Every lifter has heard of, chased after, and, at one time or another, attained a raging muscle pump. First popularized by the great Arnold Schwarzenegger in “Pumping Iron”, the pump is a phenomenon sought by many and achieved by only the most deserving. One of the foundational components to achieving a massive muscle pump during training is ample amounts of nitric oxide (N.O.). This molecule is much more than a pump enhancer though, it carries with it a number of benefits that enhance training, overall function, and even health! Read on to see what this all-important molecule is and how it can benefit all aspects of your life.
What is Nitric Oxide?Not to be confused with nitrous oxide (“laughing” gas), nitric oxide is an essential signaling molecule composed of nitrogen (N) and oxygen (O) present in numerous tissues throughout your body. It’s plays a role in all facets of life, including:
- Regulating cell life & death
- Nutrient transport
- Immune system response
Benefits of Nitric OxideAs a key regulator of blood flow (via vasodilation), nitric oxide plays a critical role in nutrient and oxygen delivery, glucose uptake, power output and velocity. Due to the range of actions N.O. performs, it’s no surprise that it offers a slew of benefits:
Increased Vasodilation:Nitric oxide’s most well-known benefit is in its role as a powerful vasodilator, which causes blood vessels to dilate (“relax”), promoting greater blood flow throughout the body, especially working muscles. <1> Greater blood flow to your muscles increases vascularity, fullness, and some monster-sized pumps.
Enhanced Oxygen and Nutrient Transport:Compounding on the increased blood flow comes increased delivery of oxygen and other essential nutrients (such as amino acids) which enhances performance, recovery, and muscle growth.
Decreased Fatigue:Nitric oxide also helps avoid premature fatigue, enabling you to train for longer, and reap more gains from your workout. During high-intensity exercise, such as weightlifting or sprinting, oxygen is depleted, leading to an accumulation of lactic acid, often felt as a “burning” sensation in your muscles, forcing to end your set. Nitric oxide boosting supplements, such as citrulline malate, can offset this fatigue and improve “athletic performance in high-intensity anaerobic exercises with short rest times and to relieve post exercise muscle soreness.”<3,4>
Quicker Recovery:One of the most crucial factors in accelerating recovery is flooding your muscles with the essential nutrients it needs to repair the damage done by your intense workout. How freely and easily blood flows throughout your body is the determining factor in how quickly those nutrients get to where they need to be. Nitric oxide increases blood flow to the muscles and their surrounding tissues<4>, which means more blood gets to your muscles quicker, supplying your muscles with the valuable muscle-building nutrients they need to GROW! Faster recovery also comes with the added benefit of allowing you to train more frequently, leading to bigger and better gains in strength and size.
Enhanced Glucose Utilization:Arginine is the amino acid that fuels nitric oxide production in the body. Research has shown that L-Arginine supplementation significantly improved the rate of glucose appearance, disappearance, and<5> Researchers conducting the experiment attributed this improved glucose utilization to increased nitric oxide production. As you’re probably aware, L-Arginine isn’t the most beneficial nitric oxide elevating compound in supplements; it offers terrible bioavailability. That’s why SteelFit includes Citrulline Malate along with Grape Seed Extract and Glutathione, three incredibly bioavailable compounds that support and enhance nitric oxide production.
Improved Cognitive Functioning:Over the past few years, nitric oxide has received greater attention for its role in enhancing cognitive function. More specifically, scientists are investigating N.O’s impact on neurotransmitter production. Neurotransmitters are chemical messengers that relay signals between nerve cells in the brain to the muscles in our body. Research published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research concluded that nitric oxide has a direct impact on the brain’s computational abilities of the brain. And, it also had an effect on memory formation and learning. <6> Basically, greater levels of nitric oxide resulted in heightened cognitive function and faster reaction times when performing mental tasks. It’s also been suggested that increased nitric oxide production could play a contributing role in the prevention of cognitive decline, as well as Type II Diabetes. More research is needed to confirm these suspicions though.
Cardio Protection:Cardiovascular disease is one of the biggest, and most concerning, health problems facing adults, both young and old, today. In addition to nitric oxide relaxing blood vessels, it also relaxes the smooth muscles of the heart, which causes a reduction in blood pressure, thereby supporting cardiovascular health and function. <7> Having a healthy heart is also vital to exercise, as the healthier your heart is, the harder you can push yourself while training, leading to better performance and results in the gym.
Maximize Your Nitric Oxide OutputIt’s clear that nitric oxide is a powerful ally for all aspects of your life -- health, performance, recovery, and cognitive function. To make the most of your workouts, you must maximize your body’s natural nitric oxide production, and the best way to do that is with Steel Pump™. Each serving of Steel Pump™ delivers proven nitric oxide boosting compounds, including Citrulline Malate, Grape Seed extract, and L-Glutathione, to improve blood flow, enhance performance, and generate some massive pumps. Don’t fall for another gimmicky NO-booster that’s laden with ineffective arginine. Invest in Steep Pump™ for the most epic pumps and performance you’ve ever witnessed!
- Harris MB, Mitchell BM, Sood SG, Webb RC, Venema RC. Increased nitric oxide synthase activity and Hsp90 association in skeletal muscle following chronic exercise. European journal of applied physiology. 2008;104(5):10.1007/s00421-008-0833-4. doi:10.1007/s00421-008-0833-4.
- Bailey SJ, Winyard PG, Vanhatalo A, et al. Acute L-arginine supplementation reduces the O2 cost of moderate-intensity exercise and enhances high-intensity exercise tolerance. J Appl Physiol. 2010;109(5):1394-1403. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00503.2010.
- Perez-Guisado J, Jakeman PM. Citrulline malate enhances athletic anaerobic performance and relieves muscle soreness. J strength Cond Res. 2010;24(5):1215-1222. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e3181cb28e0.
- Alvares TS, Conte CA, Paschoalin VMF, et al. Acute l-arginine supplementation increases muscle blood volume but not strength performance. Appl Physiol Nutr Metab = Physiol Appl Nutr Metab. 2012;37(1):115-126. doi:10.1139/h11-144.
- McConell GK, Huynh NN, Lee-Young RS, Canny BJ, Wadley GD. l-Arginine infusion increases glucose clearance during prolonged exercise in humans. Am J Physiol Metab. 2006;290(1):E60-E66. doi:10.1152/ajpendo.00263.2005.
- Paul V, Ekambaram P. Involvement of nitric oxide in learning & memory processes. The Indian Journal of Medical Research. 2011;133(5):471-478.
- Lewis SJ, Bhopatkar MY, Walton TM, Bates JN. Role of voltage-sensitive calcium-channels in nitric oxide-mediated vasodilation in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Eur J Pharmacol. 2005;528(1-3):144-149. doi:10.1016/j.ejphar.2005.10.056.