Nitric oxide supplements are not created equal. Learn more about what makes a good nitric oxide supplement and which brands stand above the rest.
Who Needs Nitric Oxide?
Nitric oxide (“NO” for short) is a simple molecule with powerful uses. It serves as a signalling molecule and helps regulate inflammatory processes. Supplements to support nitric oxide have been clinically researched for:
- Preventing heart diseases
- Increasing long-duration exercise
- Enhancing recovery after physical activity
- Improving cognitive performance and nervous system function
- Helping with sexual dysfunction
- A healthy immune response
As you can see, there’s a reason NO has been dubbed a miracle molecule. Even though it’s not entirely understood how it works in every situation, or why it helps some people but not others, the science clearly shows that a huge number of people can benefit from taking a supplement that boosts nitric oxide levels.
How Can I Get More Nitric Oxide?
Nitric oxide isn’t something you can eat. To create more nitric oxide, you have to give your body the raw materials (“precursors”) to make its own. Green and red leafy vegetables and beets are the most common sources of dietary nitrates, and research has even shown that adding spinach to your diet can more than double blood nitric oxide levels and can improve markers of heart health.
As for supplements, increasing performance with nitric oxide precursors has conventionally been done with amino acids, especially L-arginine, but research has shown that there are better ways to get the benefits of healthy nitric oxide levels.
Conventional amino acid precursors: L-arginine and L-citrulline
L-arginine, an amino acid, has been the go-to standard for raising nitric oxide levels. Do they actually work though? The evidence is mixed.
L-citrulline is another amino acid. This one is absorbed better than L-arginine; to work at a N-O precursor it gets turned into L-arginine first, and then into nitric oxide. The theory goes that having more precursors to N-O would keep a healthy reserve for your body to continue to draw on as L-arginine levels go down.
Don’t fall for the hype, choose a nitric oxide booster that actually works!
Natural Nitrate Precursors: Beets And The Importance Of Standardization
Beets have been trending lately, and for good reason. The natural nitrates in beets boost nitric oxide levels and for performance more reliably than amino acids.
Plenty of supplement companies have hopped on the beet train to try to make a quick buck, though. Add some filler quality beet root powder and - viola! - you can say you have a good product without putting in any of the work.
The difference between a bunk nitrate supplement and a quality supplement is whether or not the natural source has been “standardized”.
Standardization is a process that makes sure you get a specific level, or higher, of an ingredient in a given source. Standardized beet root gives the minimum level of natural nitrates in a batch of beets.
If your beet root isn’t standardized, you have no idea how many natural nitrates you’re getting. And if it is standardized, you have to look up the level of nitrates they provide - product comparison research shows that nitrate levels in popular athletic supplements vary widely.
This puts you at a disadvantage, because now you have to do the research yourself to find a quality supplement. Take out the guesswork and check out our top nitric oxide supplement comparison in the next blog.
It’s important to note here that even if a product is standardized, it might not be standardized to a high enough level to get you the real benefits of natural nitrates.
Case in point: beet juice.
Standardized beet juice has all the trappings of a great nitric oxide supplement. It provides a convenient and natural, highly absorbable, standardized nitrate source. You might notice that the sugar content tends to be high, but that might be ok for such a natural way to increase nitric oxide.
Look closely though, and you might second-guess how you spend your dollar.
Beet juices are standardized to such a low level of nitrates that you’d have to drink a 32oz quart to get the benefits of a single serving of Resync Recovery. Plus, drinking a quart of beet juice would give you 54 grams of sugar. That’s more sugar than a can of coke!
The same goes for natural nitrates in pill or capsule form. You’d have to swallow a handful of pills to get the same benefits of a great-tasting mix like the Resync Recovery Blend. Concentrated beet juices like Beet-it don’t get rid of any sugar, they just concentrate it, so that’s no help either!
Worry less about whether you’re getting the benefits you want and worry more about living your best life. Try Resync Recovery to boost nitric oxide levels and experience the endurance, recovery, energy, and heart-healthy benefits from a supplement company that cares.
The Next Generation Of Natural Nitrates: Red Spinach, Aronia Berry, Turmeric
Beet root has been the most common source of natural nitrates in the supplement industry for a while now. Research evolves though, and the best science today says there are even better sources of natural nitrates.
Red Spinach (Amaranthus dubius)
Red spinach is not really spinach at all. It’s a type of amaranth - an edible, and extraordinarily healthy, green leafy vegetable. It’s in the formula OxyStorm, and featured in both of Resync’s nitric oxide supplements. Recent research on the extract of this plant has been exploding, with one recent study showing that just a fraction of the amount of red spinach can produce substantial endurance gains compared to beetroot extract.
Chokeberry (Aronia Melancarpa)
Europeans have been eating more aronia berries for years after they were found to be a concentrated and tasty source of antioxidants like anthocyanins and flavonoids, and importantly dietary nitrates. Even the types of aronia berries that have the lowest level of nitrates make ruby-red beets pale to a paltry pink. Research in humans is still catching up to the studies done on other nitrate sources, but one study shows promising effects on inflammation among athletes.
Turmeric (Curcumin longa)
Although turmeric doesn’t necessarily provide more nitrates than the others on this list, it has some powerful effects on health. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, can boost nitrate levels in healthy adults. Add on the other health benefits of one of the most powerful anti-inflammatory agents known to humankind, and you can see that the two are a great match.
Our Review Process: What To Look For In A Nitric Oxide Supplement
We aim to be the best in class. The standards we set for ourselves and the companies we work with leave others in the dust.
We pay attention to what typical consumers and top-level athletes want, what researchers regard as important, and what other supplement companies miss. Here’s the list of what we pay attention to:
Is The Nitric Oxide Source Natural Or Artificial
Does the supplement use natural nitrates from plant extracts, or does it contain “sodium nitrate”? Sodium nitrate is the chief culprit in what makes processed meat cause cancer. Natural nitrites from veggies come with high potassium levels, a large dose of antioxidants, and positive phytochemicals (plant chemicals).
Is The Nitric Oxide Source Standardized?
Standardization raises the bar to the lowest level of nitrates in that supplement. This means that when you take in a standardized source, you can guarantee you’re getting the reported does or more. That bulk bag of dried, powdered beets can’t say the same.
What’s The Sugar Content?
Sugar is the fuel your body uses to power the work your do, but that doesn’t mean that eating more equals having more energy. Your body generates long-lasting, clean energy when it’s breaking down more complex fuel sources that are combined with antioxidants and the building blocks to build up your muscles and tissues.
Some nitric oxide sources have so much sugar that they would bump you out of ketosis, mess up your macros, and would hardly fit into a paleo diet. Are those natural nitrates really giving you any energy, or are they just balancing out the sugar spike?
Are There Other Active Ingredients?
Beet powders and extracts alone can do wonders, but combine them with targeted natural ingredients and you have a winning combination for fighting inflammation and maximizing recovery. Since supplement combinations have less supportive science, look closely for research to support each individual ingredient and the company’s reason for using all the ingredients in combination.
Just like a bad coach can tear down a good team’s possibility for success, a poor framework for choosing specific ingredients limits the benefit a supplement might provide. When you add up the clinically-proven benefits of each ingredient in a combination that makes sense, the impact of the whole package can be greater than the effects of each player on the team.
What’s The Company’s Reputation And Does The Supplement Have Third-party Certifications?
The supplement regulation is often compared to the lawlessness of the wild west. It’s an unfair comparison - there are regulations that manufacturers must abide by - but basic federal regulations in the U.S. are just barely enough to make sure what you’re eating is safe.
If you’re taking a supplement for a health condition, wouldn’t you want it to satisfy the highest standards in the industry? Just like the standards we look for in a collagen supplement, going beyond the basics and seeking NSF and NSF Sport certifications assures that you’re getting the best on the market.
What Is The Dose Per Serving And The Cost Per Dose?
If the company provides the standardized level of nitrates, you’ll be able to calculate how much each dose costs. Paying attention to cost/dose is more important than dose/serving because every supplement will have a different serving size. Remember the beet juice scenario? With how diluted some some nitrate supplements are, you might spend more time, and money, consuming it than you would actually exercising.
The dose most commonly researched is 5-8 mmol inorganic nitrate (that’s 150-240 milligrams of nitrate). So see if your supplement provides that much per serving, and then figure out if it’s worth it for your wallet.
Bottom Line: What Is The Best Supplement To Boost Nitric Oxide?
In our next post, we do the heavy lifting for you. We compare the best nitric oxide supplements on the market so you can rest assured that you’re getting the best benefit.
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Clifford, Tom, et al. “The Potential Benefits of Red Beetroot Supplementation in Health and Disease.” Nutrients, vol. 7, no. 4, 2015, pp. 2801–2822., doi:10.3390/nu7042801.
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