What Are the Best Nitric Oxide Supplements for Blood Flow and Muscle Pumps?
Who doesn’t love a good pump when hoisting barbells in the gym? Feeling the rush of blood that fills up your muscles is oh-so-gratifying, and you'll be happy to know there are nitric oxide boosters that can amplify that sensation every time you train.
Read on as we break down which nitric oxide boosters are most effective and how the NO-XT and NO-XT BLACK formulas differ.
What Does Nitric Oxide Do?
Nitric oxide is the beloved molecule of many gym-goers, as it's responsible for signaling blood vessels to expand (a process known as vasodilation). When nitric oxide is elevated in the circulation, it improves blood flow and nutrient/oxygen delivery to muscle tissues.
In turn, nitric oxide facilitates more intense muscle pumps and overall athletic performance. Better oxygen and nutrient availability gives your muscles the nourishment they need to squeeze out that final rep of every set when you're in the trenches.
Likewise, nitric oxide boosters can bolster recovery after training through the same mechanism.
But which nitric-oxide-boosting ingredients should you look for in a supplement?
The Best Nitric Oxide Supplements
We've curated a list of the top nitric oxide supplements to consider if your goal is to get stronger muscle pumps during training. Taking some or all of these ingredients together will confer ostensible synergy for boosting nitric oxide before and after your workouts.
L-Citrulline is a nitric oxide booster that must not be overlooked by athletes and gym-goers. Citrulline is a non-proteinogenic amino acid involved in the urea cycle and L-arginine-nitric-oxide cycle. Biologically, citrulline is a dispensable intermediate that helps the body eliminate nitrogenous metabolites (e.g. ammonia) and "recycle" arginine for on-demand nitric oxide synthesis.
Naturally, supplementing with L-citrulline provides a rapid and lasting increase in nitric oxide production and can significantly enhance aerobic and anaerobic performance .
In order to get maximum results, you’ll want to take a dosage of around 4,000 - 6,000 mg of L-citrulline about an hour prior to starting your workout session, which is how much you’ll get when you take Jacked Factory Pre-Workout powders.
Another great nitric-oxide-boosting supplement is reduced L-glutathione, an essential antioxidant throughout the body. L-glutathione is unique in that preserves nitric oxide function and reduces oxidative stress, both of which contribute to better blood flow and enhanced exercise performance . For this reason, glutathione offers synergy with virtually any other nitric oxide supplement.
An evidence-based dose of glutathione ranges between 200 to 1,000 mg . Look for the branded Setria® reduced L-glutathione ingredient (found in NO-XT Black).
NO3-T® (Arginine Nitrate)
NO3-T® is the only nitric oxide booster on the market that provides amino acid-bonded nitrate (as arginine nitrate). As such, arginine nitrate targets two distinct mechanisms for increasing nitric oxide production: the nitrate component provides a complementary mechanism to form nitric oxide when the L-arginine → L-citrulline pathway is inhibited .
Thus, supplementing with arginine nitrate ensures stable, lasting nitric oxide production. Typical doses of arginine nitrate range between 1,000-2,000 mg taken shortly before exercise.
Pine Bark Extract
The bark of Pinus pinaster (French maritime pine) is a rich source of distinct proanthocyanidins, bioflavonoids, and organic acids with marked cardioprotective, phlebotonic, and antioxidant properties . Notably, the proanthocyanidins in pine bark extract are metabolized to catechin, caffeic acid, cinnamic acid, ferulic acid, taxifolin, and δ-(3,4-dihydroxy-phenyl)-γ-valerolactone. These constituents are well-established anti-hypertensive compounds that have been used with success in clinical settings .
The last nitric oxide supplement ingredient we want to highlight is Nitrosigine® (L-arginine silicate), a patented compound made from arginine, inositol (vitamin B8), and silicon. Nitrosigine® exerts nitric-oxide-boosting effects in the body for several hours, as one would expect with a stabilized form of L-arginine . This makes it one of the more promising nitric oxide boosters on the market.
It’ll help to increase blood flow and oxygen to working muscle tissues, improving your total work capacity potential and reducing fatigue during intense exercise.
NO-XT contains a robust 500 mg dose of Nitrosigine® in every serving to help augment muscle pumps during training. With that in mind, here are the key differences between NO-XT and NO-XT Black.
NO-XT vs. NO-XT Black: What to Know
Okay, so now you might be wondering how the NO-XT Black formula separates itself from the "OG" NO-XT. Both of these nitric oxide boosters feature essential nitric oxide precursors and catalysts, but NO-XT Black has some distinct upgrades that make it a more comprehensive formula.
For one, NO-XT Black contains NO3-T® instead of Nitrosigine® and L-citrulline. Remember that NO3-T® (arginine nitrate) is unique in that it targets both the nitrate-nitrite-nitric-oxide and arginine-citrulline-nitric-oxide pathways; it is essentially a "dual threat" for increasing blood flow and muscle pumps.
NO-XT Black also ups the ante with the likes of added vitamin C, Astragin, pine bark extract, and Setria® reduced L-glutathione. These ingredients work complementary to one another to enhance nitric oxide synthesis, reduce muscle fatigue, and fortify blood flow for lasting ergogenic effects.
Make no mistake, the original NO-XT gets the job done with just four simple (and effective) nitric-oxide-boosting ingredients: L-citrulline, L-glutathione, Nitrosigine®, and BioPerine®. If you've already tried the original NO-XT formula and had good results, then NO-XT Black will be a solid upgrade to your supplement stash.
For those who have limited experience with nitric oxide supplements, it might be best to start with NO-XT before moving onto NO-XT Black. Whichever one you choose, you’ll be giving your body key nutrients to amplify blood flow, muscle pumps, strength, endurance, and recovery.