerance for exercise and boosts performance. Studies have reported positive effects of increased nitric oxide concentrations on younger participants engaging in physical activity.
2. Lower Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can lead to a multitude of health issues, including heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, aortic aneurysm, kidney disease, and vascular dementia to name a few. By enabling the smooth muscle cells in blood vessels to relax, NO allows the area within the blood vessels to increase to enable larger volumes of blood to flow with reduced resistance. This in turn requires less effort from our heart, reducing our blood pressure and keeping our circulatory system healthy and effective.
3. Decreased Muscle Soreness
Delayed onset muscle soreness, commonly known as DOMS, can set in up to 48 hours after intense exercise, and for some can be very painful. Nitric oxide's ability to facilitate improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to exercising muscles has linked increased concentration levels to reduced muscle soreness post-exercise. Studies have found this nitric oxide occurrence to be more prevalent in recreational and amateur athletes rather than elite athletes due to the natural increase in circulatory efficiency that comes with high levels of training and exercise.
4. May Reduce Cognitive Decline
Nitric oxide acts as a neurotransmitter, potentially impacting learning and memory function. Some studies also suggest it can help with age-related brain deterioration. Additional research also points towards the possible benefit of nitric oxide supplements that increase blood levels for the management of Parkinson’s disease and some dementias. However, these studies are few in number and require further support and study before any truly conclusive evidence can be drawn.
5. Reduced Erectile Dysfunction
Because NO increases blood flow, it has been studied in the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). The journal Future Science OA published an article in 2015 explaining that some studies have shown nitric oxide to help reduce ED in men with mild to moderate ED. One positive experience can then help to trigger higher occurrences of successful arousal, so increasing nitric oxide for ED can be hugely beneficial.
Over time, the body loses its ability to synthesize nitric oxide, and this is one of the ways in which people can develop high blood pressure and other chronic health problems. Supplementation can help with the synthesis of nitric oxide in the body, and has become more popular today - especially in the sports arena. Finding safe, effective formulas can sometimes be difficult, but Vedge Nitro Pump contains only premium-grade ingredients - such as S7™ - a low dose blend of seven plant-based ingredients that has been clinically shown to increase nitric oxide (NO) by 230%. This can aid both athletes and non-athletes alike by delivering more oxygen, fuel, and other key nutrients to muscles during workouts or everyday activities.
TRY IT FOR YOURSELF!
Siervo M, Oggioni C, Jakovljevic DG, Trenell M, Mathers JC, Houghton D, Celis-Morales C, Ashor AW, Ruddock A, Ranchordas M, Klonizakis M, Williams EA. Dietary nitrate does not affect physical activity or outcomes in healthy older adults in a randomized, cross-over trial. Nutr Res. 2016 Dec;36(12):1361-1369. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2016.11.004. Epub 2016 Nov 14. PMID: 27890482.
Kerksick, Chad M et al. “ISSN exercise & sports nutrition review update: research & recommendations.” Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition vol. 15,1 38. 1 Aug. 2018, doi:10.1186/s12970-018-0242-y
Paul, Vanaja, and Perumal Ekambaram. “Involvement of nitric oxide in learning & memory processes.” The Indian journal of medical research vol. 133,5 (2011): 471-8.
Džoljić, Eleonora et al. “Why is nitric oxide important for our brain?.” Functional neurology vol. 30,3 (2015): 159-63. doi:10.11138/fneur/2015.30.3.159
Davies, Kelvin P. “Development and therapeutic applications of nitric oxide releasing materials to treat erectile dysfunction.” Future science OA vol. 1,1 (2015): FSO53. doi:10.4155/fso.15.53
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