by Tony Gjokaj April 06, 2020 5 min read

What is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric Oxide (NO) is a compound composed of Nitrogen (N) and Oxygen (O). Produced in our body, Nitric Oxide causes blood vessels to widen, allowing for better blood flow. Your body typically makes Nitric Oxide as a result of the Arginine and Nitrates in your diet.

Nitric Oxide has quite a few benefits, like improving heart health and reducing exercise fatigue, and improving the time it takes for our muscles to fatigue.

Types of Nitric Oxide Boosters

There are many types of Nitric Oxide Boosters that either directly or indirectly help our body. In this section, we will discuss a few of the more known Nitric Oxide boosters, and the science behind them.

Arginine

Arginine is one of the more popularly known Nitric Oxide Booster, as it is directly produced in the body from food. Based on research, people typically get on average of 5g of L-Arginine produced in their bodies as a result of their diet.

While L-Arginine is found in some pump products, it hasn't produced reliable evidence that it directly helps (just yet). The reason for this is that ingesting L-Arginine directly has a poor absorption: as a result, there isn't reliable proof that it will improve our performance.

L-Arginine may have it's merits in consumption if you don't get enough in your body, but since most foods typically contain it, you might not necessarily need it.

L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine is a compound that is produced in the body by lysine. It is used with other Nitric Oxide boosters because it helps increase Nitric Oxide. While it is typically found in meat, supplementing with it has been shown to provide more benefits.

For example, it has been shown to reduce muscle damage through exercise. As a result, it would only make sense that it reduces lactate production, thereby improving anaerobic work.

There are a few forms of L-Carnitine, but one of the most popular ones is Acetyl-L-Carnitine (ALCAR). Acetyl-L-Carnitine is a modified L-Carnitine that has nootropic benefits.

ALCAR can bind with choline to produce acetylcholine. This means it reduces fatigue, improves attention, and aids with memory & learning processes. If used with a supplement like Impulse, you can add more synergistic benefits to it.

Here are a few recommendations when consuming L-Carnitine:

  • The standard dose for L-Carnitine is between 0.5-2g.
  • An optimal standard dose for ALCAR would be around 0.6-2.5g, giving you the equivalent of a standard L-Carnitine dose.

Beta-Alanine

Beta-Alanine is the modified version of the amino acid, Alanine. When it is taken, it turns into carnosine, which slows down lactic acid production from exercise.

It has been shown to improve muscular endurance: it helps reduce fatigue by extending the time it takes to exhaustion. Anecdotally, people have reported that it allows them to get one to two extra reps during higher rep exercises.

Here are a few facts and recommendations that you should know about Beta-Alanine:

  • It is the ingredient in most pump products that makes your face tingle.
  • A Standard Dose of Beta-Alanine is around 2-5g for performance benefits.
    • If Beta-Alanine is spread around 0.8-1g throughout the day, you may not feel the effects of the tingle.

While people hate the face tingling feeling of Beta-Alanine, it is a great supplement to have with you when it comes to intense training sessions.

Citrulline

L-Citrulline is an amino acid that improves Nitric Oxide metabolism when consumed. Citrulline is one of our favorite Nitric Oxide Boosters and for good reason: compared to L-Arginine, Citrulline is the better nitric oxide booster as it turns into l-arginine in the kidneys. This means it is more directly absorbed, efficiently improving Nitric Oxide Metabolism.

According to a double-blind study, Citrulline Malate has been shown to improve anaerobic performance and muscle soreness relief, reducing fatigue. In addition, it has been shown to improve blood flow.

Here are a few recommendations and additional facts for Citrulline:

  • There are a few variations of Citrulline, but two of the most commonly known are Citrulline Malate and L-Citrulline.
  • Citrulline Malate is citrulline that is bound to malic acid. 
    • It has some speculation of having synergistic benefits being bound to malic acid, yet we need more evidence to support this claim.
  • For circulatory blood flow, it is recommended to take 3g of Citrulline daily.
  • For sports performance, it is recommended to take 3-8g of Citrulline.
  • Typically, 1.76g of Citrulline Malate equates to 1g of Citrulline. While there isn't evidence supporting one to be better than the other, we would go by this ratio when choosing a Nitric Oxide product.

Beetroot

While not directly a nitric oxide booster, beetroot has high nitrate content which turns into nitric oxide in your body. This means that beetroot

To reinforce this, a recent study showed that beetroot can improve bench press power and strength endurance, making it a great supplement to have in your arsenal.

In addition to the Nitric Oxide slowing down muscular fatigue, the antioxidants in beetroot can also produce more nitric oxide.

  • 1/2g of Beetroots would be a proper amount for someone that is around 150lbs. Around 750mg of Beetroot would be good for the average man weighing in around 180lbs.

Why You Should Use Nitric Oxide

While Nitric Oxide Boosters might not be necessary for some, there are a few reasons why we would recommend taking Nitric Oxide Boosters.

For one, Nitric oxide boosters manage exercise fatigue or time to exhaustion. This provides you a great opportunity to get some extra reps in, especially if you're training for muscle growth or endurance.

In addition, they may make fat loss dieting a little easier for exercise. Typically when dieting, individuals consume lower carbs. This means that oxygen efficiency is reduced, making it more challenging to push through lifts in higher rep ranges.

There is some correlation to nitric oxide boosters and oxygen efficiency: they may assist with oxygen efficiency during training.

Remember that supplementation is always not necessary, but in certain circumstances, they could REALLY help.

Now You NO

What a terrible pun.

While Nitric Oxide boosters continue to be studied, we know that quite a few of them have some merit in supplementation. We believe they're even better used when it comes to fat loss dieting, in that oxygen efficiency may be decreased.

Based on current research, Citrulline, L-Carnitine, Beta-Alanine, and Beetroot seem to be the best to add to your supplement arsenal when it comes to exercise performance, blood flow and, quite possibly, heart health.

Thanks for reading Reforged Legion! If you would like a more in-depth scientific dive into Nitric Oxide boosters, we would recommend this huge article.

What other supplements would you like to see broken down and simplified? Let us know in the comments below.

Until next time Legion, stand strong!

Tony Gjokaj
Tony Gjokaj

Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He has been in the fitness space for over a decade, previously coaching individuals in body recomposition and strength training. His goal is to connect others with the knowledge they need to reach their greatest potential.


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