Nitric oxide supplements (or “N02” for short) have been some of the hottest selling muscle building supplements over the past 10 years or so.

Based off of the amino acid l-arginine, nitric oxide supplements are designed to increase blood flow to your muscles during your workouts.

The basic idea is that this increased blood flow will…

– Enhance oxygen delivery.
– Increase glucose uptake.
– Leave you with a “permanent pump” all throughout the day.

As a result, you’ll be stronger in the gym, and your muscles will take on a fuller and thicker appearance.

Supplement companies also promote their N02 products to athletes involved in explosive stop-start sports like hockey, basketball and football.

But are nitric oxide supplements everything they’re cracked up to be?

Before you dish out 50 bucks on a bottle of N02 pills, let’s take a quick look at the evidence (or lack thereof)…

The first thing to examine is the active ingredient itself. Most N02 products are based off of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate, which is a “timed-release” form of the amino acid l-arginine.

Currently, there is no scientific evidence that clearly demonstrates that arginine AKG has any measureable effect on increasing nitric oxide levels in humans.

So whether or not nitric oxide contributes to increases in muscle size and strength, we’d first have to find an ingredient that could clearly raise and sustain those levels in order to reap the benefits. So far there is no clear evidence that arginine AKG accomplishes this.

Secondly, we come to nitric oxide itself. Even if arginine AKG does raise and sustain nitric oxide levels in the body, there is still no clear-cut evidence that increased nitric oxide itself provides any real benefit to bodybuilders.

There is currently no proven relationship between increased levels of nitric oxide and increases in muscle size, strength, endurance or appearance.

In theory it seems to have merit, but surely if this supplement was as effective as it is claimed to be there would be some real-world, testable evidence to support it, wouldn’t there?

So far that’s not the case.

Many promoters of NO2 also refer to it as a “perfected version of creatine”.

The problem is that creatine and nitric oxide are two completely different substances with no real relationship between them. It sounds good on paper, but in the real world it’s nothing but marketing hype.

What about anecdotal, first-hand reports from nitric oxide supplement users?

A lot of people will argue in favor of NO2 and say that they directly saw positive results while using the supplement. They’re probably right, but aside from the placebo effect, there’s another perfectly logical reason for this…

Virtually all popular nitric oxide supplements contain more than just arginine AKG on its own. Most of them also mix in a dose of creatine, beta alanine, caffeine and other ingredients that do legitimately improve performance.

The benefit that these users believe they are deriving from NO2 is most likely a result of the creatine/beta alanine/stimulants and not the NO2 itself.

At the end of the day, nitric oxide supplements really don’t have much going for them.

There is no proof of the effects of arginine AKG or nitric oxide on muscle mass increases or strength gains, period.

My advice is to keep your supplementation approach on the simple side and stick to ingredients that are backed by reliable research and that you know will be worth your money.

Some nitric oxide supplements may contain other usable ingredients, but why pay extra money for l-arginine when it is most likely not benefiting you in any way? And even more importantly, why trust a supplement company that is willingly selling you a fantasy?

At the end of the day it’s your money and your program, but there are plenty of other legitimately effective products (like whey protein, creatine, beta alanine, fish oil etc.) that you could be spending your money on instead.

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