Nitric oxide is manufactured by almost all cell types in the body, and it plays a crucial role in the health of blood vessels. As a vasodilator, nitric oxide helps blood vessels relax and become wider, and this may improve heart health and exercise performance. Nitric oxide also stimulates the release of insulin and human growth hormone. Many athletes and individuals looking to enhance their cardiovascular health might consider adding nitric oxide supplements to their diet. Nitric oxide itself is not present in these supplements. Instead, patients take specific supplements that are known to increase nitric oxide in the body. Beetroot, cocoa, garlic, curcumin, agmatine, l-arginine, and l-citrulline are popular ingredients in supplements that claim to elevate nitric oxide levels. Patients should always check with their doctor before taking any supplements, vitamins, or herbal remedies.
The benefits associated with nitric oxide supplements are outlined below.
Boosts Exercise Effectiveness
Nitric oxide boosts exercise effectiveness by increasing the width of the blood vessels. When blood vessels widen, the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to muscles is increased, and this may improve performance in athletic activities. Studies suggest nitrate is one of the most effective supplements for boosting nitric oxide and exercise performance. A June 2018 review and meta-analysis of twenty-nine studies concluded nitrate supplementation significantly improved exercise tolerance. A study conducted in 2017 found nitrate supplements had a positive effect on endurance exercise capacity as well. Additional research that involved kayakers, swimmers, runners, and cyclists who took nitrate supplements indicated that the supplements were particularly helpful in enhancing exercise performance in these sports. Studies show healthy individuals who are untrained or moderately trained are the most likely to benefit from nitrate supplementation, and the supplements can improve exercise tolerance for both aerobic and anaerobic exercises.
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