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Articles > Bodybuilding Supplements > What is NO2 - Nitric Oxide?
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Nitric oxide is a colorless, free radical gas commonly found in tissues of all mammals. It can also be prepared commercially by passing air through an electric arc. NO2 acts as a signal molecule in the nervous system, and it is an important neuro-messenger in a number of vertebrate signal processes. It is also a weapon against infections, a blood pressure regulator and a gatekeeper of blood flow to different organs. Bone marrow cells readily produce nitric oxide in response to inflammations.

This simple, common, air pollutant, which is formed when nitrogen burns (think car exhaust fumes and power plants) became a sensation when scientists discovered that it harnesses the body's natural energy source: blood, to regulate cell function throughout. The inner lining of blood vessels use Nitric Oxide to signal the surrounding smooth muscle to relax, thus dilating the artery and increasing blood flow. Increased Nitric Oxide production improves circulation to the body's vital organs, including heart and brain. This is of interest to bodybuilders, as increased blood flow will deliver more nutrients to muscles, helping them to become larger when subject to stress.

From Contaminant to Health Requirement

NO2 is a very reactive, toxic gas with harmful effects on the environment. It has been implicated in depletion of the ozone layer, formation of photochemical smog, and acid rain. Chemists and environmentalists in the 1980's commonly regarded it as a nasty little molecule with a bad reputation. Since then, scientists discovered that NO2 is essential for overall health and well being in humans.

Key Bodybuilding Benefits of Nitric Oxide

Hemodilation
Nitric oxide supplements induce hemodilation, which is the widening of the blood vessels in the skeletal muscles. Wider blood vessels leads to amplified blood flow; more blood flow within the muscles means faster muscle recovery, faster gains in muscle mass, and increased strength and endurance. It also creates the so-called "perpetual pump" that nitric oxide supplements are becoming known for.

"Perpetual Pump"
Taking nitric oxide supplements can help you achieve a natural "perpetual pump" - a muscle pump that remains in its post-exercise, blood-engorged, hard condition all day long. Although the extent of this effect varies from person to person, almost all nitric oxide users experience an overall "hardening" of their muscles, which obviously improves physique quality.

Muscle Fiber Twitch Acceleration
By increasing NO production through the use of nitric oxide supplements, you can naturally increase the maximum contractile velocity of both your fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle fibers. For most people this means a significant increase in the overall strength of each and every muscle group.

Increased Endurance Index (EI)
Current research shows that keto-acids, like the ones found in nitric oxide supplements, can significantly delay muscle fatigue and improve you Endurance Index (a measure of the rate of increased endurance during work output). What this means is that you can work out harder - for a longer period of time - before reaching muscle fatigue. Many nitric oxide users notice that they don't get tired as quickly during sets and workouts.

Basically, nitrous oxide supplements solve 95% of the problems of natural bodybuilding. They allow you to enjoy many of the benefits of steroids without the dangers. You can experience continuous gains in lean muscle mass, enjoy a perpetual pump, lift more weight, recover from workouts faster, and have far more effective workouts with less fatigue. Anyone who is interested in experiencing these amazing benefits should give nitric oxide supplements a try.

A Short History of Nitric Oxide

Robert F. Furchgott, Louis J. Ignarro and Ferid Murad jointly received the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998 for their discoveries concerning "nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system."

Furchgott, a New York pharmacologist, studied the effect of drugs on blood vessels, but discovered that sometimes the same drug caused a contraction, and at other times a dilatation. His experiments led him to conclude that the blood vessels dilated because their surface cells produced an unknown signal molecule that made their smooth muscle cells relax. His findings led to a quest for the molecule.

Murad, an MD and pharmacologist, studied how nitroglycerin and related compounds act. In 1977 he discovered that these compounds release nitric oxide, which relaxes smooth muscle cells. The idea that a gas could control important cellular functions captivated him, and he speculated that other factors such as hormones might also act through NO2. There was no evidence to hold up this belief at the time.

Ignarro, a Los Angeles pharmacologist, participated in the search for Furchgott's signal molecule. In 1986, after an inspired series of analyses, he concluded that the molecule was NO2, identifying Furchgott's factor and solving the problem. This was the first discovery that a gas can act as a signal molecule in the organism.

Other Uses for Nitric Oxide

Nitric Oxide is the key molecule for circulation, erection and arousal. The popular drug Viagra contains Nitric Oxide, essential for increasing blood flow to the penis.

NO gas has also been used in the treatment of intensive care patients, especially infants with dangerously high blood pressure in their lungs - a major cause of cardiorespiratory failure. Dosage is critical since the gas can be poisonous at high concentrations.

Nitric Oxide is important to you as a bodybuilder, and its supplements carry a lot of marketing hype. Many of the companies that produce it have no research to back their claims. So when you're buying it, get it from a reputable company known for making quality products.

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