is a colorless gas, NO,
produced as an intermediate during the manufacture of nitric acid from ammonia or atmospheric nitrogen.
That’s a very comprehensive definition, but what in the world does that have to do with building muscle. According to recent research stemming from the medical arena, nitric oxide is more than an atmospheric compound; it also plays a vital role in many biological and physiological functions of the body. In light of these new findings, nitric oxide has spawned an innovative category of muscle-enhancing supplements.
How Does Nitric Oxide Function in the Muscle?
NO basically has two main tasks in the muscle. First of all, it acts as the “governor” of the muscle’s blood pressure. By relaxing the vessels leading to the muscle’s cells, nitric oxide widens the vessels allowing blood to successfully enter the tissue. The second task is to administer the energy output of the muscle. NO regulates the binding and release of oxygen to hemoglobin, thereby controlling the supply of oxygen to mitochondria (energy conductors of the cell). Together, these two processes are responsible for creating that powerful “pump” you feel while working out. The “pump” that every bodybuilder strives to achieve with every set they perform.
How Can I Benefit from Nitric Oxide Supplementation?
Nitric oxide is a short-lived molecule. It only exists for approximately six to ten seconds, but engaging in nitric oxide supplementation can increase the amount of time that the blood vessels are widened and the amount of oxygen that is supplied to the muscle. And, instead of only feeling the powerful “pump” for a limited time, it may increase the amount of time that your body is in this “heightened” state possibly leading to gains in size and strength.
What Should I Look for in a Nitric Oxide Supplement?
An ideal nitric oxide supplement contains three grams of arginine from either L-arginine or arginine alpha-ketoglutarate (A-AKG) per serving. Arginine is the amino acid, which through the process of nitric oxide synthesis releases NO into the body. Whether it is in a ready-to-drink or caplet form, look for a product that provides three grams of arginine from either of these sources.