Many athletes want to experience pumping, which is the process, when the muscles increase in volume due to dilated blood vessels. This feeling similar to an explosion is considered a sign of a good workout. Nitric oxide donors will help achieve pumping: they increase blood circulation, stimulating the inflow of nutrients to muscle tissue. As a result, you train longer, harder, recover quickly, and achieve pumping.
Pumping occurs due to nitric oxide (NO), a molecule that leads to vasolidation (relaxation) of the walls of blood vessels. This also accelerates blood circulation, stimulating the flow of oxygen into the muscle cells. Together, these effects make muscles bulkier.
L-Arginine – the main component of supplements for pumping
Arginine is an amino acid that is transformed into nitric oxide in the body. In theory, arginine accelerates blood circulation, thereby improving performance and enhancing training. Scientific facts, confirmed by studies of the action of L-arginine, say that the amino acid does enter the body and raises the level of arginine in the blood.
However, increasing of this level does not always affect the blood circulation or the effectiveness of training. One study has showed that sports nutrition with arginine raises its level in the blood, without affecting nitric oxide or muscle blood flow, and without increasing the synthesis of muscle protein. In another study, it has been shown that the amino acid increases the blood flow, but not the strength of athletes.
Even prolonged administration of arginine does not seem to be efficient. 12 grams of arginine alpha-ketoglutarate for 7 days led to the increasing of level of amino acid in the blood. But L-arginine did not lead to any of the effects, which athletes need.
This substance is also known as an alternative to Viagra as it can improve potency in male persons. However, the effect of arginine is weak and can only be felt in combination with other stronger drugs.
Is arginine effective?
At the moment, it is proved that arginine can accelerate blood circulation, but does not increase the training capacity significantly. There are some athletes whose bodies respond to arginine: they experience muscle pumping. For determining the effectiveness of donators of nitric oxide you have to experience it by yourself. However, for most athletes, supplements with arginine are ineffective.
Other donors of nitric oxide
Studies have shown the effectiveness of inorganic nitrate (NO3) from food sources in increasing of the level of nitric oxide. This substance is contained in beet extract or juice.
Dietary NO3 becomes a biologically active form of NO2 in the body, which is further transforms into nitric oxide. Studies have shown that beet juice improves performance in cyclists. Hypothetically, the substance improves the work of mitochondria (part of the cell where energy is generated).
Viagra (the drug for ED) is also used as NO donor in sport. Some sportsmen purchase Viagra online to use it on sport purposes. They say that this drug slightly reduces the level of arterial pressure, has a positive effect on the heart, and effectively improves blood flow in the muscles. In addition, side effects of Viagra aren’t common. Some mistakenly believe that taking this drug causes an unwanted erection, but it is not. In the absence of sexual arousal (stimulation), the erection usually does not occur (only at night, this is the so-called nocturnal spontaneous erections that are characteristic of all healthy males).