More Nitric Oxide, More Muscle Growth

Nearly all strength athletes would have used a Nitric Oxide enhancer at some point or another. Aside from producing insane, vein popping muscular pumps they also increase the transportation of muscle building catalysts around the body such as amino acids, testosterone, growth hormone and even oxygen.

With this in mind, we’ve teamed up with the sports scientists at MyProtein to see why a nitric oxide enhancer, could be a welcome addition to your gym bag as well as looking at the many benefits associated with its usage.

How Can It Increase Muscle Growth?
Nitric Oxide Improves Nutrient Uptake

Nitric oxide (NO) is an important signalling molecule that acts in many tissues within the body to regulate certain physiological and cellular processes. It’s synthesized from the amino acid l-arginine in the endothelium of the blood vessels (a thin layer of cells) by an enzyme called Nitric Oxide Synthase (eNOS), which catalyzes the conversion of l-arginine to Nitric oxide and Citrulline.

Once produced, Nitric Oxide is a potent vasodilator, meaning that it serves to relax the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels and increase the diameter of the lumen (the middle space of the blood vessel where the blood flows through). Ultimately this means as the lumen expands, blood flow is increased and with it the blood plasma carrying amino acids, testosterone, growth hormone and other nutrients to your working muscles is also increased.

Nitric Oxide Reduces Recovery Time

Another added benefit of taking a Nitric Oxide enhancing supplement pre-workout is its ability to increase the delivery of oxygen-rich red blood cells to your starving muscles. More obviously this will improve the muscles ability to function but equally it can also accelerate the speed at which your body is able rid the body of toxins produced during exercise such as ammonia.

This is particularly important to aid intra-workout recovery (i.e. recovery between sets), since it can allow athletes to recover ready for their next set – which in turn could result in better growth stimulus and adaptive growth in response to micro-tears at the muscle fibre level.

Nitric Oxide In More Detail

As is evident from the ‘pump’ you get in the gym, exercise is great at increasing Nitric Oxide output. However, studies also show that training produces reactive oxygen species (ROS) also known as free radicals. These free radicals stop your body from reaching optimal levels of Nitric Oxide by reacting with it to form peroxynitrite species (PNS). What’s even worse is as well as inhibiting optimal Nitric Oxide levels, free radicals and peroxynitrite species can inhibit protein synthesis, are potentially damaging to cells and also impair the effectiveness of insulin by disrupting insulin signalling.

The good news is this can be combatted by ingesting compounds known as anti-oxidants. Antioxidants are molecules capable of inhibiting the oxidation of other molecules and are effective in fighting/scavenging the free radicals and peroxynitrite species, therefore stopping them from inhibiting optimal Nitric Oxide levels.

One of the most widely available anti-oxidants shown to reduce Nitric Oxide degradation is Vitamin C. In a study published in the Circulation Research Journal entitled ‘Long-Term Vitamin C Treatment Increases Vascular Tetrahydrobiopterin Levels and Nitric Oxide Synthase Activity’ it was found that vitamin C had a beneficial effect on Nitric Oxide production, possibly related to the restoration of the enzyme Nitric Oxide Synthase (eNOS), which as we know is the catalyst in Nitric Oxide production. Other anti-oxidants that have also been shown to reduce Nitric Oxide degradation include lipoic acid, vitamin E, grape seed polyphenols and selenium.

Final Word

Taking all of the above research into consideration, Myprotein have created MP Max Nitro Extreme, the most complete and scientifically driven Nitric Oxide product to hit the sports nutrition market to date.

Available from Myprotein.com, it retails at £24.99 for 120 caps.