NO (Nitric Oxide) supplements have become increasing popular in recent years and now line of the shelves of high street supplement stores and dominate screen space on the web sites of online retailers.
NO products are marketed as pre-workout supplements which aid performance and cause pronounced “muscle pumps” due to increased blood flow. Many of the most well-known brands have NO supplements, from BSN’s N.O. Xplode, Maximuscle’s Pump Up, to Reflex’s NOS Fusion.
NO (Nitric Oxide) is what the body uses to communicate between cells. It is a free form gas which is created within the body when L-arginine is converted into L-citruline. Nitric Oxide is composed of one nitrogen atom and one oxygen atom.
NO is believed to control blood flow and the signalling between nerve cells. Nitric Oxide supplements simply aim to increase the level of NO in the body and therefore enhance blood flow and nerve function.
Bodybuilders desire increased blood flow during a workout, because 1) the resulting rapid turnover in nutrient delivery, and 2) increased cell hydration which is perceieved as a precursor of muscle hypertrophy (growth).
NO supplements contain the amino acid arginine. Arginine in high quantities can cause stomach upsets, diarrhoea and nausea. There are no clear guidelines on how much can be taken, so most labels found on NO supplements recommend a doage but advise the user to first try a lower dose to guage their tolerance to the supplement. It is worth remember that other supplements you may be taking, such as protein supplements, may also contain arginine, and therefore will increase your overall intake.
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