Nitric oxide (NO) supplements became all the rage fairly recently in the bodybuilding industry. Vasodilation means better nutrient uptake and absorption after an intense workout. If taken pre-workout, it also heightens the much-sought-after muscle pump. Vasodilation also reduces blood pressure, making NO a godsend for anyone with hypertension. Nowadays, NO products line GNC shelves and grace fitness magazines. With so many of these products out there, what are the best nitric oxide supplements on the market today?
What Are the Top Nitric Oxide Supplements?
This is not a top 10 list. We are not going to name any particular products and give a brief explanation of why that product made our list. Instead, we are going to discuss the ingredients and other factors that make a NO supplement reputable, at least in our opinion.
The Best Nitric Oxide Supplement Ingredients
We firmly believe the best NO supplements should contain natural compounds found in food. These compounds should have extensive studies validating their effect as a nitric oxide booster.
Here are some ingredients that are proven NO enhancers:
- L-arginine – studies confirm that this amino acid increases nitric oxide activity.
- Nitrates – This is found in certain vegetables, such as beets, celery, and arugula. Upon ingestion, nitrates convert to nitric oxide.
- L-citrulline – this amino acid is produced as a byproduct when arginine is converted into NO. The citrulline is recycled back to arginine, where it can produce more NO. Studies show L-citrulline increases plasma L-arginine levels and also boost physical endurance.
- Vitamin C – studies show that vitamin C increases nitric oxide synthase activity. You will find vitamin C in some NO products due to the antioxidant’s ability to enhance nitric oxide bioavailability.
- Quercetin – this flavonoid promotes endothelial (artery lining) cell health. Its ability to significantly boost NO is well documented in a study published in the Journal of Periodontal & Implant Science.
This is just a small list. In any case, always do your diligent research. If you see an ingredient in a NO product that you’re unfamiliar with, research it to see if existing studies reveal any positive correlation between the compound and NO.
The aforementioned ingredients are also found abundantly in foods. We actually did a post on the top nitric oxide foods. We recommend checking it out if you prefer sticking to whole foods rather than taking a pill or capsule.
Proprietary Blends in NO Supplements
If you have read some of our other supplement reviews, then you know we are huge advocates of natural ingredients. We also believe supplement makers should be forthcoming with exactly what they include in their product. Many manufacturers, unfortunately, use proprietary blends with cool-sounding (and often trademarked) names. The formula is just a further blend of more ingredients that are not disclosed.
NO supplements are especially notorious for having these proprietary blends. One particular NO product we looked at, for example, contains the proprietary blend named Extreme Vascularity Complex. Each serving contains 750 mg of this blend, whatever it consists of. The name sounds cool and is certainly fitting for a NO product, but what is this so-called complex made up of?
Another NO product we looked at had a proprietary blend called HydroMax. The label indicated this blend consisted of 65% glycerol powder. Okay, so what makes up the other 35%? Don’t consumers have the right to know?
It goes without saying that we’re not fans of such tactics. We believe the best nitric oxide supplements don’t need to hide behind such gimmicks.
Nitric Oxide Supplement Reviews
As with any supplement, it’s always helpful to read reviews from users who gave the product an honest try. When reading these reviews, see if you can pinpoint what the user experienced. Did he feel a more heightened and prolonged muscle pump after a gut-busting workout? Was he able to improve his lifts?
People also take NO supplements for lowering blood pressure. In this instance, did the user test his resting blood pressure throughout the supplement cycle?
While these reviews certainly need to be factored in, they should also be taken with a grain of salt. Supplement users tend to have unrealistic expectations and don’t take into consideration other factors like exercise and dieting. For this reason, even the best nitric oxide supplements will have a few one-star reviews.
If a user experienced nothing, was it because the product was useless, or was it because of a crappy diet? Supplements, after all, are only meant as a supplemental aid and never intended as a replacement for a sound diet and exercise plan.
Stick to Proven Nitric Oxide Compounds
We don’t believe the best nitric oxide product can be pinpointed to a specific brand. Our stance regarding any supplement has always been the same. The best product is always what contains all-natural ingredients that have been proven in independent studies. The manufacturer should disclose every active and inactive ingredient.
This is why we released Redwood. We won’t shamelessly say this is the best nitric oxide supplement out there. However, we have no qualms about its effectiveness because we only included natural ingredients, all of which have the backing of scientific research.