Nitric Oxide Side Effects

Nitric Oxide Side Effects - Background

Nitric oxide - NO was discovered in the 80's when scientists were looking at a peculiar gas that was released only for an instant every time a muscle contracted and blood vessel dilated. For a more detailed nitric oxide definition click on the preceeding link.

Nitric oxide increases blood flow and causes blood surges which is what we in fitness and bodybuilding circles call - "the pump".

NO is also responsible for wound healing after cuts, abrasions and muscle injuries. In addition, it also prevents artherosclerosys (hardening of the arteries), erectyle dysfuntion and diabetes.

In the fitness and bodybuilding industry, nitric oxide supplements are marketed as products that increase blood flow and thereby help promote increased muscle mass gains.

L-arginine, used to produce nitric oxide synthase (enzyme needed to make NO) is the key ingredient in nitric oxide supplements.

Side Effects of Nitric Oxide

There isn't much documented evidence that more thoroughly examines the side effects of nitric oxide but there have been some limited studies that reported instances of the folowing side effects:

  • Diarrhea and Nausea
  • Headaches and Migranes
  • Hypotension (low blood pressure)
  • Respiratory side effects such as atelectasis (medicalcondition whereby lungs do not fully inflate) and stridor (stridor is a high pitched sound resulting from turbulent air flow in the upper airway and indicates severe airway obstruction).
  • Hyperglycemia (high blood sugar)
  • Hematuria (presence of red blood cells in the urine which may be a sign of kidney stones or a tumor in the urinary tract)
  • Methemoglobinemia - a disorder characterized by the presence of a higher than normal level of methemoglobin (metHb) in the blood. Methemoglobin is a form of hemoglobin that does not bind oxygen. When its concentration is elevated in red blood cells, tissue hypoxia can occur.

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