Nice article, as always, but NO is not an amino acid.
“What is Nitric Oxide?
* Vasodilator: NO is an amino acid which works as a vasodilator. [...]”
February 08 2011
Nitric Oxide (NO) supplements are one of the most popular pre-workout supplements. NO explode is one of the top selling pre-workout supplements at bodybuilding.com.
The major claim of nitric oxide supplements is that it increases blood flow the muscle and can bring in more oxygen and amino acids. ( and thereby increase muscle growth). But is it true?
Nice article, as always, but NO is not an amino acid.
“What is Nitric Oxide?
* Vasodilator: NO is an amino acid which works as a vasodilator. [...]”
Anoop | Tue February 08, 2011
Thanks for the catch. I changed it. I get too impatient that I just want to get it over with and don’t bother to read it over again. It was meant for arginine.
Gerrit Keferstein | Tue February 08, 2011
And arginine doesnt produce NO. NO-Synthetase produces NO from L-Arginine.
The studies only show the effects of arginine. And it seems as if arginine may not be the limiting facotr.
But what about the effects of Nitric Oxide? Is it even useless having Nitric Oxide in a supplement, because it has a half life of only 3-4 Minutes in vivo?
Anoop | Wed February 09, 2011
Thanks for the comment.
I know arginine is a precursor. Jut don’t want to use that kind of language. Nobody cares about that kind of molecular stuff.
NO is too unstable to have it by itself. There might be other ways to increase NO. We know viagra works via NO.
I think NO is just another marketing gimmick and one good example what works in clinical population may have a totally different physiological effects in healthy individuals.
Joe Cannon MS CSCS | Thu February 10, 2011
I 100% agree with these findings. I came to the same conclusions when I wrote my book Nutritional Supplements What Works and Why. I also highlighted the real evidence (or lack of) for arginine in my review of thte P90X Recovery drink
Anoop is one of the few people out there I see who gives people the real facts they (the supplement companies) don’t want you to know about.
Joe Cannon MS CSCS-NSCA-CPT
Anoop | Sun February 13, 2011
Thanks Joe for the comments. I migh thave to check out your book
There are have been couple of studies about beet root juice elevating NO through another mechanism.
Joe | Tue February 15, 2011
Thanks Ill have to check out beet root juice. You might like the book. while I wrote it for the public, it has over 400 references with most facts referenced in the text of the book
Joe Cannon MS CSCS-NSCA-CPT
work out with no xplode.and without it and see and feel the results and u will stop this nonsense. i may not be able to prove it or disprove it as u attempt but try it and see ! drew
Is not experience the most reliable form of testing ? not sure how u view it as pointless? it is pointless to say something does not work because one specific messure of efficacy show little change. have u ever considered there could be another mechanism allowing for the improvements so many experience. truth is products that do nothing , do not last as people stop buying that after they experience no improvement. obviously no xplode is still selling . i guess that is also a pointless observation. if someone differs in opinion from u it becomes pointless, not even wrong ? what a close minded !
“Is not experience the most reliable form of testing ?”
Nope. It’s probably the least reliable. People see Elvis every day, or the virgin Mary in their toast…they experienced it, so must be pretty reliable, eh?
The most reliable form of testing is double blinded, placebo controlled, randomized trials.
The tagline of this website is “the science of exercise”. Science does not deal with anecdotes like the one you posted, so they’re pointless here.
Your experience can easily be explained by the placebo effect: “Through a combination of suggestion, belief, expectancy, cognitive reinterpretation, and diversion of attention, subjects given biologically useless supplements can often experience measurable effect.”
Homeopathic remedies sell like crazy too, and they don’t work - so what’s your point?
...talk about being close minded!
Read this, you might learn something
I typed a full answer to your reply however this low end website said i did not type the security word correctly, which i did. even verified and tried again. used the preview and still it was deleted . apparently u do not want to hear the response and i will not waist my time retyping this on a blackberry
I do want to hear the response!
I don’t manage this site, I have no idea what went wrong…but if you tried to post via your bb, that might be the issue…
...or you’re just making an excuse, because you don’t really have a response…
Here’s the explanation of the effect you’re experiencing…in a nice video format :D
Anoop | Fri February 18, 2011
Thanks for the comments.
The effects you are seeing is just a stimulant effect due to the increase in Epinephrine and Norepinephrine. You can get that effect and even more with other products which has NO arginine in it whatsoever.
Just take a look at the NO explode ingredient list and you will see a lot of ingredients which does this like Tyrosine, Taurine,herbal stuff and such. And who knows what goes in their “proprietary blend”. http://www.bodybuilding.com/store/bsn/xplode.html
Here is a cheap stimulant: L-Tyrosine+caffeine+ sugar. Tyrosine is the precursor for adrenaline. If that doesn’t help, you can buy straight ephedrine. If you a really hardcore, you can snort ammonia like those powerlifters. All these you can buy for the fraction of the price of NO explode.
The specific claims of NO like increasing blood flow to the muscles thereby increasing o2 transport, recovery,protein synthesis and such doesn’t exist. The stimulant effects you see and experience has nothing to do with arginine.
This argument has grown old and stale! You continue to site unconfirmed,non pier reviewed studies, you continue to ignore other benfits like increased growth hormone production, and further ignore the fact that you, yourself admit that at higher doses their are results. Why would you simply assume that the dose would have to be messured in mg, and not in grams ? Also, why would claim no results in your conclusion, but in the earlier part of your own article state “In healthy individuals infusion of very high doses of arginine (3-4 times higher than oral dosage) has shown to increase NO and blood flow though” Claiming it has no effect and then contradicting yourself, makes for a most humorous read. No one said how you had to take it. By deductive reasoning, if high dose infusions of it yielded benefits, then making very high dose oral or other routes of administration would simply have similar results. The substance either does or does not do something.
Please do not send me unsourced studies as I can do the same. I can also send a few sourced ones, one from JAMA, again your own study showed a benefit…
GAME - SET - MATCH Drew
Anoop | Tue March 01, 2011
Thanks for the reply.
If it is published in a journal, it is usually peer reviewed. Both the articles are published in reputed journals. So I am not sure what you mean by ‘non-peer reviewed’.
And I hope you really understand the meaning of infusion. It means that you will have to put a tube through your vein when they pump arginine into your blood. I hope you don’t think Arginine is worth doing that to yourself.
If you are really into increasing NO, drink some beet root juice. There is more studies showing that beet root juice increases NO through a different mechanism than arginine and it is cheap too.
Anoop, if I wanted to take some beet root juice pre-WO, what would be a good dose based on the studies you mentioned?
Anoop | Tue March 08, 2011
In on of the studies they took 500ml of beetroot juice for 6 days to see an improvement. I cannot find the study on my drive and I will write an article soon about it.
Anyway, try it and let us know.
I would love to…but it is just waaaaay too pricey, about 5 dollars per 500 mL which would put me in at about 100 dollars a month. I’m just going to start making a homemade pre-workout with some stimulants, creatine, etc. If you write up something about beet root juice be sure to reply on this comment thread so I can get the update in my email. Thanks!
Anoop | Wed March 09, 2011
Isn’t it cheaper to buy it from a grocery store and make the juice rather than buying it?
Excellent Casual browsing yields a thread where people look for peer reviewed articles on workout sups.
It’s so hard to cut through the hype that saturates the internet on most sups. Frown at me now, cause I just brought NO Explode, and I am feeling a little foolish!
I brought this product after I saw my GP to confirm that I had tendon damage in my right forarm. He told me that the healing rate would be slow owing to tendons not getting a great deal of blood flow. Less blood flow = slower healing rate. My reasoning was to purchase a NO sup to increase blood flow to the tendons thereby speeding up the healing process.
I liked the beetroot alternative you gave to the other user, so after detailing exactly why this wont work (haha) could you rustle up some advice for me and my arm also? Cheers
It is exciting to see how many points the readers arise about your fitness related articles!
As a researcher in the field of exercise and metabolism I would like to place a comment on commons conclusions (mis)taken from scientific data. Example: given that “A” is an important factor for muscle hypertrophy, and now someone has shown that the intervention “B” stimulates “A”, one concludes that “B” leads to muscle hypertrophy. To give a real example, it is widely known that nitric oxide is vasodilator molecule and can increase blood flow under certain physiological/pathological conditions; “the deductive person” will probable think: if I can increase nitric oxide I will increase blood flow and the delivery of nutrients and oxygen, therefore bursting performance/muscle growth. Wrong! For short, the only thing that matters is how your dependent variable is (in this case performance/muscle mass) affected by your intervention (for example, supplementation of a nutrient). Whether vasodilatation, increased blood flow, anabolic hormones, or peripheral nutrient uptake went up or down, it does not matter. People should not pick up that insulin, GH or testosterone are increased by a “treatment” and conclude that this “treatment” leads to hypertrophy
Anoop | Fri March 11, 2011
Thanks for the comment and spoken like a true researcher.
Very true. It only makes a good hypothesis which needs to be tested in an RCT. Do email me me the dates you are coming to US.
Anoop | Fri March 11, 2011
Thanks for the comment.
I think there is a few studies showing eccentric exercise being helpful for tendon repair and healing.High reps seems to be good for connective tissue healing and growth (GH release.
And supplement companies are like cigarette companies. The last thing they worry about is your health and well being.
I’m so happy to have come across this site. It amazes me to read all this information on your site and have it based on real data from studies, helping me to make my own decisions about how to undergo my training and make important decisions on what to buy and use.
I thought about using this product for awhile too, glad I know better!
Questions, I need some good pre workout stims to get me energized, but don’t really like how caffeine gives me headaches over the long haul. You mentioned something previously about some type of adrenaline pre-cursor, where can I get this, and is it affordable and safe?
Anoop | Fri April 29, 2011
Thanks for the kind words. It is clearly the very purpose of the site.
Caffeine seems to be included in most pre-workout cocktails. The one I wrote about is Tyrosine +Caffeine. You can try it and see.
And I am not big into pre-workouts. It just makes you so dependent on these and you don’t know when you are getting over-trained or not. If you use it, just use it sparingly.
I am 19 and currently a college student with a major of APK Fitness/Wellness. I work out daily and I am constantly looking for new supplements to increase my performance and health. Your article and feedback have been incredibly helpful and educational to me even though it only fills a page of a website. The more you explain how pre-workout supplements work the more I realize how bogus these supplement companies claims are, and realize that what most people are really feeling in their workout is stimulants such as caffeine, taurine, etc. I recently started taking a pre-workout called Oxy-elite pro from USP labs, and it has worked wonders for me. I feel heavy stimulant effects from it similar to a prescription drug like adderall or vyvanse. I vaguely looked up the ingredients on the nutrition label and didn’t find out much so I would like to know if this supplement could have adverse side-effects on my health. I have read up a little on the effects of amphetamines on the body and what I have read doesn’t look very bright…I am extremely glad that I stumbled upon your article, if you could give me feedback on how to follow you and your future articles through this website or twitter or something, it would be greatly appreciated.
Anoop | Wed June 08, 2011
Thanks for comment and glad the article was helpful.
I looked it up and it seems like a fat burner. It has too many herbal compounds that you got no clue what would happen if you take it long term.
I have a facebook page for the website that you can add and a twitter and a email option. All on the home page.
Usually these types of pages start off sounding skeptical, only to end up singing the praises of the supplement, then linking to a “Buy Me!” page, affiliate code included. I was very pleased to see the simple TRUTH, that NO is a waste in healthy individuals, and I commend you for politely handling these lemmings who insist that they saw miraculous results from snake oil (they’re likely employees of the companies that make this stuff).
There’s no magic bullet people.
I have a doctoral degree in pharmacology and believe that I have some evidence supporting the claim that nitric oxide supplementation does indeed lead to overall increased muscle production. In a study by Durante, W. it was concluded that increased levels of extracellular l-arginine result in increased levels of growth-stimulatory polyamines, an essential precursor in cellular metabolism. Although this study examines l-arginine as a precursor to cardiovascular smooth muscle remodeling, the conclusion can be interpreted to support the overall catabolic claims that NO supplements often make.
Transforming Growth Factor-ß1 Stimulates L-Arginine Transport and Metabolism in Vascular Smooth Muscle Cells
Role in Polyamine and Collagen Synthesis
William Durante, PhD; Lan Liao, MS; Sylvia V. Reyna, BS; Kelly J. Peyton, MA; Andrew I. Schafer, MD
Anoop | Fri August 19, 2011
Thanks for the comment.
Which evidence is better? A study which looks directly at protein synthesis in sketelal muscle in humans? Or a study which looks at smooth muscle cell growth in cell culture from the thoracic aorta of rats?
Ty | Fri October 14, 2011
I can’t believe that people will still try and defend NO Scams. Good on you for having the courage to speak the truth. Hopefully some reading this will save their hard-earned money and not bother buying this rubbish. Truth be told, most commercial supplements don’t work but the NO products are an outrageous scam. I wrote about this 2 years ago and got flamed, but I suspect most of them are working for the supplement companies.
Rob | Fri October 21, 2011
I think I have to agree with Anoop on this, that NO supplements don’t increase blood flow in healthy individuals. Even if they did, how can this help to give you permanent gains anyway. I was about to buy a product called nitric blast x (i included a link) which makes this exact claim. Thanks for the advice.
Herb | Thu October 27, 2011
Arginine is the key ingredient in all N.O. products. It causes more blood flow, and in turn you’ll get greater PUMPS.
The challenge with Arginine is that the body excretes rather quickly. So, the difference in N.O. products is how measured the release of arginine is, and how long can you experience the effect.
I think Nitrix, NO2 and various other products are pretty good.
A cool side effect is that N.O. products increase the blood flow everywhere, and it will improve your skin tone and facial complexion.
I am absolutely astonished that this debate still goes on. To answer one person who stated that homeopathic remedies sell therefore this is the reason no xplode sells simply a placebo effect and hype . Yes for some time things like echinecea (sorry spelling wrong) sell and sell well but then there is a sharp drop . Sales of that stuff have plummeted from where they were before while no xplode has showed a sustained need for the product. Those who don’t know anything and just get a recommendation to take it do so with really no placebo effect. Matter of fact if u gave me a power and I knew none of the ingredients I would argue that I would be looking to disprove not prove its efficacy. People now a days research everything read your nonsense and I am sure what you consider my nonsense . A million other threads are out there that have the same argument so placebo effect is a wash .... They go take it and say let’s see which off those idiots is right ... Then they go back to working with out it when it runs out and they say , dam I m not getting the quality workout .
Obviously its not testosterone or winstrall .... It’s not going to make u the f ING hulk .... Did does however per your own study show at high doses to increase blood flow and oxygen flow and.obviously nutrient flow, and.toxin removal not even previously mentioned . U claim infusion of arginine to be the only way , well what do u think will happen if if u take enough to raise blood levels to the range u attained with the infusions.
Does ur body say , o this came from the outside via a needle or does it simply do the same thing it did at high concentrations . It doesn’t know where it came from.. and that is only ur study refuiting its efficacy, I have mounds of evidence and really the best thing about the proof is its continued use. Creatine sells still because it works other things ,.so so so many have gone by the way
Explain why one stays and one totally fades .... It’s about the workout u getbwith one verse without. BTW there are probably 15 or more similar products all selling boat loads also and of course the l Arginine it self has been always a hot seller especially in connection with l glutimine . Of course I respect your right to be wrong , I have been in the past but one thing you have forgot to mention is your knowledge and background in pharmacology , biology , or really any other science that might give u a clue what the hell really goes on. I have a bachelors degree from the university of Pittsburgh in Biology (pre med) , masters degree from university of mn , in psychopharmaceutical minor from u of pitt in chemistry having worked through organic chem 1 and 2 and analytical chem as well . Do u have any type of credentials that make u telling people.what works and what does not a really good idea ? If u do state it but by the way u like to argue , u would have blasted that in blog1 post . I remained low key to make this point. When getting info online consider the source . Now because I have those credentials does not make me right, but who would u trust if u had to take this to save ur life. Unless ur secretly A doctor (and many of them know nothing of drugs , especially supplements past what their pharm rep tells them and supplements don’t get drug rep time with doctors that’s on them. If ur have a pharmacy degree ok we are both then again breaking even but really u lack the knowledge of how some of these supplements activate neural pathways , increase or decrease the amount of neurotransmitters that present in the synaptic cleft ... I can’t even get into all those benefits and the resulting physiological modifications and upgrading that take place .... Cortisol changes .... On and on .... I am also am NASM TRAINER AND HAVE PLACE., WITH THEIR AGREEMENT ONE GROUP ON AND ONE GROUP OFF THOSE SUPPLEMENTS. STUDY SIZE WAS MODEST AT 36 IN ONE GROUP and 41 in another . The results are as follows on no xplode , clients gained 2.3 lbs more lean muscle over six months then did the control group and lost a modest but still significant 12.3% greater loss in total body fat we used calapers for measuring body fat and electronic impedance as well with that showing a greater 16.7 % great fat loss verse control .... That in six months . Now come on placebo ? Did I work them harder ? Lol did I make.them eat more at home or ruin their carrion workouts when they ran at home . Pretty much all things were fair and equal because people were simply elected by random selection 2nd letter of last name being in the first half the alphabet one group and group two the opposite . I can devote another minute to this but I keep getting an email telling there are more posts despite changing the site setting . Take ARGININE ALL THE WAY to the bank .
As for NO supplements working, or not working….They WORK. Is it specifically Nitric Oxide, or something else in their propietary blends? I’m not sure. If your research leads you to believe it isn’t Nitric Oxide, who am I to argue?
I will say however, between me, and three other friends I personally know, combined with the experience of another dozen people I’ve followed via their writings or posts online, No-Xplode works. Again, this could be due to other factors…..but its very silly to say it doesn’t work. I can say for sure, it is NOT simply placebo effect…...you could do a blind study and notice the same thing.
I base my experience , as anyone who takes the hobby of weight lifting seriously, on my recorded gains. For the past 3 years, I’ve done MUCH lifting both on and off…...and not ONCE have I ever noticed anywhere close to the increase in muscle mass or gains as I did while taking NO-Xplode.
Anoop | Fri February 10, 2012
Thanks for the comment.
Your anecdotal experience don’t say anything at all. There are anecdotal evidences for every supplement out there. If you go by it, you will have to buy every supplement and try it out.
Good work my friend. It is hard to watch people part with their money and potentially harm their bodies. As an anesthetist, athlete and critical reader, a few more thoughts:
Sildenafil (Viagra) works of NO transport as well, I’m curious why all the blokes taking this stuff (NO-Xplode, etc…) aren’t walking around the gym with a crazy erection? Not enough blood to go around? Doubt it!
It is still no wonder why the average size of the running back is going up and the life-span is going down…Cheers, Mate!
Hey man I was wondering if you could answer this question for me. I decided I would try out BSN Nitrixs tablets and after about two weeks I got results lol but not exactly what I was expecting. My girlfriend and I both had noticed how much thicker and harder my erections were and it seemed like it would take me forever to get off but I swear I wasnt even hoping for nothing like that to happen lol. So can you please explain this to me.
Anoop | Tue May 22, 2012
Could be via the increased blood flow. Not too many studies to confirm this. If L-arginine really did this,Viagra would be screwed.
Dr. Bill Davis of the Heart Scan Blog used to recommend L-Arginine for heart care, but now has only equivicol support for it:
I will say from personal experience that if I take it consistently for a few weeks I do notice some mild, but noticable viagra-like side effects.
i would like to know whether i can make a pre workout MIX at home. if so, what all are the ingredients i should use and how much of each.
Just more anecdotal “evidence”....
The Viagra effects where an unexpected side effect on my first use of a NO2 product “original NO2”. I did NOT really notice these effects with use of NO2 Explode ...but then I wasn’t using this product every day. I’ve used Nitrix with only mild “increased genital blood flow”. Interestingly, with the New and improved NO2 brand products I noticed NO Viagra effect with NO2 Red and much diminished effect with NO2 Black.
At 47y/o these “symptoms” may be more pronounced.
When I was taking the original NO2 brand formulation I did periodically smoke (~1 pk/2weeks) which may have had a vascular effect countered by the supplement. (None of them contained stimulants BTW). But at this time (late 30’s-)with the original formula, I would develop almost painful erections, always wake with “morning wood” and yes, have that 18y/o’s instant HO at inappropriate times when taking a daily dose. It usually was a DELAYED response…starting about 3 days after starting and lasting (tapering effect) for about 1 week after discontinuing.
I have No real idea about mass gains etc as I was upping training/protein etc. I did notice increased “pump” both in painful muscular distension during workout and prolonged muscular “fullness” for long after workout. (all “show” I know but very real effect).
I have no brand performance and tend to be skeptical of ‘real effects’ (ie feeling a ‘buzz-tingle’ from B-alanine has no performance effect) so I tend to discount the placebo effect in myself (I was greatly surprised by the failure of the NO2 Red [very expensive and ‘improved’] for example)
Oh…. and l-Arginine is a common ingredient in the popular “herbal Viagra” products out there.
So for what it’s worth…. It appears L-Arginine –in some formulations, seems to enhance profusion (erection & working muscle) by some mechanism…..unknown if this has any other performance application….your results may vary.
PS. I DO understand that correlation is not proof etc….but for my case it was Very clear and dose/product specific & repeatable. I do applaud the taking of an evidence based approach to supplementation & diet -too much pseudo-science out there!
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I’ve just finished reading this article and all reviews and am very happy with this find. Sorry for the 1 year revive, but isn’t it always nice to hear when someone actually comes up and thanks you for your work (and the insightful and enlightening debates that followed)?
This site could become a new favorite! I’ll definitely be reading through more of your articles. Thanks!
Mike Dorsey | Fri July 10, 2015
Totally agree with these findings as well. This site is great- we’ll definitely weave in insights we find on this site (of course, clearly referencing you) into our articles and reviews.
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