Nitric oxide is a gas produced in the body that promotes communication between cells.

What are its health benefits?

Nitric oxide is produced when the amino acid L-citrulline is recycled into L-arginine. Blood flow is increased which allows more oxygen into tissues.

The benefits of nitric oxide include:

  • Maintaining a healthy blood pressure
  • Preventing atherosclerosis (a disease in which plaque builds up inside your arteries)
  • Modulating immune system function
  • Performance-boosting nitric oxide supplements are also available for bodybuilding and high-performance sport.
  • Nitric oxide also plays a role in sexual stimulation – impulses from the brain and nerves cause the release of nitric oxide, resulting in an erection for men and genital stimulation for women.

Do you have a deficiency?

A nitric oxide deficiency is suspected to play a role in several disorders. Symptoms of deficiency include:

The presence of nitric oxide declines with age, but exercise and diet can increase its production.

Find it in these foods

Nitric oxide-boosting foods include:

  • Beets and beet juice
  • Artichokes
  • Dark-green leafy vegetables such as kale, Swiss chard, spinach
  • Hawthorn extract
  • Nuts and fruits (for L-arginine and L-citrulline)
  • Sesame seeds
  • Crab meat
  • Shrimp meat
  • White turkey meat

A nitric-oxide boosting supplement can also help your body to work more efficiently.

Recommended dietary allowance (RDA)

No official dosing guidelines have been established. Dosage depends on age, gender and specific needs. Consult your Clicks pharmacist or your doctor before taking any supplements.

Know the overdose risks 

An overdose of nitric oxide does not produce dangerous or life-threatening symptoms, but unregulated use can cause health problems. Too much production of nitric oxide can reportedly destroy brain cells, while too little may affect memory.

Other side effects include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness
  • Sweating
  • Unusual tiredness or weakness

Ensure you discuss dietary supplementation with your Clicks pharmacist to avoid the potential for side effects and adverse interactions with medications.

Shop online at Clicks.co.za for sports nutrition

Clicks stocks a wide range of GNC supplements containing nitric oxide for you to choose from, as well as other sports nutrition products and supplements.

The accuracy of this information was checked and approved by Clicks' pharmacist Waheed Abdurahman in February 2015