The Power of Nitric Oxide Supplements

woman pouring supplement into palm

Nitric oxide is a molecule that is produced naturally within the body and it plays a crucial role in various physiological functions, including blood flow regulation, cardiovascular health, and exercise performance. With nitric oxide supplements, individuals are now exploring its potential benefits beyond what the body naturally produces. Keep reading to learn about nitric oxide supplements and if it’s suitable for you.

How Does Nitric Oxide Work?

Nitric oxide is a gaseous signaling molecule synthesized by the body from the amino acid L-arginine through a process called nitric oxide synthesis. This molecule is involved in many physiological processes, with its primary role being the regulation of blood flow by dilating blood vessels, thereby improving circulation. Beyond its vascular effects, nitric oxide also contributes to neurotransmission, immune response, and mitochondrial function, making it a vital component of overall health.

Benefits of Nitric Oxide Supplements 

While the body naturally produces nitric oxide, its production could decline with age or in individuals with certain health conditions. The benefits of nitric oxide supplements include:

Enhanced Exercise Performance

By promoting vascular health, nitric oxide supplements could improve blood flow to working muscles, leading to enhanced oxygen and nutrient delivery. This can result in improved exercise performance, endurance, and recovery.

Cardiovascular Health

Nitric oxide plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood pressure levels and cardiovascular function. Supplements that support nitric oxide production can help support heart health and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Cognitive Function

Nitric oxide is involved in neurotransmission and cerebral blood flow regulation, suggesting a potential role in cognitive function. Some studies suggest that nitric oxide supplements could support cognitive health and mental acuity.

Blood Pressure

As a vasodilator, nitric oxide has been shown to help regulate blood pressure by relaxing and opening the blood vessels. This, in turn, reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Erectile Dysfunction

Impaired production of nitric oxide is a major cause of erectile dysfunction. This is because NO regulates contractile proteins within the corpus cavernosum. Without nitric oxide signaling, smooth muscle in this area cannot contract. Nitric oxide supplements could help address this underlying issue and improve erectile function. Improved circulation via NO supplementation could also help treat ED due to poor blood flow. 

Nitric Oxide Promoting Food Sources

Certain foods contain nutrients and compounds that can support nitric oxide production or enhance its bioavailability. Here are some foods you can consume to promote nitric oxide production:

  • Leafy green vegetables
  • Beets and beetroot juice
  • Garlic
  • Citrus fruits
  • Pomegranate
  • Watermelon
  • Nuts and seeds
  • Dark chocolate

Incorporating these foods into your diet can provide essential nutrients and compounds that support nitric oxide production, thereby promoting cardiovascular health, blood flow, and overall well-being.

Nitric Oxide Side Effects

Like many supplements, nitric oxide can cause certain side effects. These are usually mild and temporary. Some of the most common side effects when taking nitric oxide include:

  • Gastrointestinal discomfort
  • Headaches
  • Low blood pressure
  • Diarrhea 

Who Should Not Take Nitric Oxide?

While nitric oxide supplements can offer potential benefits for some individuals, certain groups should avoid or exercise caution when taking them.

  • Individuals with low blood pressure (hypotension)
  • Those treating erectile dysfunction already (combining nitric oxide with ED medications can lead to an excessive drop in blood pressure)
  • Those with herpes simplex virus (L-arginine could stimulate the reproduction of the virus and increase the severity and frequency of outbreaks)
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Bleeding disorders
  • Children, pregnant women, and breastfeeding women (not much research with nitric oxide supplements has been conducted in these areas)
  • Those with allergies or sensitivities (review the list of ingredients before taking any supplement)

Before starting any supplement, it’s important to consult with a qualified healthcare professional, especially if you have underlying health conditions or are taking medications.

Best Nitric Oxide Supplements 

In general, it is not recommended to begin a supplementation regimen without the guidance of a medical provider. This is because vitamins are not subject to FDA regulation, which means they can vary significantly in quality. If you do buy supplements over the counter, you will at least want to look for a third-party verification on the label. In the US, look for the following “stamps” that indicate the product has undergone non-biased, third-party testing:

  • ConsumerLab-Approved
  • NSF International Certified
  • USP Verified

Common Ingredients in Nitric Oxide Supplements

Common ingredients in nitric oxide (NO) supplements are designed to boost the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps to improve blood flow, enhance exercise performance, and support cardiovascular health. Here are some frequently included ingredients:

L-Arginine

This amino acid is a direct precursor to nitric oxide. It is converted into nitric oxide by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase (NOS).

L-Citrulline

This is another amino acid that is converted into L-arginine in the body, particularly in the kidneys. L-Citrulline can enhance and sustain nitric oxide production by maintaining elevated levels of L-arginine.

Beetroot Extract

Beets are high in dietary nitrates, which the body converts into nitric oxide. Beetroot extract is a popular ingredient for boosting nitric oxide through a different pathway than L-arginine.

Pine Bark Extract (Pycnogenol)

Pine bark contains compounds that stimulate endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS), boosting nitric oxide production. It also has antioxidant properties to protect nitric oxide from degradation.

Vitamin C

Another antioxidant that helps protect nitric oxide molecules from oxidative damage, enhancing their stability and effectiveness.

Vitamin D

D vitamins support overall vascular health and may aid the function of endothelial cells, which are crucial for nitric oxide production.

Quercetin

A flavonoid with antioxidant properties that can increase the bioavailability of nitric oxide by protecting it from oxidative stress.

Garlic Extract

Garlic contains allicin, which is a natural vasodilator that helps reduce blood pressure and cholesterol and exerts a general anti-inflammatory effect. Garlic is also a natural source of hydrogen sulfide, another important cardiovascular regulator that, among other things, stimulates cellular growth within the heart.

Additional Powerful Anti-Oxidants

Certain nitric oxide support supplements may contain additional extracts to exert further protection against oxidative stress. At Balanced Body Health & Wellness, we recommend Vascanox HP to our patients showing signs of diminished nitric oxide. 

Along with many of the above-mentioned ingredients, Vasconox also makes use of some of nature’s most powerful anti-oxidants: berries. Extracts of bilberry, blueberry, raspberry, and blackberry boost nitric oxide production with both their antioxidant properties and a punch of vitamin C. 

Discuss Nitric Oxide Supplements Today 

While nitric oxide supplements hold promise as a natural approach to promoting health and well-being, they are not a one-size-fits-all solution. Supplementation of any kind should be part of a holistic program that includes a combination of diet, exercise, and treatment of underlying health conditions by a qualified provider. 

In Omaha, Balanced Body Health & Wellness is the area’s top functional medicine clinic. We offer custom treatment plans based on our patients’ unique needs and goals.  Contact Balanced Body Health & Wellness to schedule your free discovery call or in-office consultation today.