Nitric oxide (NO) is a gaseous signaling molecule of the human body and also a powerful vasodilator.
Because of the fact that it enhances circulation all around the human body, nitric oxide boosters are generously used as pre-workout supplements among weight-lifters and various other athletes that could benefit from increased circulation in their choice of sport.
But creating the feeling of ‘pump’ before a workout isn’t by far the only benefit of increasing nitric oxide levels:
- Boosting nitric oxide is extraordinarily good at preventing cardiovascular disease, as it relaxes arterial walls, dilates the vessels and improves the flow of blood.
- NO improves brain functioning and reduces cognitive decline, due to the fact that it greatly enhances blood flow to the brain and functions as a secondary neurotransmitter between nerve cells.
- Nitric oxide is one of the main ingredients behind erections, and without the molecule, you couldn’t get one. Simply put, the more nitric oxide you have, the stronger the tool of love.
- Boosting nitric oxide levels can greatly improve the effectiveness of your workouts, due to the fact that your muscles will receive more oxygen and nutrients when your veins are dilated and circulation is enhanced. For the same reason, NO also shortens recovery time.
- Certain vasodilator drugs like minoxidil can potentially increase beard growth rate through nitric oxide related vasodilation. Theoretically, boosting NO naturally should help facial hair to grow as well. Basically, increasing nitric oxide makes the body run more smoothly, as oxygen, nutrients, and red blood cells can reach their target tissue and cells faster.
The team of researchers that discovered NO’s vasodilating and cardioprotective effects actually received Nobel Prize back in 1998. So the molecule is kind of an important thing, especially if you’re a man.
Fortunately, it’s quite easy to boost nitric oxide naturally, and you can do it with a small budget too. The results are often fast. For example, I can double my nitric oxide levels in a day, only by following tip number one below.
I use saliva testing strips to monitor my nitric oxide levels at home. Now that you know what is nitric oxide and why it’s so beneficial, here are five ways to increase nitric oxide levels naturally:
1. Eat Foods that Boost Nitric Oxide
When you eat foods that contain natural nitrates, the bacteria in your tongue converts them into nitritines, and once you swallow the food, the bacteria in your gut converts the nitritines into nitric oxide1 2 3. This occurrence — as you might guess — will increase your nitric oxide levels dose-dependently. The more nitrates you eat, the more nitric oxide your tongue and gut will produce and convert. And fortunately, nitrate-rich foods are easy to obtain, and they’re also quite cheap…
NOTE: I should warn you that some folks scare people about nitrates, as they can possibly convert into carcinogenic nitrosamines in the body. However, in reality, that’s nothing to be scared about, just read Dr. Kessers excellent article about the issue to understand why. Also, vitamin C and vitamin E block the possible conversion to nitrosamines, in case you want to play it super-safe…
2. Grape Seed Extract
Grape seed extract (GSE) is simply an extract derived from grape seeds. The extract itself is great for testosterone production, as it’s one of the few natural substances that can block the conversion of testosterone into estrogen. In other words, GSE is a potent aromatase enzyme blocker.
But on top of that, grape seed extract is also great at increasing nitric oxide levels. Studies on humans show that it drops blood pressure and heart rate, and animal studies show that it activates the natural nitric oxide synthase of the body and increases NO levels by 138% when taken at doses of 100mg/kg4 5 6 7 8.
3. Vitamin C + Garlic
It’s a well known medical fact that vitamin C increases nitric oxide production in the body, and that it also protects the molecules. Garlic, on the other hand, is a natural vasodilator and filled with natural nitrates, and it also contains a compound called quercetin, which is linked to increased NO levels in various studies. Few studies have also found that garlic is more effective at dropping high blood pressure than most drugs on the market.
So that’s why a researcher by the name of Adam Moussa decided in this study to give his human subjects some vitamin C (2 grams), along with 4 garlic tablets (6 mg of allicin and 13.2 mg of alliin) for 10 days to see if it had any impact on their blood pressure and/or nitric oxide levels.
The results were quite impressive:
- The endothelial nitric oxide output increased by a staggering 200 percent.
- On average, the systolic blood pressure dropped from 142 mm to 115 mm, which is more than can be achieved with most medication.
- Diastolic blood pressure decreased from 92 mm to 77 mm on average.
So the next time you’re thinking about paying $50 for a shiny pre-workout blood flow booster at your local supplement store, remember that you can get significantly better results and a massive pump with Redwood, a natural nitric oxide booster proven in research.
L-Citrulline is an amino acid that your kidneys will convert into L-arginine. L-Arginine will then convert into nitric oxide by the actions of the nitric oxide synthase enzyme (eNOS). Meaning that supplementation with L-citrulline is a solid way to increase NO levels naturally9 10.
LEARN MORE: Amino Acids
Why not supplement with direct L-arginine then? For some odd reason, L-citrulline is better at increasing serum arginine content than L-arginine itself. This doesn’t mean that L-arginine wouldn’t work; it’s just that citrulline is better at increasing the nitric oxide boosting arginine than the actual amino acid. You can get some citrulline by eating watermelons. However, to get any noticeable effects, supplementation with the amino acid is recommended. To get the best bio-availability, go with citrulline malate.
Like I said above, L-citrulline is more effective at increasing arginine content than L-arginine itself is, which is odd, but sometimes the body works like that (maybe the arginine produced by the kidneys is superior to lab-made).
However, even though citrulline is better, it doesn’t mean that arginine would be useless. It’s still the staple ingredient in almost all of the pre-workout boosters out there. Several studies have found that arginine increases nitric oxide levels. But again, citrulline is superior.