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What are Nitric Oxide (NO) Boosters?

Last updated: December-30,2021

What are Nitric Oxide (NO) Boosters?

If you follow the world of sports supplements, then chances are you've heard someone mention the rising popularity of Nitric Oxide (NO) boosters. Whether they're being delivered as whole foods or in supplement form, it is clear that NO boosters have caught the attention of the sports nutrition supplement community. But for many, the science of how they may help athletic performance can be less than clear.

Nitric Oxide Boosters: What's in a Name?

Though the name "nitric oxide" sounds like "nitrous oxide", these two compounds are different. Nitrous oxide (A.K.A., "laughing gas") is used in medicine. Nitric oxide, on the other hand, is produced in the body and plays a profound role in circulation.

What Do Nitric Oxide Boosters Do?

In science, nitric oxide has been recognized as a vasodilator (i.e., capable of causing the blood vessels to dilate). Why is this significant? The reason is that dilated blood vessels mean greater blood flow, greater blood flow means greater nutrient and oxygen delivery. In the sports nutrition market, these physiological functions have led to the thinking that greater nutrient and oxygen delivery should – theoretically – lead to improved muscle growth and stamina.

What are the Potential Benefits of Nitric Oxide Boosters?

In addition to promoting healthy circulation and subsequent nutrient and oxygen delivery, NO boosters may offer additional benefits—depending on the source of the NO boosters. For example, L-arginine (a common NO booster) has been shown to have a positive impact on growth hormone release in the body, which may in turn positively impact muscle growth. Another benefit of NO boosters is that many bodybuilders have seen that the increased circulation has given their muscles a “pumped” appearance, meaning great vascularity.

Nitric Oxide Boosters for Sports Nutrition

While NO Boosters can certainly support healthy circulation and potentially improve a vascular appearance, and the link between NO boosters and the release of growth hormone has supporting data (at least in the case of L-arginine), ancillary research has shown that skeletal muscle isn't stimulated during these situations, nor does strength increase. Given both of these factors, it seems unlikely that NO-induced growth hormone would lead to any additional muscle gain.

When it comes to NO boosters being a worthwhile choice for any athlete looking to improve their performance and increase muscle gain, there's also some debate. For arginine-based NO boosters, in particular, research has been published indicating that while it may work for some athletes, it may not work for others. That being acknowledged, there are a number of other NO-boosting nutraceuticals on the market. If you’re interested in including an NO booster in your product line, NutraScience Labs can help you identify effective options.

The Takeaway

NO boosters are an exciting branch of the sports nutriton supplement and pre-workout family that continues to make headlines. As their popularity continues to rise and more studies are done illuminating the ways that these boosters can influence athletic performance, they're certainly a supplement category worth watching.

For questions and more information about manufacturing a custom sports nutrition supplement with NutraScience Labs, request a free price quote or call 855-492-7388 to speak with one of our production specialists. With over 120 years of nutraceutical industry experience, our team has helped more than 2,300 brand owners create and bring high-quality supplements products to the market on time and on budget!

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About the Author:

Gene Bruno

Gene Bruno, MS, MHS, RH(AHG) - Mr. Bruno possesses over 43 years of dietary supplement industry experience. With a Master's degree in nutrition and a second Master's degree in herbal medicine, he has a proven track record of formulating innovative, evidence-based dietary supplements. Mr. Bruno currently serves as both the Senior Director of Product Innovation at Twinlab Corporation and Professor of Nutraceutical Science at Huntington University of Health Sciences.