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Good chance that 'real nitric oxide' doesn't work

NO-supplements containing the compound 2-nitrooxy ethyl 2-amino 3-methylbutanoate [2NMB] [structural formula shown below] probably don't work. Sports scientists at the University of Memphis come to this conclusion in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, basing their findings on experiments they did with 10 strength athletes who had been weight training for an average of 8 years.

2-Nitrooxy Ethyl 2-Amino 3-Methylbutanoate

2-Nitrooxy Ethyl 2-Amino 3-Methylbutanoate
NO supplements boost the concentration of nitric oxide [NO] in the body. The higher the amount of NO in the muscle tissue during training, the wider the blood vessels, and therefore the more oxygen and nutrients can be transported to the muscle cells. And after a training session, more NO provides a stronger muscle growth stimulus.

Classic NO supplements contain amino acids, and enzymes detach nitric oxide from them. 2NMB works in a different way. This compound is found in the complex supplement Nutrex Hemo Rage Black, and is the only ingredient in eNOXIDE. 'Real nitric oxide' is how the maker of eNOXIDE refers to this compound. And many would agreed.

2NMB is a direct NO donor - and L-arginine, the main ingredient in most NO supplements, is not. The diagram below shows the reaction in which L-arginine, aided by the enzyme nitric oxide synthase, produces NO.

Good chance that 'real nitric oxide' doesn't work

If you examine the structural formula of 2NMB you start to suspect that NO is released more easily from this compound. And this is what the manufacturer of eNOXIDE claims: that the concentration of NO in the body starts to climb immediately after ingesting 2NMB.

Claims and theory are all very well; applied research is even better. So the researchers gave their subjects 2 tablets each containing 10 mg 2NMB on one occasion and a placebo on the other occasion. The Americans then monitored the amount of NO in the athletes' blood during the first hour after intake.

Good chance that 'real nitric oxide' doesn't work

Good chance that 'real nitric oxide' doesn't work

In some subjects the NO concentration did indeed seem to rise after taking the supplement. But in an equal number the rise was negligible and in others nil. "A great degree of subject variability exists in the measure of plasma nitrate/nitrite, with some subjects potentially acting as 'responders', whereas others do not", the researchers write.

What's more, the rise in NO concentration was very short lived. The NO concentration reaches its maximum after 15 minutes, after which it starts to decline. Thirty minutes after intake the average concentration is actually lower than the initial concentration.

The researchers confine themselves to saying that 2NMB supplements have no effect. And further research is not necessary in their view. "If nitrate/nitrite was in fact elevated after intake, there would be further rationale to then study the impact of of this supplement on exercise performance and recovery. To the contrary, if the supplement did not cause any measurable increase in blood nitrate/nitrite, it would be unnecessary to study the effects of such a supplement."

J Strength Cond Res. 2010 Oct;24(10):2587-92.

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