Some people believe it’s the gas they get in the dentist’s chair that makes them laugh, and others believe it’s the stuff in street cars that provides phenomenal speed. What is nitric oxide, and why is it so important for the health of athletes, bodybuilders, and fitness buffs?
What Is Nitric Oxide? The Science
Scientifically speaking, nitric oxide in supplement form is a vasodilator. This means that it widens the blood vessels by relaxing smooth muscles found within the walls of those vessels. It has a tremendous effect on large veins and arteries, but it can also help improve circulation at the extremities, including the fingers and toes. When blood can flow more freely through wide-open vessels, every tissue in your body – including your organs and muscles – receive more oxygen and nutrients. This allows them to work more efficiently with less fatigue.
Can People Have Nitric Oxide Deficiency?
People who do not have enough nitric oxide in their bodies may display a wide variety of symptoms. That’s because this compound plays a vital role in almost every single bodily process. A nitric oxide deficiency affects overall heart health, limits the exchange of nutrients, causes fatigue, allows for more frequent cellular death, slows the metabolism, and even has an impact on libido and sexual performance. People may experience nitric oxide deficiency for a number of reasons, including a diet that is low in nitrates.
How do You get More Nitric Oxide?
The best way to improve the levels of nitric oxide in your body is to include more nitrate-rich foods in your diet. These include lean meats like chicken and turkey, peanuts, pumpkin seeds, and soybeans in all of their forms. You can also find nitric oxide supplements on the market in the form of L-arginine. Remember that nitric oxide is a gas that your body produces on its own. L-arginine is the only amino acid precursor, so improving the amount of arginine in your body through food or supplementation can counteract the symptoms of deficiency.
Why Is it Especially Important for Athletes?
Athletes put their bodies under a great deal of physical stress. Because of this, they need more oxygenation and nutrient delivery to their muscles. Although arginine is a nonessential amino acid, which simply means the body can produce it on its own, athletes may not produce enough to keep their muscles functioning at their full potential. That’s why athletes regularly rely on L-arginine supplements. These help their bodies produce more nitric oxide, thereby reducing muscle fatigue during workouts, promoting muscle growth and repair, and significantly reducing recovery times. All of these things allow athletes to get the most out of each and every workout.
What is nitric oxide? As it turns out, it’s a very important compound that the body needs to deliver oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body. Although everyone can benefit from some extra L-arginine, the precursor of nitric acid, athletes are especially vulnerable to the effects of nitric oxide deficiency. Eating nitrate-rich foods and taking a nitric oxide booster can help fight those symptoms.