Nitric Oxide – Benefits, Side Effects, and the Best Supplements to Use

Nitric Oxide – Benefits, Side Effects, and the Best Supplements to Use

6 min read


20 Jan 2021

Nitric oxide (NO) is increasingly popular in bodybuilding circles due to its ability to help improve performance during workouts and boost muscle growth. It’s got some pretty awesome benefits, but it’s not without its flaws. So before you try any nitric oxide supplements out, here are the facts you need to know:

What is nitric oxide and how does it work?

Nitric oxide, or ‘nitrogen monoxide’ if you want to impress your friends, is a molecule produced naturally in the body. It helps the cells in your body communicate with each other, and it’s essential for brain function, a strong immune system and healthy blood circulation.

All very nice, but how does nitric oxide benefit you in your quest to build muscle?

Here’s how:

It boosts blood flow

Nitric oxide is a vasodilator. That’s a fancy way of saying it opens up your blood vessels. And when your blood vessels are dilated by nitric oxide, more blood, oxygen and nutrients can flow through them to your muscles during your workouts. Which is pretty handy when you’re crankin’ out the reps. Because all that oxygen and all those nutrients are gonna give you more strength and boost your capacity to perform at optimal levels.

It speeds up recovery

Intense workouts produce lactic acid. But lactic acid and your muscles are most definitely not friends. That burning sensation you get towards the end of your reps? Lactic acid. Ever feel like you’ve been run over by a bus after an intense workout? Lactic acid.

Enter nitric oxide. By helping your body get rid of excess lactic acid from your tired muscles and ensuring there’s plenty of healthy, oxygenated blood flow getting to them, it helps your muscles recover and repair sooner. Which reduces your recovery time. So you can get back to the weights room sooner and do it all again.

It gives you the pump

Nitric oxide is famous for producing the ‘pump’ – that jacked feeling you get after a hard workout when your veins are as thick as pencils. The pump happens when a muscle is filled to full capacity with blood during exercise. And because nitric oxide boosts blood flow to your muscles, you can look forward to a pretty awesome, lasting pump.

Even better, you’ll keep that pumped look and feeling for hours after you’ve placed the dumbbells down from your last set of reps. Nice.

Sounds good, but what about those nitric oxide side effects?

Your body doesn’t produce enough nitric oxide on its own to cause any side effects. So you’ve got nothing to worry about – if you leave your body alone to do what it does naturally.

But your body rarely produces enough NO on its own to give you the kind of noticeable effects you’re looking for either.

To really experience these benefits you need some assistance increasing the amount of nitric oxide in your body. This is where nitric oxide supplements come into play.

However, in high enough concentrations, nitric oxide is actually toxic. Even in smaller concentrations, it can have some unpleasant side effects.

Here’s what can happen when you increase your NO levels too much:

Low blood pressure

As you’ve learned, nitric oxide dilates the blood vessels leading to your muscles. Ultimately you still have the same volume of blood, but it now has more room to flow. This leads to less pressure – and as a result, lower blood pressure.

Low blood pressure can lead to symptoms such as headaches, lightheadedness, loss of balance and sometimes even nausea and vomiting. Not what you want – especially in the middle of a workout.

Stomach discomfort

Nitric oxide can cause some pretty nasty stomach cramps and you might find yourself rushing to the bathroom a lot more often. To avoid these effects, it’s usually recommended to take nitric oxide with meals, but given that you’ll want to be taking it around your workouts to take advantage of its performance enhancing and recovery effects, this may not be possible in reality.

Electrolyte imbalance

Nitric oxide can increase your potassium, chloride, blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels, and decrease your sodium and phosphate levels. Messing with your electrolytes like this isn’t generally a good idea, and because the kidneys and liver regulate these electrolytes, those with kidney or liver disorders should be extra cautious when attempting to boost their NO levels.

Increased bleeding

Due to the ability to increase blood flow, increased bleeding is a real possibility. So if you participate in contact sports, you should be careful. And if you’re on blood-thinning medication (such as aspirin or warfarin), you’ll definitely want to avoid nitric oxide!

Painful pump

Yes, there is such a thing as too much pump. In some cases, all that extra blood flow rushing to your muscles can actually be very uncomfortable. And, in severe cases, moving may be so painful you’ll have to call time on your workout.

Nitric oxide can also interact with the effectiveness of pre-existing medications, such as blood thinners (as mentioned above), blood pressure drugs or drugs used for erectile dysfunction.

Ok, so how much nitric oxide should I take?

The truth is, I don’t recommend you use nitric oxide at all to increase your NO levels.


Nitric oxide itself is actually a gas, and since when did inhaling gas ever work out well for anyone? Taking real nitric oxide is unnatural and potentially very dangerous. Don’t do it!

The safest way to boost your nitric oxide levels is with a natural nitric oxide booster.

Nitric oxide boosters don’t actually contain nitric oxide. Instead, they contain ingredients that encourage your body to produce more nitric oxide on its own – safely and naturally.

Nitric oxide boosters carry a very low risk of side effects due to the fact that they enable your body to regulate its own NO production, rather than be forced to contain unhealthy amounts – which is when side effects will start to occur.

That being said, although the risks from natural alternatives are extremely low, everyone is different. Any time you take a nitric oxide booster or supplement, you should be on guard for nitric oxide side effects.

You simply have to monitor how you feel and perform. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s in your best interests to discontinue using the product.

Got it, so what nitric oxide supplements should I use?

Naturally (pun intended), we’re gonna tell you to use our very own NO2 Max nitric oxide supplement.

Its key ingredient is L-arginine, which all the best nitric oxide supplements contain (in fact, you should be concerned if a NO booster doesn’t contain L-arginine!)


L-arginine is an amino acid which converts into nitric oxide once it’s in your body.

That’s actually how your body produces nitric oxide in the first place – it synthesises nitric oxide from L-arginine.

NO2 Max contains a huge 1,800mg of L-arginine per serving to help you safely increase your body’s natural nitric oxide levels without side effects.

NO2 Max:

  • Is a safe and natural nitric oxide booster
  • Improves your performance and recovery
  • Works quickly with long-lasting results
  • Won’t give you any nasty or dangerous side effects
  • Ships free worldwide!

Want the boost without the side effects? Click here to check out CrazyBulk’s NO2 Max all-natural nitric oxide booster.

Remember, the risk of the side effects covered in this article are very low when you use a supplement containing natural ingredients to help your body safely increase its own natural levels of nitric oxide.

Steer clear of nitric oxide itself, and of any supplements claiming to contain real nitric oxide – or any other ingredients that sound unnatural or sketch.

If you want more pump for your lifting buck, natural nitric oxide boosters are where it’s at.

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