How to Boost Circulation and Athletic Performance with Nitric Oxide Botanicals

Nitric oxide…ever heard of it? 
Most likely, yes. But do you know what processes it’s involved with in your body and how important it is for your cardiovascular health and athletic performance? 
If the answer is no, read on. Or if you already know, but want to learn about how to boost nitric oxide in your body, read on. Because this tiny molecule can, literally, transform your health. 

The Importance of NO
(Nitric Oxide)

Saying “no” is sometimes great, but we’re talking about nitric oxide! 

So, what is nitric oxide? 

It’s a gas that acts as a signaling molecule in the body and rather than going into the nitty gritty, what you need to know is that it affects:

Blood Circulation:

NO helps to relax and widen blood vessels, which improves blood flow (particularly helpful if you need to improve circulation in your smallest blood vessels…think: finally warm hands and feet…and better erectile function…or simply get more nutrients pumping around the system). (1)

Blood Pressure:

By dilating blood vessels, NO lowers blood pressure. (2)
Athletic Performance: Enhanced blood flow means more oxygen and nutrients can reach muscles, improving endurance and performance. (3)

Preventing Hypoxia:

Enhanced blood flow also means more oxygen can reach your muscles when you’re at high altitudes where there are naturally lower levels of oxygen in the air. (4)

Endothelial Health:

NO helps maintain the health of the endothelium (a thin layer of cells that lines the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels) by reducing inflammation and preventing the adhesion of white blood cells to the vessel wall, which can lead to atherosclerosis (the buildup of plaques in the arteries) and low endothelial NO has further been linked to cognitive decline. (5) (6)

Gut Health:

Nitric oxide (NO) is known for its protective role in the gastrointestinal tract. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that NO helps preserve the integrity of the gastric mucosa, prevents leukocyte adhesion to the endothelium, and aids in the repair of damage caused by nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). (7)

All the above means that NO plays a critical role in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system and can be important if going to higher altitudes (if you enjoy battling the elements and fighting your way up a mountain…). As it improves circulation it might also improve erectile dysfunction. (8)


Furthermore, athletes often look for ways to boost NO levels to improve their performance and recovery. More about that below.

The Link Between Nitric Oxide and VO2 Max

VO2 max refers to the maximum amount of oxygen your body can use during exercise.

NO increases blood flow. That, in turn, means your muscles get more oxygen even if you, technically, don’t have more oxygen available. So while this does not increase your fitness level, it has the same benefit as increasing your fitness level would. At least for the time the NO is active. It’s a very short lived gas so it has to be produced continually to maintain effect. 

Ingesting L-citrulline and/or nitrates can help increase the production for up to a couple of hours (though it depends on various factors and sometimes the “boost” lasts a significantly shorter period of time).

Creating Nitric Oxide (NO)—Converting Nitrates to Nitric Oxide

Unfortunately, you can’t take a nitric oxide supplement containing just NO—your body needs nitrates, nitrites, as well as some helpful bacteria to be able to create nitric oxide. 

To clarify this, let’s give you (a very short) description of how your body produces nitric oxide. 

When you ingest nitrates, they are first converted to nitrites by bacteria in your mouth. This process continues in your gut, where additional conversion can occur. Ammonia can also be converted to nitrites, though this is a less common pathway (...more likely to happen in soil than inside your body…). Nitrites, in turn, can be converted into nitric oxide in the presence of certain enzymes, or when there are low oxygen levels in your body. 

Both breathing exercises (nasal breathing and humming) and physical exercise can help increase nitric oxide production. (9) (10)

The amino acids L-citrulline and L-arginine can also be converted to nitric oxide. L-citrulline first transforms into L-arginine inside your body. Then, L-arginine teams up with an enzyme to produce NO…but that also produces L-citrulline, which can be reused…so it’s quite a nifty process! Ingesting L-citrulline appears more effective than L-arginine. (11)

Why Do Nitrates Get a Bad Rap?

Ever heard that nitrates cause cancer? 

That’s the link between sodium nitrates used to preserve meat and cancer. Nitrates might form N-nitroso compounds, such as nitrosamine, which can cause cancer. Vegetables contain antioxidants that fight the formation of N-nitroso compounds. (11)

So where you get your nitrates from matter! 

What Is the Energy and Nitric Oxide Boost (NOx)? 

Well, put in simple terms (and we so love to keep things simple) this innovative formula contains plant based ingredients with high levels of nitrates, and some nitrites (yes, it’s like those bad names parents choose for twins—not only is it hard keeping the twins apart, but also their names!), which are the precursors of nitric oxide (NO). It also contains L-citrulline and L-arginine which can be converted to nitric oxide. (11)

Other herbs in the formula help with the synthesis of nitric oxide in blood vessels by increasing the activity of the enzyme, eNOS (endothelial nitric oxide synthase). In other words, the herbs assist with the transformation of nitrates and nitrites into nitric oxide, which happens through various biological processes mentioned above. 

That’s why we say our products offer multiple pathway activation—we don’t look at just the one thing (like increasing the precursors of NO) but at the different pathways the body uses to achieve something (such as what the body needs to do to transform the precursors of NO into NO). 

Sometimes, we also look at possible things that can get in the way and try to remove those obstacles (such as lowering inflammation in the body if inflammatory markers make a specific process harder). 

Why Our Formula Works

First of all, why is it different from just eating nitrates? 

As mentioned, it’s because it also helps the body support the biological processes needed to turn it into NO. Just eating vegetables high in nitrates doesn’t have the same effect. 

Below you’ll find a breakdown of the ingredients in the Energy and NOx Boost that outlines why we’ve chosen those ingredients. As you can see, it’s a holistic approach to support your body and the formation of NO. 

Ingredients Containing Nitrates/Nitrites and NO Precursors:

Beetroot Bulb:

Beetroot is rich in nitrates, which can be converted into nitrites by bacteria in the mouth and then into nitric oxide in the body. (12)

Pomegranate Fruit:

While pomegranate itself isn't high in nitrates, it contains antioxidants that can help enhance nitric oxide levels by protecting nitric oxide from degradation and improving endothelial function. (13)

Watermelon Fruit:

Watermelon is a good source of the amino acid L-citrulline, which the body can convert into L-arginine, a precursor to nitric oxide. This can help increase nitric oxide levels and improve blood flow. As we also use the rind of the watermelon it further contains L-arginine. (14)

Ingredients That Facilitate Nitric Oxide Synthesis:

Hawthorn Fruit:

Hawthorn is known for its cardiovascular benefits, which include improving blood flow and hawthorn extracts have been proven to enhance the release of nitric oxide (NO) from vascular endothelium. (15) (16)

Green Tea Leaf:

Green tea contains antioxidants like catechins, which can improve endothelial function and promote nitric oxide production. (17) (18)
Red Bell Pepper Fruit: Red bell peppers contain vitamin C and other antioxidants, which can support nitric oxide synthesis by protecting it from oxidative stress. (19) (20)

Epimedium/Barrenwort/Horny Goat Weed:

This herb has potent NO-stimulating effects through the flavonoid icariin, which improves the tissue expression of neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS). It is also known to improve erectile dysfunction. (21)

Schisandra:

Schisandra increases nitric oxide by activating eNOS in the endothelium and dilates the corpus cavernosum through NO action on cGMP (Guanosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate (cyclic GMP or cGMP) is a second messenger molecule that modulates various downstream effects, including vasodilation) levels, involving both eNOS and nNOS pathways. (22)

Jujube Fruit:

Jujube contains betulinic acid, which boosts nitric oxide production by efficiently stimulating cGMP generation. (23)
Siberian Ginseng/Eleuthero Root Extract: This extract improves peripheral blood circulation and exerts vasorelaxant effects via endothelial nitric oxide production and an NO-independent pathway. (24)

Rhodiola:

Rhodiola protects against hypoxia through the activation of eNOS and increased expression of Arginase-1. (25)

Panax Notoginseng:

This herb improves the NO/cGMP pathway in the endothelium. (26)

Ginseng:

Ginseng has effects on eNOS, enhancing nitric oxide production. (27)

Other Ingredients and Their Benefits:

Jujube Fruit, Kiwi Fruit, Strawberry Fruit, Raspberry Fruit, Plum Fruit, Cherry Fruit:

These fruits are rich in vitamins, antioxidants, and polyphenols that can support overall cardiovascular health and potentially aid in the maintenance of nitric oxide levels by reducing oxidative stress. (28) (29) (30

Mulberry Leaf:

Mulberry leaves contain antioxidants that may support cardiovascular health, though direct effects on nitric oxide synthesis are less well-documented though it seems to support healthy NO production. (31) (32)

Astragalus Root:

While primarily known for its immunomodulatory and antioxidant properties, it does not directly influence nitric oxide levels but supports overall health. (33)

Codonopsis Root, Eleuthero Root (Siberian Ginseng), Asian Ginseng Root, Tienqi Ginseng Root, Chinese Salvia Root, Dong Quai Root:

These adaptogenic herbs and roots are known for their general health benefits, including supporting immune function, reducing stress, and enhancing vitality. They may also support overall cardiovascular health. (34) (35) (36) (37) (38)

Schisandra Fruit and Seed:

Known for its adaptogenic and immunomodulatory effects, Schisandra can help mitigate stress, which indirectly supports cardiovascular health. (39) (40)

Chinese Licorice Root:

Often used in traditional medicine for its harmonizing effects, it supports immune function and overall health. (41) (42)

Summary:

Direct Sources of Nitrates/Nitrites: Beetroot Bulb.
Precursor for Nitric Oxide: Watermelon Fruit (via L-citrulline and L-arginine)
Facilitates Nitric Oxide Synthesis: Epimedium, Schisandra, Ginseng, Jujube Fruit, Eleuthero, Rhodiola, Pomegranate Fruit, Hawthorn Fruit, Green Tea Leaf, Red Bell Pepper Fruit.
Supportive Ingredients: Various fruits and adaptogenic herbs that enhance overall cardiovascular health and reduce oxidative stress.

In Closing

An ample supply of nitric oxide (NO) is crucial when it comes to healthy blood circulation, blood pressure, and vascular and heart health at large. It’s also necessary for good athletic performance, and it can help prevent hypoxia if you spend time at high altitudes. 
To make nitric oxide, your body needs nitrates, as well as enzymes that facilitate the process. Cardio can also help your body create nitric oxide. 

Where you get your nitrates from in your diet matters as the nitrates used as preservatives in meat can lead to the formation of chemicals that lead to cancer, while the ones found in vegetables don’t appear to have the same effect. Likely because vegetables contain vitamin C and other antioxidants that prevent this from happening (though there is no concrete proof that this is the reason why). 

The Energy and NOx Boost we’ve formulated helps supply nitrates from plants, as well as support various biological pathways to assist in the formation of nitric oxide. 

Note that you should never use supplements such as our NoX Boost without consulting a physician and, preferably, also an herbalist, if you have any pre-existing conditions, and/or use medication. Even without pre-existing conditions or taking medicine, it’s always recommended to consult medical professionals. 

Sources: 

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6164974/
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295222004191 
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9921013/#:~:text=Nitric%20oxide%20plays%20a%20critical,%2C%20hypertrophy%2C%20and%20strength%20adaptations.
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23311950/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22112350/ 
  6. https://academic.oup.com/eurheartj/article/35/14/888/525175 
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2582807/ 
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9294450/ 
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/12119224/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5463976/#:~:text=A%20meta%2Danalysis%20showed%20that,systolic%20and%20diastolic%20blood%20pressure.&text=Several%20mechanisms%20for%20the%20reduction,exercise%20training%20have%20been%20considered.&text=Exercise%20also%20stimulates%20nitric%20oxide%20(NO)%20release%20from%20endothelial%20cells
  11. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-to-increase-nitric-oxide#vegetables
  12. https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/truth-about-beetroot-juice 
  13. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007340/
  14. https://www.mdpi.com/2076-3417/13/8/4882 
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3249900/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3350435/#:~:text=Hawthorn%20extracts%20have%20been%20shown,extract%20%5B3%2D5%5D. 
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2748751/
  18. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19101751/ 
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4665466/
  20. https://ccforum.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13054-014-0460-x#:~:text=Ascorbate%20protects%20against%20oxidative%20stress,eNO)%20depletion%20and%20eNOS%20uncoupling.
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20141584/ 
  22. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6078868/ 
  23. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5885328/ 
  24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15095033/ 
  25. ​​https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5219729/ 
  26. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23595104/ 
  27. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22380784/  
  28. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10490098/#:~:text=In%20cardiomyocytes%2C%20polyphenols%20suppress%20the,be%20prevented%20by%20dietary%20polyphenols. 
  29. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S000291490800221X 
  30. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20306272/ 
  31. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6130672/
  32. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6566444/ 
  33. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/herb/astragalus#:~:text=Astragalus%20is%20used%20to%20protect,antibacterial%20and%20anti%2Dinflammatory%20properties.
  34. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-630/codonopsis
  35. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ginseng-benefits 
  36. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/salvia-miltiorrhiza#:~:text=Salvia%20miltiorrhiza%20is%20a%20Chinese,oxidative%20damage%2C%20and%20curb%20ferroptosis.
  37. https://www.healthline.com/health/red-sage#drawbacks 
  38. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/dong-quai#uses
  39. https://www.healthline.com/health/schisandra#benefits
  40. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/schisandra-uses-and-risks 
  41. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/licorice-root#side-effects
  42. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323761#side-effects
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