When it comes to nitric oxide (NO), I consider myself an expert. But I have a unique perspective. For more than three decades I have raced more than 300 endurance events, including more than 150 triathlons of Olympic distance or longer, 103 marathons and numerous other events including ultramarathons and rough water swims from Alcatraz to the mainland. Truth be told, I have experienced the benefits of a wide range of NO boosters. These formulas are something to behold. Interestingly, NO products provide benefits to not only athletes, but to young and old alike on a wide range of health fronts. Interestingly, these great products can also have a dramatic impact on sexual health.
That said, why do I espouse about NO the way I do? Over the past three decades I have bolstered my knowledge on the science behind NO and it is compelling to say the least.
In a nutshell, NO is a gas naturally found in the body. Its function is to help the 50 trillion cells in the body communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body. NO is required for key physiological body functions. It is useful in treating a variety of health challenges, including libido, insomnia, obesity and diabetes. It is because of these benefits that NO boosters have profound mass appeal, which, if strategically marketed, will create new profit centers for suppliers and marketers alike.
Depending on the requirement, NO can act as a hormone, a neurotransmitter and an intracellular messenger. People who exercise regularly or perform rigorous physical activities need a higher amount of NO, as it allows for increased blood flow. Signs of NO deficiency include extreme fatigue and physical weakness.
NO has the following benefits, including, but not limited to:
- Regulates blood pressure and increases blood flow to the sexual organs by dilating arteries
- Increases endurance and strength
- Reduces inflammation
- Improves sleep quality
- Enhances memory by transmitting information between nerve cells in the brain
- Assists the immune system at fighting off harmful bacteria
Viagra and other NO medications work due to their action on the NO pathway. One cause of impotence in men is unhealthy and aged arteries that feed blood to the sexual organs. Viagra works by influencing enzymes in the NO pathway, causing a cascade of enzymatic reactions that enhance NO, causing more blood flow and better arousal.
NO booster sections are growing in health food stores and these formulas are becoming increasingly innovative. Consumers of all ages are taking NO supplements to support increased blood flow and oxygen to the skeletal muscle for increased sexual performance. In fact, a wide range of demographics, including seniors, are using these products now because of their extreme efficacy. Many contain the following nutrients which are often part of comprehensive NO formulas:
Arginine: A semi-essential amino acid that is a precursor to NO. Increasing dietary intake of arginine from food and supplements increases production of NO. Taking arginine supplements improves blood pressure and blood flow and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease. Scientists at the Scientific Institute of San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, evaluated the effects of arginine supplementation on nondiabetic patients with cardiovascular disease. According to this research published in Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, it was determined that arginine supplements increase NO production, reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular function.
Citrulline: An amino acid produced by the body as a byproduct of synthesizing another amino acid, arginine. This is made possible by nitric oxide synthases, or NOS, a class of enzymes that synthesize NO from L-arginine, a form of arginine. The relationship between citrulline and NO impact the body in a variety of ways, including male sexual function.
Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine (GPLC): Consists of a molecular bonded form of propionyl-L-carnitine and one of the carnitine precursor amino acids, glycine. It is marketed as GlycoCarn® through Sigma-tau HealthScience. Two recent studies have demonstrated an increase in blood levels of NO with oral GPLC intake, at a daily dosage of 4.5 g (Bloomer et al., 2007; in press). These findings agree with other recent work using PLC exclusively (Lofreddo et al., 2007) which demonstrated an increase in blood NO in response to 6 g per day of PLC given via intravenous infusion.
Pycnogenol: An extract of French maritime pine tree bark, it contains the natural antioxidants anthocyanin, which improves results when taking L-arginine. Pycnogenol has recently been isolated as an anti-hypertension aid. Containing bioflavonoids, including catechin and taxifolin, pycnogenol is easily one of the best ways to increase NO. These bioflavonoids cause the release of nitric oxide from endothelial cells, resulting in relaxed, wide blood vessels. Not only is Pycnogenol an anti-hypertensive, but it is also used as a sports supplement. According to a Japanese study, participants who used phycnogenol prior to aerobic exercise had better blood flow than those who took the placebo.
NO boosters have been and will always be great for anyone who takes them. Good sexual health involves several biological components. Given the interest in sexual performance as evidenced by America's appetite for erectogenic drugs (Pfizer had over two billion dollars in Viagra sales alone last year), I have no doubt that the research into dietary supplement alternatives will continue.
Mark Becker is an Account Manager for Vivion, a raw materials distributor, based in Vernon, California. He has worked as a natural products sales and marketing executive for 20 years. Mark has written more than 300 articles and has hosted or been a guest on more than 500 radio shows. He obtained a bachelor's in journalism from Long Beach State University and did his Master’s work in communications at Cal State Fullerton. For more than 30 years he has participated in numerous endurance events, including more than 150 triathlons of Olympic distance or longer, 103 marathons and numerous other events including ultramarathons and rough water swims from Alcatraz to the mainland. He has relied on a comprehensive dietary supplement and homeopathic regimen to support his athletic, professional and personal endeavors. Follow Mark Becker on Facebook and Twitter. For more information, access www.vivioninc.com or www.EnergyatLast.com.