Boosting Nitric Oxide levels is very beneficial for cardiovascular health since it relaxes blood vessels, allowing them to widen. This keeps your blood vessels functioning properly and prevents them from getting “stiff” as we age.
|Nitrates For Muscle|
Relaxing or dilating the blood vessels also helps to deliver more blood flow to tissues like muscle fibers.The two main benefits of greater blood flow to muscle fibers is better exercise energy/endurance and bigger muscles pumps during workouts.
The greater endurance and energy is due to the fact that pushing more blood to working muscles delivers them more oxygen and more nutrients. It enhances muscle pump during workouts due to the fact that the blood is more than 50% water.
When you train, your muscle cells create waste products that pull water into them.
With greater blood flowing to the muscles there is more water that the muscle cells can draw into them, resulting in a bigger muscle pump.
While some experts feel that the muscle pump has no true physiological significance, the truth is that it can lead to long-term muscle growth.
This is due to the fact that the bigger muscle pump places a bigger stretch on the membranes of the muscle cells.
This stretch signals chemical reactions that instigate long-term muscle growth by increasing muscle protein synthesis.
Relaxing the blood vessels also delivers more blood below the belt… if you know what I mean.
That can be beneficial for both males and females. For males it maintains normal sexual function as you age. That means less erectile dysfunction and a better maintenance of erections.
For females it increases clitoral blood flow, and research shows that females getting better blood flow to the clitoris have more enjoyable sex and a higher sex drive.
The main NO-boosting supplements on the market today utilize the arginine-nitric oxide pathway.
That is the pathway where arginine is converted in the body to nitric oxide (NO) with help from the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS), which catalyzes the reaction.
Supplements such as arginine, citrulline (is converted in the body to arginine), and pycnogenol (increases the activity of NOS) all utilize this pathway. And this is an effective pathway to target. After all, a recent study on arginine, reported that subjects consuming arginine 30 minutes before a biceps workout increased biceps blood volume during the workout by over 100%. And citrulline appears to be an even better NO booster than arginine itself, as research suggests that taking citrulline results in higher blood levels of arginine and NO than taking the same dose of arginine does.
Yet there is another pathway that can lead to higher NO levels in the body, the nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway.
Nitrates are found in many plants. One of the richest sources of nitrates is the beet. Nitrates have the chemical formula NO3-. When you consume nitrates, such as from beets, bacteria in the mouth reduce the nitrate to nitrite, which has the chemical formula NO2-. In other words, nitrate loses an oxygen to form nitrite. The nitrite then travels to the bloodstream where it is further reduced (loses another oxygen) in the body to nitric oxide, with the chemical formula NO.
Supplementing with nitrates, usually by consuming beet juice or taking a beet (beta vulgaris) extract has been shown in numerous studies to enhance exercise performance.
The performance enhancements include greater exercise endurance, greater power output, and less fatigue. This means that during a typical weight-lifting workout, it can improve your strength, allow you to complete more reps with a given weight, and allow you to better maintain rep ranges and strength towards the end of the workout. And all of this can help to increase muscle strength, muscle growth and muscle endurance.
Take-home points:Supplementing with nitrates, such as from beet extract can help to boost NO levels and increase your training intensity, reduce workout fatigue, increase muscle endurance (that not only means you can run farther, but means that you can complete more reps with a given weight), can help you recover faster between sets, and help you lift more weight.
All this can lead to improved results, such as greater muscle growth and strength gains.
Consider supplementing with beet extract by taking about 500 mg of beet extract or looking for supplements, such as preworkout supplements that provide beet extract along with supplements that utilize the arginine-NO pathway, such as arginine or better yet, citrulline.
One of the best times to supplement with them is about 30-60 minutes before workouts.
Another time would be about 30-60 minutes before sexual activity to improve sexual performance.