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The Nitric Oxide Boost

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Retailers say yes to NO boosters and their mass appeal.

When it comes to nitric oxide (NO), I consider myself an expert. But I have a unique perspective. For more than three decades I have raced more than 300 endurance events, including more than 150 triathlons of Olympic distance or longer, 103 marathons and numerous other events including ultra marathons and rough water swims from Alcatraz to the mainland. Truth be told, I have experienced the benefits of a wide range of nitric oxide boosters. These formulas are something to behold. Interestingly, nitric oxide products provide benefits to not only athletes, but to young and old alike. Moreover, these products can be beneficial for not only those that take these great products, but retailers as well.

That said, why do I espouse about nitric oxide the way I do? Over the past three decades I have bolstered my knowledge on the science behind nitric oxide and it is compelling to say the least. Much of this article will deal with what I have learned over the years and how retailers can help their customers address what consumers often perceive as a chronic lack of energy.

In a nutshell, NO is a gas naturally found in the body. Its function is to help the 50 trillion cells in the body communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body. NO is required for key physiological body functions. It is useful in treating a variety of health challenges, including insomnia, obesity, diabetes and libido. It is because of these benefits that NO boosters have profound mass appeal, which, if strategically merchandised, will create new profit centers for retailers.

Depending on the requirement, NO can act as a hormone, a neurotransmitter and an intracellular messenger. People who exercise regularly or perform rigorous physical activities need a higher amount of NO, as it allows for increased blood flow. Signs of NO deficiency include extreme fatigue and physical weakness.

NO has the following benefits, including, but not limited to, the following:

• Increases endurance and strength
• Reduces inflammation
• Improves sleep quality
• Regulates blood pressure and increases blood flow to the sexual organs by dilating arteries
• Enhances memory by transmitting information between nerve cells in the brain
• Assists the immune system at fighting off harmful bacteria

The desire to increase NO in the body has almost become an obsession for athletes of all kinds. NO booster sections are growing in health food stores and these formulas are becoming increasingly innovative. Athletes and exercise enthusiasts take NO supplements to support increased blood flow and oxygen to the skeletal muscle for increased performance. Furthermore, NO also facilitates the removal of exercise-induced lactic acid build-up, which reduces fatigue and recovery time. In fact, a wide range of demographics, including seniors, is using these products now because of their extreme efficacy. Retailers are stocking an increased number of NO products. Many contain the following nutrients, which are often part of comprehensive NO formulas:

Arginine: A semi-essential amino acid that is a precursor to NO. Increasing dietary intake of arginine from food and supplements increases production of NO. Taking arginine supplements improves blood pressure and blood flow and reduces risk of cardiovascular disease. Scientists at the Scientific Institute of San Raffaele in Milan, Italy, evaluated the effects of arginine supplementation on non-diabetic patients with cardiovascular disease. According to this research published in Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental, it was determined that arginine supplements increase NO production, reduce inflammation and improve cardiovascular function.

Citrulline: An amino acid produced by the body as a byproduct of synthesizing another amino acid, arginine. This is made possible by nitric oxide synthases, or NOS, a class of enzymes that synthesize nitric oxide from L-arginine, a form of arginine. The relationship between citrulline and NO impact the body in a variety of ways, including heart health and male sexual function.

Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine (GPLC): Consists of a molecular bonded form of propionyl-L-carnitine and one of the carnitine precursor amino acids, glycine. It is marketed as GlycoCarn through Sigma-tau HealthScience. Two recent studies have demonstrated an increase in blood levels of NO with oral GPLC intake, at a daily dosage of 4.5 grams (Bloomer et al., 2007; in press). These findings agree with other recent work using PLC exclusively (Lofreddo et al., 2007), which demonstrated an increase in blood nitric oxide in response to 6 grams per day of PLC given via intravenous infusion.

Pycnogenol: An extract of French maritime pine tree bark, it contains the natural antioxidants anthocyanin, which improves results when taking L-arginine. Pycnogenol has recently been isolated as an anti-hypertension aid. Containing bioflavonoids, including catechin and taxifolin, Pycnogenol is easily one of the best ways to increase NO. These bioflavonoids cause the release of NO from endothelial cells, resulting in relaxed, wide blood vessels. Not only is Pycnogenol an anti-hypertensive, but it is also used as a sports supplement. According to a Japanese study, participants who used pycnogenol prior to aerobic exercise had better blood flow than those who took the placebo.

NO supplementation can help anyone, but it is especially beneficial for people over the age of 40. People under 40 are in their prime physical years. Their muscles, cells and tissues are quick and efficient at releasing and producing NO to carry out different bodily processes. NO boosters are not crucial for this demographic. Retailers need to understand this in an effort to maximize sales in key demographics.

Nonetheless, when I was doing endurance events in my prime physical years, I would take NO boosters intra-race and would feel a noticeable difference in my energy and endurance. It was truly remarkable.

NO boosters have been and will always be great for anyone who takes them. And they are even better for the retailers who understand their immense benefits and sell them accordingly. These products are clinically validated showing efficacy and truly deliver. The only pressing question for retailers is how to create enough shelf space in their stores for all these great products. VR


“Metabolism: Clinical and Experimental”; Oral L-Arginine Supplementation Improves Endothelial Function and Ameliorates Insulin Sensitivity and Inflammation in Cardiopathic Nondiabetic Patients after an Aortocoronary Bypass; Pietro Lucotto, et al.; September 2009

Bloomer RJ, Smith WA, Fisher-Wellman KH. Glycine propionyl-L-carnitine increases plasma nitrate/nitrite in resistance-trained men. J Int Soc Sports Nutr 2007;4(1):22.

Bloomer RJ, Tschume LC, Smith WA: Glycine propionyl-L-carnitine modulates lipid peroxidation and nitric oxide in human subjects. Int J Vitam Nutr Res, In Press.

Loffredo L, Marcoccia A, Pignatelli P, Andreozzi P, Borgia MC, Cangemi R, Chiarotti F, Violi F: Oxidative-stress-mediated arterial dysfunction in patients with peripheral arterial disease. Eur Heart J 2007, 28(5): 608-612.

Mark Becker is an account manager for Vivion, a raw materials distributor, based in Vernon, CA. He has worked as a natural products sales and marketing executive for 15 years. Becker has written more than 300 articles and has hosted or been a guest on more than 500 radio shows. He obtained a bachelor’s in journalism from Long Beach State University and did his master’s work in communications at Cal State Fullerton. For almost 30 years he has participated in numerous endurance events, including more than 150 triathlons of Olympic distance or longer, 102 marathons and numerous other events including ultramarathons and rough water swims from Alcatraz to the mainland. He has relied on a comprehensive dietary supplement and homeopathic regimen to support his athletic, professional and personal endeavors. Follow Mark Becker on Facebook at Facebook.com/marklbecker and on twitter at Twitter.com/becker_mark. For more information, visit www.vivioninc.com or www.energyatlast.com. 

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