What is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide is a signaling molecule that is produced by almost every cell in the body. Nitric oxide is also a neurotransmitter, working as a signaling molecule that plays a vital role in multiple processes throughout the body. Some of these processes include digestion, blood flow, vision, memory, immune system function, recovery, etc. Nitric oxide works by relaxing and widening the blood vessels. As this happens, hormones such as growth hormone (GH) and insulin are released. Furthermore, this widening of the blood vessels is the precursor to the majority of nitric oxide benefits. This process is referred to as vasodilation. 


What is vasodilation?

Vasodilation is the relaxing and widening of blood vessels. The smooth muscles in the arterial walls relax, which allows the blood vessels to widen. As a result, blood flow improves and blood pressure lowers.


How do we make nitric oxide?

Nitric oxide is not something we produce on its own. Nitric oxide needs precursors to be produced. Primarily, these precursors are L-arginine and L-citrulline. L-citrulline will be used to produce more L-arginine and L-arginine is used to synthesize nitric oxide. Once nitric oxide is produced, we can enjoy the various health benefits. Due to all the nitric oxide benefits we can potentially experience, it is often referred to as the “miracle molecule.”

Without further ado, here is a list of 10 nitric oxide benefits.


Nitric Oxide Benefits


1. Can Help Control Type 2 Diabetes

It may be a little known fact, but there is evidence showing that nitric oxide production is impaired in those suffering from type 2 diabetes. As a result of this impairment, potential problems include high blood pressure, kidney issues, heart problems, and more. Because nitric oxide is so critical for so many body and cellular processes, supplementing nitric oxide or getting more nitric oxide through diet and lifestyle choices is essential for fighting diabetes symptoms. Some of the nitric oxide benefits pertaining to diabetes include improved blood circulation, improved oxygen and nutrient delivery, improved wound healing, increased insulin sensitivity, and improved blood sugar control. The precursor of nitric oxide, L-arginine, has been suggested to be able to delay the onset of diabetes, but more research is needed before L-arginine can be looked at as a prescription for diabetics.


2. Circulation

Honestly, this nitric oxide benefit should have been first on the list. Improved blood circulation is responsible for many of the other benefits associated with nitric oxide. Since nitric oxide causes the blood vessels to widen, it makes sense that your blood circulation would improve since more blood is now flowing through the wider vessels. As blood circulation increases, nutrient and oxygen delivery improve as well. As another benefit of improved circulation, you may experience improved cardiovascular health but we will touch more on that later.


3. Sexual Health In Men

Fellas, this ones for you. If you have any issues getting your flagpole to full mass, nitric oxide may be able to help. Another nitric oxide benefit is its potential to help men suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED). Because nitric oxide improves blood flow throughout the body, it is possible that as blood delivers oxygen and nutrients more efficiently, you can experience a decrease in ED symptoms. Furthermore, nitric oxide is necessary for the penis to become erect. Contrary to what you would think, muscles around the penis have to relax in order to allow blood to flow in and give you an erection. Nitric oxide is good at relaxing smooth muscles in arterial walls. This in turn allows blood to flow in and can increase the frequency and duration of erections in men suffering from ED.


4. Blood Pressure

We kind of already touched on this nitric oxide benefit. However, in case you missed it, we can highlight the benefit here. As vasodilation allows more blood to flow through blood vessels, this decreases blood pressure. High blood pressure occurs when the force of your blood against the vessel walls is too high. Over time, high blood pressure can lead to issues such as kidney and heart disease. We want to avoid high blood pressure, so if you have hypertension or heart issues now, supplementing nitric oxide boosters may be beneficial for you in the long run.


5. Exercise Performance

This nitric oxide benefit could really help the gym bros and chicks out there. Since nitric oxide is so critical to so many processes within the body, some of those processes affect exercise performance. One of those is blood circulation. As blood circulation allows improved nutrient and oxygen delivery, muscles get more necessary fuel during and after a workout. It is because of this that many pre-workouts on the market include nitric oxide precursors such as L-citrulline and L-arginine. The takeaway here is that supplementing nitric oxide can potentially improve your energy and stamina while you work out. This will allow you to work out longer and harder, as well as recover faster.


6. Immune System Support

If you are prone to getting sick more than others around you, this nitric oxide benefit is for you. In light of the recent pandemic and the threat of future pandemics, immune system health has been a focal point for many the past few years. We all want to give our immune systems the best chance of fighting out illness. Yes, we can get vaccinated, quarantine, and all these other reactive measures. However, we can also implement some preventative measures as well.
These include a healthy diet, staying in good shape, getting quality sleep, etc. If you are already doing these, the next thing you can do is add some nitric oxide to your diet. Research suggests increasing your NO levels can improve immune system function. This is because NO is used by immune system cells to fight tumors, infections, and foreign intruders. It also sends signals throughout the body, making it crucial for getting cells prepared to fight off infections and diseases.


7. Cardiovascular and Heart Health

The nitric oxide benefits for your ticker are well worth mentioning. Due to NO’s ability to kickstart vasodilation, blood pressure gets lowered. When this happens, arterial stiffness decreases and so does the risk of heart disease. Also, improved blood flow allows the heart to pump blood more efficiently, helping the heart stay strong and healthy thanks to the optimal oxygen and nutrient delivery.


8. Wound Healing

This nitric oxide benefit is a little nuanced because other factors are at play when it comes to your ability to heal from a wound. However, it is hypothesized that because NO is a signaling molecule and is a key component of immune system function it has a role in wound healing. NO is likely partially responsible for skin rebuilding after an injury since it would signal immune system cells and repair cells to do their jobs. More research is needed to determine the extent of the role nitric oxide plays in wound healing.


9. Reproduction Health

This nitric oxide benefit applies to men and women. For women, nitric oxide plays a role in menstrual regulation, pregnancy progression, and fetal development from embryo to newborn during the duration of the pregnancy term. There is research suggesting potential fetal development can be impaired if there are insufficient NO levels in the mother’s body.

For men, NO helps regulate sperm development, sperm motility, sperm strength (ability to penetrate an egg), and sperm maturity. Insufficient NO levels can lead to low sperm count and low sperm vitality. Also, since nitric oxide helps with ED, nitric oxide helps sperm get delivered via improved erections.


10. Brain Health

If you or your family have a history of neurodegenerative disorders, this will likely pertain to you. Turns out that supplementing nitric oxide can improve blood flow to the brain. Furthermore, since nitric oxide is a signaling neurotransmitter, it plays an important role in intracellular communication between neurons in the brain. Because of the role NO plays in neuron communications, NO can potentially aid in the treatment of diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s.


Other Reported Nitric Oxide Benefits

There are already plenty of reasons to look into increasing NO consumption. However, people often take NO supplements for reasons other than well-researched benefits. Some possible benefits which are strictly anecdotal are:

improved lung function for those with lung-debilitating illnesses

preventing COVID-19

improving memory loss

preventing common colds

treating altitude sickness

speeding up weight loss

healing foot ulcers

speeding up recovery after a major injury

speeding up recovery after a major trauma


Other Nitric Oxide Benefits

Many of the benefits have some scientific research backing them up, but not enough to be a routine prescription from doctors. Most of the time, you can easily add more nitric oxide into your life by:

eating foods high in nitrate

eating foods high in antioxidants

increasing sunlight exposure

decreasing stress

nose breathing

limiting mouthwash use



The Takeaway

This list is far from exhaustive, but it’s a good start for increasing NO levels. There are very few side effects for you to worry about, so NO is safe for most people to consume. If you have any blood pressure or heart medications, certainly ask your doctor for advice before trying to actively increase your nitric oxide levels. Always ensure you are safe before adding anything to your health regimen. Nitric oxide plays a role in so many processes related to human health. If it makes sense for you to add more in or supplement with an NO booster, do so.