Definition: "An ergogenic aid is any substance or phenomenon that enhances performance "

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Older cyclists go faster with Niteworks NO booster

Older cyclists will cycle faster if they take antioxidants and five grams of L-arginine and L-citrulline daily, write sports scientists from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

For their experiment the researchers used 16 amateur cyclists aged between 50 and 73 who trained intensively for at least 4 hours a week. Previous experiments, in which younger endurance athletes were given NO-boosters, showed no performance enhancing effects with L-arginine supplementation. This maybe because young people make large amounts of L-arginine themselves, reasoned the researchers. L-arginine production declines in the elderly.

NO widens blood vessels and makes them more supple, thus increasing the amount of blood the heart can pump round the body, and therefore also the amount of energy and oxygen delivered to the muscles.

Half of the men were given a glass of water in which a sachet of Niteworks had been dissolved, just before going to bed. The other half got a placebo drink. Niteworks is a Herbalife product, and its composition is shown below.

Older cyclists go faster with Niteworks NO booster

The combination definitely has things going for it. L-arginine and L-citrulline are both precursors of NO, but they enter the cell via different mechanisms. So a mixture may well work better. In addition, antioxidants like vitamin C and E seem to prevent the NO molecule from converting into something else.

In weeks 1, 2 and 3 of the experiment the subjects were made to cycle at increasing resistance levels. This way the researchers stepped up the subjects’ oxygen burning. They also measured how long the subjects continued to burn oxygen before they shifted to anaerobic energy processes. The figure below shows that the NO booster shifted the anaerobic threshold by 14 – 17 percent.

Older cyclists go faster with Niteworks NO booster

Older cyclists go faster with Niteworks NO booster

The higher your anaerobic threshold, the more easily your muscles can remove and burn lactic acid and the more power you can generate. Training raises your anaerobic threshold. And it seems that L-arginine supplements do the same.

"While there was not significant change for the control group, the supplement group had a power output at week 1 of 177.12 ± 21.13 watts as compared with baseline of 154.62 ± 23.21 W", the researchers write. "At week three, the increase of power output was sustained at 175.27 ± 36.61 W."

There was no change in the VO2max.

"This study indicates a potential role of L-arginine and antioxidant supplementation in improving exercise performance in elderly", the researchers conclude.

If you are thinking of experimenting with L-arginine, here’s a tip: you can also buy the ingredients of the hideously expensive Niteworks separately. You’ll get the same effect, but your purse will suffer less.

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2010 Mar 23; 7(1): 13. [Epub ahead of print].

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