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Nitric Oxide is simply a molecule made up of Nitrogen and Oxygen, which plays a major role in blood pressure regulation. Nitric Oxide is the key to Blood Flow which is the key to getting the "pump" in the gym. Increasing Nitric Oxide around your workouts can increase recovery, power output, glucose usage, and decrease fatigue levels by recycling oxygen; all of which are important for getting a good workout in the weight room or on the treadmill.
Three "Go-To" Nitric Oxide Boosters
1) L-Citrulline-Malate (2:1)
Citrulline Malate is the key to any good pump as the Citrulline is highly absorbent and turns to Arginine which turns to Nitro Oxide (i.e. blood flow). It is actually better at increasing arginine levels than arginine itself as it converts to arginine in the kidneys when supplemented. 6-8 grams is a nice dosage for optimum pump and it is important for Citrulline Malate to be in a 2:1 ratio for the best uptake.
Arginine is the essential amino acids that increases blood flow and produces nitric oxide in the body. So consumption of Arginine in a dosage of 3-6 grams can increase nitric oxide levels, however, as stated above Arginine taken as a supplement doesn't have great absorption rate in the body so Citrulline is usually a better option.
3) Beet Root
Beet root naturally is a nitrate and thus increases nitric oxide and blood flow. The nice thing about beet root is you can either get it in supplement form or find practical ways to get it in your diet. Typical dosage is around 500mg per 150lbs body weight.
Three "no-so" Nitric Oxide Boosters
Agmatine is a metabolic of Arginine and is often used in supplements as a Nitric Oxide booster but it has little studies behind it to show that it actually does so. Though it is related to arginine, the main component to increasing Nitric Oxide, it doesn't necessarily correlate in Nitric Oxide response in supplement form. It does however show signs of cognitive benefits and neurological pain relief.
Yohimbine has shown in multiple studies it is good for fat loss and in a couple of studies it is seen increasing blood flow for problems like erectile dysfunction, it is not necessarily effectively for nitric oxide production looked for in working out. In many people Yohimbine will increase anxiety levels and it is often dosed way to high in fat loss and pre-workout supplements. Typical dosage should be 10-20 mg for a person 150-200 lbs in weight.
Niacin is simply Vitamin B3 and many "N.O" supplements use it as the main ingredient even though research shows no correlation between B3 and increased blood flow or Nitric Oxide. Many people have a flush reaction to high levels of B3 and interpret this as increase in Nitric Oxide when this is not the case. So if you see a pre-workout or N.O. booster with the main ingredient as Niacin or B3, you might want to look else where.
Looking at all the studies the absolute best way to increase your nitric oxide levels for optimum power output and recovery in your workouts is to supplement with L-Citrulline and even better Citrulline-Malate in a 2 to 1 ratio. This supplement has the best uptake in the body and converts to arginine in the kidneys to increase Nitric Oxide level best and in the safest manner. Look to take 6-8 grams of Citrulline Malate for the best results.
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