Nitric oxide (NO) is a messenger molecule that your body uses to relax and widen up its blood vessels, enhancing blood supply to where blood is needed. For example, nitric oxide is the primary factor that ensures healthy erections in men, and that’s why many NO boosters are sold as remedies for erectile dysfunction.
NO is produced by the endothelium (the inner lining of the blood vessels), so people with cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis could have sub-optimal levels of NO production. Lacking nitric oxide easily leads to high blood pressure and increased cardiovascular risk.
So, why do athletes and bodybuilders love NO boosters so much?
It’s simple: when NO relaxes the blood vessels in the muscles, they instantly start getting more blood. More blood means more oxygen, more energy, and more nutrients to work at peak performance.
What nitric oxide boosters are most often included in pre-workout blends (PWBs)?
- L-arginine is the amino acid that your body uses to produce nitric oxide. Some time ago, arginine was the most popular NO booster all around the world, but studies eventually pointed out that taking arginine as a supplement isn’t an effective way to increase your NO levels.
- L-citrulline is a superior way of boosting NO levels because, contrary to oral arginine, citrulline isn’t metabolized in the liver. Instead, it’s quickly transported to the kidneys, metabolized into arginine, and then used to make nitric oxide.
- Citrulline malate is citrulline coupled with malic acid. Your body uses malic acid to produce energy via the citric acid (aka the tricarboxylic acid cycle or the Krebs cycle), so this compound is likely even better than pure citrulline
- Beetroot extract is a perfect option for those folks who want to go for something all-natural. Beetroots are extremely rich in dietary nitrates, which serve as building blocks to make nitric oxide. No wonder that many studies report improved physical performance after taking nitrates
- Red Spinach has been found to increase NO levels in a way similar to beets although it is often touted as a stronger beetroot alternative. Many of our customers have claimed that they find red spinach to give intense muscle pumping results, however, it is still relatively fresh to the industry.
Our Favorite Red Spinach!
Do you need nitric oxide booster in your pre-workout?
Yep. No matter how you look at it, having more NO during your workouts directly leads to better performance and better blood supply to the muscles. Strictly speaking, you don’t need any fancy pre-workout blends for that—a bottle of fresh beetroot juice 30 minutes before exercise could do the trick.
To Be Continued…
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