How Citrulline and Arginine Work to Boost Nitric Oxide Levels
Nitric-oxide-boosting supplements, such as citrulline and arginine are among the most popular types of supplements today. One of the reasons is that they improve exercise performance for many athletes and gym enthusiasts. The other reason is that they improve sexual function in men and women who struggle with mild to moderate sexual dysfunction. Obviously sexual performance, sport performance and exercise are areas of great interest in a large proportion of the population globally. The fact that these supplements also reduce blood pressure, prevent heart disease, improve digestive health, boost immune system function, improve memory function and help to manage symptoms of arthritis, also increases their popularity.
Nitric oxide is an invisible odorless gas that is produced in almost every cell in the body. One of its roles in the body is to relax muscles and the inner muscles of the blood vessels. This helps the blood vessels to dilate freely, enabling blood to move freely, bringing much-needed oxygen and nutrients to every cell in the body. With every cell in the body functioning well, every organ and part of the body functions optimally. Nitric oxide also reduces inflammation, a condition that affects many parts of the body in many people.
When something interferes with your body’s ability to produce nitric oxide, you can tell by the way your sexual function is affected. Sexual dysfunction is the first indicator that you have insufficient NO, because the muscles and blood vessels in the sexual organs are not sufficiently relaxed to become engorged with blood. Other indicators which follow are the gradual increase in blood pressure and episodes of forgetfulness. With time, more serious problems develop such as heart disease, diabetes, memory loss, more serious sexual dysfunction, arthritis, poor immune function and development of other chronic diseases.
These conditions can be reversed by deliberately increasing the production of nitric oxide in the body.
How citrulline and arginine boost nitric oxide levels
You can improve the production of nitric oxide in the body by taking supplements that contain the amino acids L-arginine and L-citrulline. You can achieve the same effects by eating protein foods such as dairy products, red meat, turkey, nuts, watermelon, fish, chicken, and soya beans. These foods contain either L-citrulline or L-arginine or both.
One of the ways in which the body produces nitric oxide is a process known as the L-arginine-NO pathway in which it produces L-citrulline as a by-product. It also produces nitric oxide indirectly by changing L-citrulline into L-arginine and nitric oxide in the kidneys. From there, a cycle develops in which the L-arginine is re-used to make nitric oxide and L-citrulline, and the L-citrulline is recycled to make nitric oxide and L-arginine.
Benefits of boosting nitric oxide levels
As we mentioned above, L-arginine and L-citrulline supplements have become very popular because they improve sport performance. That is because when they are taken, they help to increase the production of nitric oxide all over the body. Increased nitric oxide relaxes muscles and blood vessels, enables blood vessels to dilate, and enables blood to flow properly. Increased blood in the muscles enables the muscles to work more efficiently, improving sports performance. L-citrulline has been proven effective in this regard but L-arginine hasn’t been found to be that effective, maybe because it is metabolized before it gets into the bloodstream.
In athletes and gym enthusiasts, muscle soreness is common 24-72 hours after strenuous exercise. Luckily, citrulline malate, a form of L-citrulline, increases nitric oxide production and effectively decreases muscle soreness, enabling sports people to recover fast.
L-citrulline has been found to increase sexual performance by increasing nitric oxide production which then increases blood flow into the sexual organs. This enables women to be aroused enough to perform sexual intercourse. It also enables men to have a firm erection and maintain it long enough to complete the sexual act.
For people with memory problems, increased production of nitric oxide in the brain improves the flow of blood into the brain. This awakens the memory center. By taking the supplements, people have managed to remember facts, people and events more.
For people in arthritis, increased production of nitric oxide relieves the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
For people with low immunity, L-arginine and L-citrulline increase production of nitric oxide, and the nitric oxide increases the ability of the body to fight off infections and destroy cancer cells. The actual mechanism in which the nitric oxide works is not easy to explain. What is important is that it works.
In people with type 2 diabetes, L-citrulline and L-arginine are used by the body to increase production of citric oxide. The nitric oxide increases insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control. This can reverse or prevent type 2 diabetes.
In people with high blood pressure, L-arginine and L-citrulline increase nitric oxide production. The increased NO relaxes blood vessels, prevents white blood cells from sticking to the walls of the blood vessels and prevents blood platelets from clumping together. This effectively reduces blood pressure and prevents plaque formation. The lower blood pressure and the improved carotid artery blood flow together effectively improve heart health. Even pregnant women with high blood pressure can reduce their blood pressure by taking L-arginine.
In people with digestive health problems, L-arginine and L-citrulline protect the gut from damage normally caused by NSAIDs, help ulcers to heal and reduce inflammation.
Boost nitric oxide levels with citrulline and arginine
L-arginine and L-citrulline are amino acids that are produced in the body. In case of shortage, they are available in many foods. If all is well, you would be wise to eat some of these foods regularly. However, if you have a health problem, you can take these amino acids in the form of supplements. Whether taken through food or supplements, the amino acids are used by the body to produce nitric oxide. Then the nitric oxide will reverse your current health problem and benefit in many other ways.