Nitric Oxide Synthesis from Arginine Arginine (usually presented as AAKG - L-Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate) has been the most popular amino acid for boosting nitric oxide simply because arginine is what the body uses to manufacture nitric oxide. This reaction is performed by a class of enzymes called nitric oxide synthase’s or NOS.
What is nitric oxide and how does it work?
Some people think it's the gas that makes us laugh at the dentist office. Some think it's the fuel race car drivers use to speed up their cars. But it's neither. Nitric oxide is a molecule that our body produces to help its 50 trillion cells communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body.
Nitric Oxide is most popular in the bodybuilding community for it's ability to provide greater muscular pumps and vascularity by vasodilating blood cells improving blood flow and nutrient absorption.
Nitric oxide has also been shown to be important in the following cellular activities:
• help memory and behaviour by transmitting information between nerve cells in the brain
• assist the immune system at fighting off bacteria and defending against tumours
• regulate blood pressure by dilating arteries
• reduce inflammation
• improve sleep quality
• increase endurance and strength
• assist in gastric motility
There have been over 60,000 studies done on nitric oxide in the last 20 years and in 1998, The Nobel Prize for Medicine was given to three scientists that discovered the signalling role of nitric oxide.
Nitric oxide supplements have been quite the buzz for some years now, particularly in the bodybuilding community. This is largely because an increase in nitric oxide levels is correlated with a better ‘pump’, among other things.
Nitric oxide for athletes and bodybuilders Increasing nitric oxide has become the new secret weapon for athletes and bodybuilders. Athletes are now taking supplements with L-Arginine and L-Citrulline to increase the flow of blood and oxygen to the skeletal muscle which can augment strength and endurance. They also use them to facilitate the removal of exercise-induced lactic acid build-up which reduces fatigue and recovery time. Since arginine levels become depleted during exercise, the entire arginine-nitric oxide - citrulline loop can lose efficiency, causing less-than-ideal nitric oxide levels and higher lactate levels. Supplements can help restore this loop allowing for better workouts and faster recovery from workouts. Lets breakdown the benefits of supplementing with these very cheap additions to your supplement arsenal:
1. Increased Recovery Rates
The first way nitric oxide can help you is if you find you are putting in a great amount of effort in the gym but you are so fatigued for the day following that it's a few more days until you finally recover and are good to go again.
What this supplement does is help to support the amount of blood flow to the tissues by encouraging the smooth muscles in the body to relax, therefore allowing more oxygen delivery to get to the working muscles.
Since one of the primary factors in a speedy recovery is being sure that plenty of nutrients get to the muscle tissues after a hard workout, blood flow is really going to make a difference.
Note that you won't notice as great of results if you are not taking in a proper post-workout shake and meal to follow, but as mentioned above, once you've got that taken care of, that's when you'll clearly see the impact that nitric oxide has on you.
When you recover faster between sessions, this means more frequent weight training workouts, which typically translates to better results. Remember though that more frequent weight lifting workouts without full recovery translates to poor results and over training, indicating just how important recovery is. If you hope to workout often, you better look after this issue.
2. Reduced Fatigue Levels During Higher Rep Protocols
Another thing that nitric oxide is going to assist you with is fatigue. If you're finding that as you're going about your workout session, fatigue is a limiting factor in your workout, this is a supplement that can help.
As you perform your weight lifting exercises, the body rapidly begins to run out of oxygen. When it does, you'll start to get lactic acid build-up forming in the muscle tissue, which then generates quite a high level of fatigue.
Often, this fatigue is felt as a burning sensation and causes you to cease exercise. If you're attempting a higher rep protocol - into the 8-12 rep range - this build-up of fatigue can be extremely limiting on your progress. So if you can get more oxygen to the tissues, thereby reducing the amount of lactic acid build-up and correspondingly the amount of fatigue, you will dramatically reduce this issue.
3. Enhanced Endurance Performance
If you're an endurance athlete training for a distance event, nitric oxide can also benefit you. Often this supplement is thought to be more of a strength athlete aid, but believing so would be a mistake. Since endurance performance also heavily depends on the amount of oxygen getting to the muscle tissues, blood flow delivering oxygen will help you work longer without tiring out.
Those who are training for endurance and will be racing at an altitude much higher than they are used to will want to strongly consider supplementing with nitric oxide. At higher altitudes reduced ability to take in oxygen is particularly noticeable. By using the supplement you will help to offset this so it feels more like your usual training conditions.
4. Increased Availability Of Energy
Another important indirect impact of nitric oxide on exercise performance is that blood flow enables you to better maintain your core temperature balance.
When body temperature rises significantly during a hard workout session, the body will try its best to cool the tissues so that overheating doesn't occur. With good blood flow this process is made easier, so less energy will be directed to accomplish this goal leaving more energy to complete your workouts with.
5. Increased Glucose Use
Those who are looking to burn off body fat may want to think carefully about the benefits of nitric oxide. One study conducted by the American Journal of Endocrinology and Metabolism looked at the impact of the NO precursor L-arginine on glucose metabolism during exercise. They had nine endurance trained males cycle for 120 minutes total which was then followed by a 15 minute max effort cycling period.
During this time glucose levels were measured in the body and it was noted that those who had taken the L-arginine had a significantly higher glucose rate of appearance, glucose rate of disappearance, and glucose clearance rate. This demonstrates that these athletes were taking up the glucose faster into the muscle cells as the exercise persisted.
In addition to this, the supplement also supported the increase of nonesterified fatty acid concentration as well as glycerol in the body, potentially pointing to the burning up of fat as fuel.
So those who are looking to burn body fat may have a slight advantage when using this process in terms of using up available glucose in the body and then burning off fat tissues.
6. Increased Muscle Pump
The last benefit of using nitric oxide is a great muscle pump after a workout. Who doesn't love the feeling of tight full muscles after you've just dished out an intense biceps and triceps workout? When on nitric oxide, this pump will be more pronounced and will stick around slightly longer.
Since muscle pumps are largely a result of increased blood flow to the muscle tissue, which does come naturally to a degree when exercise is performed, the blood flow to the tissues with nitric oxide makes it particularly evident.
These muscle pumps may just spark some extra motivation in you to keep up with your workout program, therefore getting you better long-term results!