Bodybuilders who take Nitric Oxide

The Ultimate Guide to Nitric Oxide Boosters

22 min read


16 May 2024

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  1. What is nitric oxide?
  2. Nitric Oxide: A beginner’s guide
  3. The science behind nitric oxide boosters
  4. The health benefits of nitric oxide supplements
  5. Nitric oxide supplements: Dosage and side effects
  6. How to increase nitric oxide, naturally
  7. Top foods that boost nitric oxide
  8. Nitric oxide boosters vs. pre-workouts
  9. The best nitric oxide boosters for women
  10. The body-boosting benefits of nitric oxide


Raising your nitric oxide levels is a good idea if you want to push your body harder than ever and achieve the most epic results from your workouts

Dietary supplements like nitric oxide play a vital role in many aspects of your health, including blood flow and oxygen delivery around the body. 

Nitric oxide is also known to help release hormones, including HGH (human growth hormone) and insulin.

Increasing the nitric oxide level in our system offers numerous health benefits, but most supplements don’t actually contain nitric oxide. 

So how can you raise these levels? The answer is that natural food and supplements are proven to increase nitric oxide levels. 

In doing so, you’ll reap the numerous benefits of nitric oxide.

Intrigued? Read on.

What is nitric oxide?

Nitric Oxide molecules

Nitric oxide (NO) is a compound produced in your body that’s responsible for easing blood flow and allowing nutrients, as well as oxygen, to be delivered efficiently. 

NO does this through a process called vasodilation, where the inner muscles of the blood vessels become relaxed, which in turn, increases circulation. 

To do this, your body needs to process and convert dietary nitrates and amino acids, which it then uses to produce NO. 

Did you know? 

Nitric oxide has many health benefits—including:

  • Improved blood flow

  • Better heart health

  • More energy

  • Heightened athletic performance 

So, is it any wonder that athletes are so keen to get their NO levels higher?

Nitric Oxide: A beginner’s guide

There are enough studies out there that prove raising your nitric oxide levels will improve performance. 

So, if this is all new to you, where’s the best place to start? 

First, you should be sure that a nitric oxide booster is for you. This should help you to achieve your goals more quickly. 

If your wellness choice is meditation, for example, it’s unlikely that NO boosters will do much (if anything) to help you in any way, as the more sedentary your choice of exercise, the less likely you’ll need it. 

If you’re looking to raise the level of your workouts, push harder, recover faster, and get to where you want to be at a rapid pace, NO boosters are likely to be your new best friend. 

Research suggests that the best time to take a nitric oxide booster is around 30 minutes before exercise so it can absorb into your system. 

When choosing your NO booster, make sure you look for one with few or no side effects, and try to avoid ingredients like caffeine. 

Why? Well, because it may raise your NO levels but will probably cause other issues in the process. 

The main ingredients to look for are l-arginine and citrulline, a powerful combination for raising your NO levels. Measuring your performance with and without NO boosters is a good idea, as this will give you the confidence to use them regularly when you see the difference.

The science behind nitric oxide boosters

Science of nitric oxide

It’s important to remember that nitric oxide boosters are not ‘pie in the sky’ ideas or fads. The reason so many people take them before exercise is because they actually, well, WORK.

As long as your choice of supplement contains scientifically proven ingredients, you’ll reap the rewards of NO, elevating your performance levels higher than ever before. Epic.

Remember: The supplements won’t contain nitric oxide itself—it’s the ingredients that work together to increase NO levels. Nitric oxide supplements work by raising NO levels in our body. 

Scientific studies have proved that nitric oxide increases blood flow, reduces blood pressure, and is one of the most important molecules for healthy circulation. 

So, let’s look at the most scientifically proven ingredients to help get your NO levels up.


L-arginine supplements are among the most popular on the market for boosting nitric oxide levels. This is due to the numerous studies and the need for side effects. 

Another reason L-arginine is popular is because it is also beneficial to other aspects of your health, including sex drive, reducing blood pressure levels, and cognitive ability.


L-citrulline is another excellent choice for nitric oxide supplements. Some studies have revealed that l-citrulline can be more effective than L-arginine at lowering blood pressure, widening blood vessels and improving exercise performance. 

But, when combined with l-arginine supplementation, it’s something that really hits the mark.

The health benefits of nitric oxide supplements

NO-boosting supplements don’t actually contain nitric oxide. What they contain are ingredients that are scientifically proven to raise the levels of NO in the body. 

In addition to the NO-boosting properties, many ingredients in nitric oxide supplements are also associated with other health benefits. Let’s have a look at how increased nitric oxide can benefit your health.

It can help with high blood pressure…

Blood pressure checkup

When you have increased amounts of nitric oxide in your system, blood vessels dilate, which helps to prevent your muscles from tightening. 

This helps to improve our blood flow and, in turn, lowers our blood pressure. In particular, amino acids citrulline and l-arginine are known to bring down systolic and diastolic blood pressure. 

They may have the same effect on lowering blood pressure as regular exercise, so combining the two will have a double-whammy effect and boost nitric oxide production.

Nitric Oxide has numerous health benefits, including vasodilation (the widening of blood vessels), immunity, cell production and cell health, and transportation of nutrients around your system.

Enhancing blood flow increases the amount of energy you’ll have during exercise by allowing more oxygen to flow around the body. Getting NO levels up is a high priority for competing athletes.

Nitric oxide supplements can make a big difference to performance through increased endurance, and a nitric oxide-boosting diet alongside supplements containing NO-raising ingredients will have you well-fuelled for your next workout or competition. 

Here are just a few ways in which raising NO levels will benefit you in your activities and competitions.

It can boost your workout performance…

Nitric oxide-boosting supplements are popular with bodybuilders because they can power up workouts. 

Opening your blood vessels and promoting blood flow acts as a vasodilator, which means more oxygen and nutrients will be delivered to your body while you work out. This means you’ll be able to work longer—sometimes much longer—without getting tired. More reps and more sets mean more gains.

No matter your choice of sport, nitric oxide supplementation should empower you to push to new levels in your performance.

Cyclists, swimmers, runners, and bodybuilders have seen huge differences when they can push harder during their training and competitive events. 

Increased exercise tolerance means you can run faster, lift more, perform more reps, and sets etc.

Did you know? Studies show that nitric oxide boosts your endurance by promoting a more economical blood flow and working in harmony with your body.

It can reduce fatigue and muscle soreness…

Coming away from a brutal workout can make you feel as if bouncing back is almost impossible.

Raising your NO levels means finishing a tough session feeling like you still have something left in the tank. In turn, you’ll have a far more positive frame of mind for getting geared up for the next session.

Supplementing with a nitric oxide booster can help with muscle soreness and repair. We tend to experience muscle fatigue and soreness (DOMS) after a hefty workout session.

Did you know? A 2020 study revealed that nitric oxide-boosting citrulline was highly beneficial in easing muscle pain in the days following intense exercise.

It can help with erectile dysfunction…

L-arginine is often used to help with issues relating to erectile dysfunction. This is due to the fact that it’s great for relaxing and opening up our blood vessels while allowing more blood to flow to the penis.  

Citrulline has also been found to have a similar effect. Many studies have shown that l-arginine and citrulline significantly improved sexual function.

Medical professionals often use nitric oxide boosters to help treat those who have issues with sexual health. By increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the body, penile vasodilation is made more accessible, making it easier for an erection.  

NO helps the blood flow by diffusing across the smooth muscle membrane, inducing cavernosal smooth muscle relaxation in the process (which helps tackle erectile dysfunction).

It can help you recover more quickly…

The quicker you recover, the faster you can move forward—and a reduction in muscle soreness comes with a quicker recovery.

DOMS can occur up to three days after a workout, and you’ll be able to progress much faster with less soreness. NO supplements can reduce the soreness by up to 40%. 

Improved concentration…

Nitric Oxide improves bodybuilders focus

Increased nitric oxide levels mean you can concentrate harder on the job. A better focus means you can make every rep count, enjoying a better quality workout in the process. This will lead to a faster progression.

It gives you more energy…

More energy means more muscle pumps. NO boosters are often consumed alongside pre-workout supplements to give the ‘rus’ effect more longevity. Awesome.

It can help to boost your immunity…

Taking supplements that raise nitric oxide levels will also help improve white blood cell production. The white blood cells will help to combat germs and strengthen your immunity. Bonus.

It’s great for cognitive health…

Nitric Oxide works as a neurotransmitter in the brain and helps with communication. Raising nitric oxide levels means better concentration, memory, and overall cognitive health.

It can help with diabetes…

Nitric oxide can help to improve your blood flow and protect blood vessels, which are often damaged if you have diabetes. This can also have a knock-on effect on your other organs. Lowering blood pressure and opening blood vessels means there’s likely to be less organ damage.

Having diabetes can often mean having less nitric oxide, so it’s a great way to negate that effect. L-arginine is also shown to improve insulin sensitivity and support blood sugar.

Nitric oxide supplements: Dosage and side effects

Are nitric oxide supplements safe? 

Regarding NO supplements, it’s essential to stay within the recommended limits.

Nitric Oxide supplements

FYI: A safe dosage of l-arginine is considered to be 6000 mg. Anything above this can cause some unwanted side effects. 

You can take citrulline in a dose of up to 3000 mg, safely. Taking too much of a supplement that will affect NO levels can cause issues such as bloating, stomach upsets, headaches, and heartburn. 

Always stick to the recommended dose as detailed in the instructions, which comes with most nitric oxide supplements.

How to increase nitric oxide, naturally

There are plenty of ways you can try to raise the levels of nitric oxide in your body—all of which involve making small changes.

Our nitric oxide levels start declining in middle age, so it’s essential to be aware and make the appropriate changes to maintain a decent overall health level. 

Here’s the heads-up so you can get into the driving seat and make the most of the benefits of nitric oxide.

Eat the right food

Making the right food choices can seriously help raise your nitric oxide levels. And, choosing plant-based nitrate is a good starting point. 

Red spinach, beetroot, almonds, and oranges are others that you should add to your shopping list. 

All of these lip-smacking foods will increase the amount of nitrate in your body, as will fatty fish, such as salmon, packed full of omega-3 fatty acids. 

Walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds are other excellent choices to help raise nitric oxide levels. 

Choosing food packed with antioxidants will also help as it can extend the time nitric oxide is in your system. Fruit and vegetables will make solid choices.

Keep your stress levels down

Okay, it’s easier said than done sometimes. But, if you can get your stress under control, you can help to keep your nitric oxide levels in check. Too much stress can lower levels in your system and become a health problem if not tackled head-on.

Depression, anxiety, and feeling overly tired can be symptoms of low nitric oxide levels. Try to get plenty of sleep and address problems before you head to bed so you won’t lie awake at night worrying. 

Manage your time better so you’re not rushing around all day long chasing your tail. Simple steps, small changes, and taking heed of any warning signs are essential to keep your nitric oxide levels high.

Get plenty of vitamin D

Getting out in the sunlight will raise your vitamin D and dermal nitric oxide levels. Producing nitric oxide on the skin is excellent for healing wounds and blemishes while boosting immunity.

Reduce your alcohol consumption

Alcoholic drinks

Unfortunately, you did read that correctly. Too much alcohol can seriously lower your nitric oxide levels. 

The good news is that we’re not saying you must give it up altogether. Small amounts of alcohol (a tipple or two) can possibly increase your nitric oxide levels. 

On the flip side, too much can dramatically reduce bioavailability. If you’re a regular drinker, consuming less alcohol will boost your nitric oxide levels in a big way. Reducing your consumption of alcohol can cause your nitric oxide levels to rise significantly.

Quit smoking

If you’re on a health kick and looking to build some serious muscle, you’ve hopefully made this choice already. 

But if not, it’s time to face the harsh reality that you’ll struggle with your fitness goals unless you quit. 

Smoking dramatically reduces your levels as it impairs circulation and has a toxic effect on your lungs. If you’re going to power through your workouts, you need to slay the demons known as cigarettes! 

Reduce your salt intake

Too much salt in your diet is shown to reduce nitric oxide production. But you don’t need to eliminate it completely. The issue seems to be when there’s a salt overload in your diet. 

Heavy salt usage seriously depletes nitric oxide stores. So, if you fall into this category, it’s time to sit up and take note. Try to keep an eye on how much salt you consume, and you’ll feel all the better for it.

Reduce high-cholesterol foods

Keeping an eye on your cholesterol levels is essential if you want to stay healthy, and the less cholesterol you have, the higher your nitric oxide levels are likely to be.

Checking your cholesterol levels regularly through a medical professional or home testing kit is great. And if you’re testing too high, take a close look at your diet and adjust accordingly. The lower your cholesterol, the healthier your nitric oxide levels will become.

Exercise more often

If you want to stay healthy, it should be obvious that you’ll need to keep in shape. But, a lifestyle involving a lot of inactivity can seriously lower your NO levels.

A ‘dump workout,’ which will help your muscles and ligaments to grow stronger, is the perfect way to raise your NO levels. Dump workouts help to reduce injury risks, too, and they should be a part of your daily routine to ensure you’re keeping the NO levels flowing. 

The nitric oxide dump is an exercise routine developed by Dr. Zach Bush and is similar to high-intensity interval training. 

The workout was explicitly developed to encourage the body to release nitric oxide through the body. The four nitric oxide dump exercises are 10 bodyweight squats, alternating arm swings, jumping jacks, and shoulder presses. Performing these exercises daily will get your NO levels up.


It’s not for everyone, and trying to fit in time to put the breaks in life and find some peace isn’t always possible. But if you can, you’ll find a little light meditation highly beneficial. 

Meditation is another excellent way to deal with stress and reduce stress levels. Even finding ten minutes a day to sit quietly and listen to your breathing will go a long way to resetting your NO levels. 

Try to concentrate on breathing through your nose when you meditate, as this will assist the production of nitric oxide in your nasal cavity. Meditation will also help relax the muscles around the blood vessels and arteries and reduce stress levels.

Watch your oral hygiene

Bodybuilder brushing his teeth

Now, this is an unusual one, and we’re not suggesting that you throw oral hygiene out of the window entirely. 

Still, antibacterial mouthwashes can reduce the levels of NO in your system. Keep your teeth clean and floss regularly, but try to do the mouthwash sparingly, or you could find your exercise efforts are hindered. 

Fluoride toothpaste has also been shown to reduce nitric oxide levels, so it’s a good idea to switch to a non-fluoride toothpaste to be on the safe side. Plenty of natural alternatives will do just as good a job of keeping your teeth clean.

Reduce your intake of saturated fats

If you eat too many saturated fats, your body will find it harder to produce nitric oxide. Milk, cheese, butter, and certain meats contain saturated fats, which are all necessary for a healthy, balanced diet. The key is to consume saturated fats in moderation rather than in excess.

Eating too many saturated fats will restrict nitric oxide’s role in relaxing the muscles around the arteries, impairing blood flow in the process. 

Reduce your sugar intake

Excess glucose in your body can lead to an imbalance of NO, and your endothelial functions can become damaged.

Too much of the sweet stuff may also lead to kidney issues, which can seriously impact your overall health. Lowering your sugar intake, mainly if it’s already high, will be a big step to getting NO levels up.

Top foods that boost nitric oxide

A nitric oxide boosting supplement is a great way to get your levels up, but you should also look at what you’re eating.

Making the right food choices can assist your selection of supplements in raising NO levels to help you get the maximum benefit from what you’re consuming and make your workouts more power-packed than ever. And it’s not all doom and gloom either when it comes to what you eat. 

There are some tasty, sweet choices that will help improve blood flow and oxygen uptake to get you pushing harder and making more significant gains than ever before.

Range of sweet foods

Let’s take a look.

1. Watermelon

Fruit should always be a regular part of your healthy diet—but it’s no secret that some fruits are more beneficial to us than others, particularly when it comes to raising NO levels. 

Watermelon would be among the best fruits for topping up your NO. It’s packed with essential vitamins and minerals, including potassium, magnesium, Vitamins A, C and B6, and powerful antioxidants. 

Better still, watermelon is an excellent source of citrulline, an amino acid that our body converts to nitric oxide. 

Competing athletes often drink watermelon juice before an event as a pre-workout to rapidly raise NO levels before they start, as it quickly relaxes blood vessels and helps increase blood flow to the muscles, offering a stronger performance.

2. Dark chocolate

This may sound like an unusual choice, and we’re not suggesting that you go full-on dirty bulk, but there are properties within dark chocolate that can help to raise NO levels. 

A healthy diet with sensible choices is essential if you want a healthy body. Still, taken in moderation, dark chocolate is a way to get nitric oxide levels up relatively quickly. 

Why? Well, because it contains flavonoids and antioxidants, which reduce inflammation and support the production of NO to promote cardiovascular health.

3. Beetroot

It’s well known that beetroot is high in nitrate, and when your saliva helps to break it down, it converts to nitric oxide. 

Beetroot juice is highly popular among athletes who take it anywhere from an hour to three hours before a workout or competition to enhance performance for longer. 

Did you know? Studies show that cyclists can ride at a higher intensity after taking beetroot juice for some time. 

Recovery times have also been shown to be quicker, with exercise tolerance improved due to the high amount of NO produced when ingesting beetroot, as it has improved cardiovascular health and blood flow.

4. Spinach

Spinach has been a popular choice amongst bodybuilders and athletes for a long time due to its high percentage of nitrate. 

Research shows that regular spinach consumption helps increase nitric oxide production and improve endurance and strength. Making sure you have spinach on your plate when adding vegetables will go a long way to getting your NO levels up. It’s a versatile vegetable that you can add to salads, casseroles, or as a side veg with ease.

5. Fruit

Fruit should be a regular part of your healthy diet. But, if you want to raise your NO levels, taking a closer look at citrus fruits is a good idea. 

Lemons, oranges, and grapefruits are exceptionally high in fiber, vitamin C, and healthy minerals. While they don’t contain nitrate, fruits do help raise the NO levels by helping maintain your body’s amino acid levels to promote more nitric oxide. 

A diet high in fruit and vegetables is excellent for heart health and lowering blood pressure.

6. Salmon and other fatty fish

Salmon and asparagus

Salmon is absolutely packed full of healthy nutrition, including vitamins, protein, minerals and omega-3 fatty acids. 

Its antioxidant properties mean it helps to boost NO production and reduce oxidative stress and inflammation. Salmon should be your first choice of fish if you plan to work out regularly, as it’s a food of such high quality that it almost reads as a nutritional checklist for athletes. 

The rich flavor and excellent nutritional content of salmon make it a popular fish to eat and an absolute must for bodybuilders.

7. Walnuts

Because nuts are a high source of protein, vitamins and minerals, studies suggest they’re perfect for increasing our NO levels. Walnuts, in particular, are an excellent choice as they also contain l-arginine, an amino acid that helps to produce nitric oxide in our bodies. 

Walnuts are excellent antioxidants that can aid in reducing inflammation and defending the body against oxidative stress.

8. Garlic

It’s not the best choice for first dates, but you won’t go far wrong as a super NO producer. It’s packed with antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals, which will boost nitric oxide synthesis, keep your cardiovascular system in check, and protect your body from oxidative stress. 

As garlic contains allicin, it has anti-inflammatory properties, increasing NO levels and encouraging vasodilation to promote NO production.

Nitric oxide boosters vs. pre-workouts

With all the benefits of raising nitric oxide levels, it’s no surprise that supplements that people often take pre-workout supplements that boost NO levels. 

But, does it work as well as a standard pre-workout supplement

NO packs power…

Nitric oxide is excellent for improving blood flow and oxygen delivery to the body, which is why a nitric oxide booster is perfect for taking before a session in the gym, as you’ll be able to work that bit harder and for longer. 

You’ll also reap the rewards of boosted oxygen and nutrient delivery to your muscle tissues and increased endurance. Epic.

Pre or post? That is the question…

People take pre-workouts to quickly get going from a standing start to a full-on pump. They can also act as a pick-me-up on those days when you don’t feel motivated or don’t have the energy to kick-start a workout and help you push that bit harder.

There’s a lot of discussion about whether a nitric oxide booster is better than a pre-workout. 

Many don’t realize that you can take both as they complement each other to give you a power-packed workout from start to finish. 

The pre-workout will help to kick things off, and the NO booster will keep you moving faster, pushing harder, and going for longer. 

As pre-workouts from various brands can include different ingredients, it’s always best to check the label to make sure you’re not double-dosing on the same ingredients. 

Finding a pre-workout and NO booster that complement each other will go a long way to helping you achieve results in the gym that you didn’t think were possible. 

The powerful combination of these two types of supplements will give you: 

  • Extra focus

  • More energy

  • Better endurance

  • Increased strength

  • Better blood flow and oxygen delivery 

This potent combo will also help you soar through even the most gruesome workout challenges. 

Muscular bodybuilder who uses Nitric Oxide supplement

So, if you’re looking for a better quality workout and to progress toward your goals much faster, it’s worth looking for both a pre-workout and a nitric oxide booster.

The best nitric oxide boosters for women

Nitric oxide boosters work the same for women as men, and there are no health restrictions. 

If you’re unsure about the impact of raising NO levels on your health, it’s a good idea to consult a medical professional for reassurance. 

The body-boosting benefits of nitric oxide

Taking nitric oxide supplements will help raise your game to a new level. Nitric oxide is produced naturally in the body, and its main function is to support blood circulation. This, in turn,  helps to deliver nutrients and oxygen to every part of your body more effectively. 

By increasing the nitric oxide levels in our system, we can improve the benefits of NO, particularly when exercising. 

Having more NO in our body when we work out means we can work harder for extended periods and progress more quickly. Complementing a healthy diet high in nitrates with a scientifically proven nitric oxide supplement is the perfect way to get your levels up the healthy way.

L-arginine and citrulline are two of the best nitric oxide supplements that have been proven to raise NO levels, and these should be high on your priority list.

Nitric oxide helps by supporting a healthy blood flow and enhancing your exercise performance, as well as having numerous other health benefits such as

  • Helping to lower blood pressure

  • Increasing mental alertness

  • Relaxing blood vessels

  • Boosting blood flow

  • Quicker recovery

  • Helping to boost energy

  • Better sex drive

  • Improving heart health

  • Promoting muscle growth

  • Making immunity better

  • Helping to alleviate muscle soreness

Boost your NO levels with CrazyBulk

If you’re looking to push yourself to new levels of fitness, looking at the potential benefits of trying to increase nitric oxide levels in your body is essential. 

Check out CrazyBulk’s range of NO boosting supplements, specifically designed to push you further. You’ve got this.

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