One supplement that is often targeted toward bodybuilders is nitric oxide. This supplement is marketed as L-Arginine Alpha Ketoglutarate or AAKG, and contains a substance called arginine, which helps the body produce nitric oxide.
The science behind nitric oxide shows it has some amazing potential when it comes to building muscle, improving strength, and enhancing one’s overall state of fitness.
How Nitric Oxide Works
Nitric oxide is actually a gas that is produced naturally by the body. Enzymes in the body break down arginine, an amino acid, in order to form it. The role of nitric oxide is to deliver messages between the cells, while also controlling blood circulation and organ function. Since it speeds recovery time and enhances growth, nitric oxide is therefore a very effective tool if you would like to gain muscle mass, because it will allow you to increase the frequency and intensity of your workout.
University of California Study
A study was performed in 2010 at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) on 16 male cyclists. These cyclists were between the ages of 50 and 73, and received powdered supplements containing arginine daily. These participants showed a 16.7 percent increase in their anaerobic threshold after the first three weeks. The anaerobic threshold is the point in which lactic acid begins to accumulate in the muscles. As such, this study concluded that nitric oxide could indeed have a positive effect on bodybuilding.
Nitric Oxide Benefits
Higher levels of nitric acid in the body results in wider blood vessels. As such, nitric oxide supplements are highly effective for those who desire more prominent veins. The fact that it enhances blood flow allows it to improve exercise performance, especially in those with cardiovascular disease. Nitric oxide also ensures proper liver, brain, kidney and stomach function, and can therefore be useful at optimizing your overall health.
Possible Side Effects
The fact that nitric oxide affects blood vessels means that a common side effect is lower blood pressure. This in turn can produce other side effects such as dizziness, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and lightheadedness. These symptoms may become worse when standing rather than sitting. You may also experience more frequent urination, and should therefore take additional measures to ensure you are well hydrated during exercise.
Dosing Requirements Vary
No exact dosage for nitric oxide has been determined, although many people have seen results when taking as little as 2 to 6 grams per day.
A study published in Nutrition Magazine showed that men who took 12 grams per day noticed significant muscle gains, along with improvement in their one-repetition maximum bench press.
Participants in the UCLA study were given 5.2 grams, along with varying amounts of L-taurine, Vitamin C, folic acid, lemon balm extract and other nutrients.
Nitric oxide is an important substance for building muscle and regulating blood circulation. If you are struggling to gain muscle mass, adding this supplement could provide you with greater results than what you would achieve through exercise alone.