Below are my comments on NO/Nitric Oxide supplements, with a few comments on a recent study. Below the vid is the abstract for that study, and the link to the full paper for those who wish to get the details. I have never had much faith in this category of supplements – for a variety of reasons – and this study adds additional confirmation to my generally low opinion of NO/Nitric Oxide formulas:

Comparison of pre-workout nitric oxide stimulating dietary supplements on skeletal muscle oxygen saturation, blood nitrate/nitrite, lipid peroxidation, and upper body exercise performance in resistance trained men

Richard J Bloomer1 email, Tyler M Farney1 email, John F Trepanowski1 email, Cameron G McCarthy1 email, Robert E Canale1 email and Brian K Schilling2

Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2010, 7:16doi:10.1186/1550-2783-7-16



We compared Glycine Propionyl-L-Carnitine (GlycoCarn®) and three different pre-workout nutritional supplements on measures of skeletal muscle oxygen saturation (StO2), blood nitrate/nitrite (NOx), lactate (HLa), malondialdehyde (MDA), and exercise performance in men.


Using a randomized, double-blind, cross-over design, 19 resistance trained men performed tests of muscular power (bench press throws) and endurance (10 sets of bench press to muscular failure). A placebo, GlycoCarn®, or one of three dietary supplements (SUPP1, SUPP2, SUPP3) was consumed prior to exercise, with one week separating conditions. Blood was collected before receiving the condition and immediately after exercise. StO2 was measured during the endurance test using Near Infrared Spectroscopy. Heart rate (HR) and rating of perceived exertion (RPE) were determined at the end of each set.


A condition effect was noted for StO2 at the start of exercise (p = 0.02), with GlycoCarn® higher than SUPP2. A condition effect was also noted for StO2 at the end of exercise (p = 0.003), with SUPP1 lower than all other conditions. No statistically significant interaction, condition, or time effects were noted for NOx or MDA (p > 0.05); however, MDA decreased 13.7% with GlycoCarn® and increased in all other conditions. Only a time effect was noted for HLa (p < 0.0001), with values increasing from pre- to post-exercise. No effects were noted for HR, RPE, or for any exercise performance variables (p > 0.05); however, GlycoCarn® resulted in a statistically insignificant greater total volume load compared to the placebo (3.3%), SUPP1 (4.2%), SUPP2 (2.5%), and SUPP3 (4.6%).


None of the products tested resulted in favorable changes in our chosen outcome measures, with the exception of GlycoCarn® in terms of higher StO2 at the start of exercise. GlycoCarn® resulted in a 13.7% decrease in MDA from pre- to post-exercise and yielded a non-significant but greater total volume load compared to all other conditions. These data indicate that 1) a single ingredient (GlycoCarn®) can provide similar practical benefit than finished products containing multiple ingredients, and 2) while we do not have data in relation to post-exercise recovery parameters, the tested products are ineffective in terms of increasing blood flow and improving acute upper body exercise performance.

Full study HERE



Will Brink is the owner of the Brinkzone Blog. Will has over 15 years experience as a respected author, columnist and consultant, to the supplement, fitness, bodybuilding, and weight loss industry and has been extensively published. Will graduated from Harvard University with a concentration in the natural sciences, and is a consultant to major supplement, dairy, and pharmaceutical companies.


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