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Nitric Oxide Supplements & Muscle Pumps

Nitric oxide support helps with the production a gas called—you guessed it—nitric oxide. Nitric oxide levels play a critical role in the human body. One of these important roles is signalling the smooth muscles that surround blood vessels to relax. Smooth muscle is simply a different type of muscle, compared to the skeletal muscle that we need to move our limbs, and heart muscle being the third type. The smooth muscle that surrounds blood vessel controls the rate is dilation and constriction of the blood vessels.



When the muscle contracts, it constricts the blood vessel, and when it relaxes, dilation occurs. Blood vessel dilation, also called vasodilation, leads to an  increase in blood flow to the peripheries, including skeletal muscle tissue. Nitric oxide support has become popular, as doing so increases blood supply and nutrient delivery, such as oxygen, glucose and amino acids, to muscle tissue. This may assist with exercise and sports performance. 


There are many ingredients used for nitric oxide support to boost biosynthesis of this interesting gas. Some of the most common are the amino acids agmatine, arginine and L-citrulline malate. Arginine is a conditionally essential amino acid that is used directly to produce nitric oxide, which means it is only one biochemical step away from the gas itself. This makes it a common ingredient in nitric oxide boosting products. Taking citrulline is another way to elevate arginine levels, which can then be used for nitric oxide support.



There is actually some fascinating research completed in this area, demonstrating that citrulline can elevate arginine levels better than arginine itself. This was reported in the The Journal of Nutrition in 2017. Agmatine is an exceptional amino acid that helps to stimulate activity of the enzyme nitric oxide synthase. This enzyme, unlike the digestive enzymes that break down food, has the specialised job of manufacturing nitric oxide from arginine. Therefore, agmatine can have a synergistic effect when taken with nitric oxide precursors or building blocks, like arginine or citrulline malate. 


There are many other ingredients used for nitric oxide support, such as nitrates that serve as a building blocks, and herbal extracts, such as hawthorn berries, which strengthen heart muscle contractility thus improving peripheral blood flow. 


Nitric oxide supplements are commonly used to improve muscle pumps, vascularity, and to improve strength, power and endurance. There are a wide range of flavoured and plain products available, including caffeine containing and caffeine-free alternatives.

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