You might not have heard of nitric oxide however, after this, you might find yourself searching for ways to increase it. Nitric oxide is a naturally occurring compound produced by our cells. It acts as a vasodilator to help relax blood vessels and increase blood flow.
Nitric oxide has recently gained massive amounts of popularity for its ability to boost energy and focus in the gym without utilizing caffeine, a stimulant that can have negative side effects for some if consumed in high amounts.
There are tons of supplements on the market geared towards increasing nitric oxide production in the body due to its powerful health benefits, such as increasing energy, lowering blood pressure, improving exercise performance, and reducing muscle soreness. Nitric oxide is most well-known for its benefits in the gym, making it a popular emphasis in supplements for many gym-goers.
Nitric Oxide and Exercise Performance
Nitric oxide helps to widen our blood vessels which allow more oxygen and nutrients to circulate through our body. This can help to improve exercise performance. Because of this, many performance-enhancing supplements are aimed at increasing nitric oxide production, since you can’t supplement nitric oxide itself.
Typically, nitric oxide enhancing supplements might include a variety of ingredients believed to help boost production. These might include nitrate and certain amino acids such as L-arginine and L-citrulline however, further research is warranted on these [1, 2, 3].
Furthermore, nitric oxide is believed to help reduce muscle soreness following intense exercise. Citrulline malate, a form of L-Citrulline, is believed to help increase the production of nitric oxide, which improves blood flow, while also helping to remove waste products, such as lactate and ammonia, associated with muscle soreness [4, 5].
How to Increase Nitric Oxide Naturally?
For those looking to increase nitric oxide naturally, consider choosing whole foods, such as vegetables, that are high in nitrates, such as celery, lettuce, spinach, and arugula. Not only are vegetables high in essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants for a healthy lifestyle, these high nitrate ones can help to increase nitric oxide production in the body as well. It’s important to note that nitrates found in vegetables are not the same as sodium nitrates found in processed meats that have been linked to various cancers. [6, 7].
Boosting your intake of antioxidant-rich foods can also help improve nitric oxide levels. Antioxidants, such as vitamin C, vitamin E, and polyphenols, can help protect against free radicals that may shorten the lifespan of nitric oxide in your body. Plant foods typically contain the highest amounts of antioxidants. This includes fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains [8, 9].
Getting into a regular exercise routine is also crucial in the production of nitric oxide. Exercising regularly helps your body naturally produce more nitric oxide while simultaneously reducing your risk for various chronic conditions, such as heart disease. Regular exercise also helps increase antioxidant activity, allowing the nitric oxide you produce to stick around for longer [10, 11].
Lastly, you can choose nitric oxide boosting supplements to add to your routine, such as Naked Nutrition’s stimulant-free pre workout supplement.
With 11 research-backed ingredients, including niacin, carnosyn beta-alanine, nitrosigine, and L-citrulline malate, you’ll be sure to get a clean pump that’ll elevate your performance at the gym.
Nitric Oxide is naturally produced by the body and can impart several benefits, including boosting exercise performance and recovery. As a vasodilator, nitric oxide helps to increase blood flow, allowing more oxygen and nutrients to flow throughout your body giving you a leg up on your workout.
Although you cannot supplement nitric oxide itself, you can increase your body’s natural nitric oxide production by eating a diet rich in plant foods, specifically high nitrate vegetables, incorporating regular physical activity, and supplementing with compounds shown to help increase nitric oxide production.
Next time you are looking for a pre-workout, consider going stimulant-free. Ditch the caffeine and opt for a supplement that boosts nitric oxide production instead. That, combined with the lifestyle adjustments mentioned above, can help ensure you get the most bang for your buck when you hit the gym.