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NO-BOOSTERS. MECHANISMS OF ACTION.
Supplements categorised as NO-boosters are used by a large group of strength athletes, strength and endurance athletes, bodybuilders and amateurs alike. How they act and how to use them?
Supplements known as NO-boosters are taken to enhance nitric oxide production and improve the circulation of oxygen and nutrients in the body.
Properly oxygenated muscles perform better and recover faster after working out. NO-boosters are known for causing vasodilation, i.e. the widening of blood vessels through relaxation of their smooth muscles. This, in turn, causes the sensation bodybuilders refer to as the “pump” and favours good oxygen supply to muscles during training. In consequence, the muscle strength and power grow.
The core ingredient of the majority of boosters is L-Arginine. The major role of L-Arginine is nitric oxide production (the role described above). Additionally, the substance enhances the production of new muscle cells and prevents vascular diseases. Another popular booster ingredient is citrulline, also responsible for nitric oxide synthesis, which additionally enhances metabolism and accelerates tissue regeneration.
Arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide. Once the NO molecule has been created, arginine is converted into citrulline. Then, citrulline reconstructs arginine, making it ready to produce nitric acid again. This makes these two amino-acids the basis of the majority of sports supplements used as NO-boosters.
After consumed, arginine (or citrulline) from the supplement permeates from the digestive tract to the circulatory system. Vascular endothelial cells have special invaginations in the plasma membrane, known as caveolae. This is where arginine and the proteins that transport the substance inside the endothelial cells are stored.
Now, the time comes for acetylcholine to act. Acetylcholine interacts with acetylcholine receptors in the plasma membrane. The signal flowing from an excited receptor activates an enzyme known as NOS (nitric acid synthase), which catalyses NO production from arginine. The so produced nitric acid penetrates into the smooth muscles of blood vessels and relaxes them, thus leading to vasodilation.
Effects of NO-boosters
First and foremost, these supplements enhance training performance, accelerate post-workout recovery and increase the vascular conduit, thus facilitating the “muscle pump” effect.
NO-boosters are perfectly legal and safe, but you must make sure that the dosage is appropriate and that the substance does not contain anything that may be harmful to you.