Benefits of Nitric Oxide (NO) for Athletes
Nitric Oxide, often abbreviated as NO, or referred to by its other names nitrogen monoxide or nitrogen oxide, is a molecule that performs crucial signalling functions in our bodies, and participate in numerous physiological and pathological processes in all mammals, including humans. Nitric Oxide is secreted by our bodies naturally, but in pretty low quantities, meaning we can enhance the beneficial effects of Nitric Oxide through dietary supplementation. The most notable of Nitric Oxide’s health benefits are cardiovascular in nature. While the molecule can, on occasion, bolster your nerves and lungs, its effects on the heart are the most significant.
Nitric Oxide is naturally released during intense physical strain, and thus, it dilates (increases the diameter) of the blood vessels, allowing more blood to circulate. Since it is the red blood cells that carry oxygen, nutrients and energy all over the body, this process allows for prolonged sessions, which, in turn, lead to your body generating more Nitric Oxide, As you can see, this kicks off a loop, where more exercise leads to more Nitric Oxide which leads to more exercise which leads to more Nitric Oxide and so on and so on.
However, even with this self-perpetuating cycle, the amount of Nitric Oxide we naturally secrete is still low.
Cardiovascular Benefits of Nitric Oxide
As a signaling molecule, the basis of Nitric Oxide’s function to to command the body when to do and when not to do certain particular actions. Nitric Oxide is gaseous, with an elimination half-life of 2 to 6 seconds. High levels of Nitric Oxide in the blood lead to the expansion of the diameter of the blood vessels, as well as the capillaries, which increases the rate at which the blood flows, thus increasing the amount of dissolved oxygen, nutrients and energy that reaches the various parts of our body. This process is called vasodilatation, which basically means the widening of blood vessels. Since its discovery, Nitric Oxide continues to surprise scientists and researchers on a regular basis. This tendency is encouraging perpetual study of the molecule. Most recently, it has been proven that Nitric Oxide doen’t only affect our body’s cardiovascular functions.
Frequent boosting of the Nitric Oxide levels in our body through supplementation can serve to optimize biological functions of all kinds. This, while obviously also contributing to the molecule’s value for athletes, also makes it valuable for everyone, as it can affect longevity in a positive manner.
Various Benefits of Nitric Oxide
As we touched upon previously, the health benefits of Nitric Oxide stretch beyond its cardiovascular properties, which are made possible through the expansion of blood vessels. While these properties are remarkable on their own, they are far from the full extent of Nitric Oxide’s benefits. Increasing the level on Nitric Oxide in our blood stream can have long-reaching and universal health benefits, impacting various aspects of our bodies such as the nervous and immune system, the lungs, and the nervous system. It seems Nitric Oxide truly is a very versatile molecule.
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