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Athletic Training

Benefits/risks of Nitric Oxide supplement use



My high school age son lifts weights to strengthen for football. He is interested in trying Nitric Oxide supplements to build muscle and strength. Please inform me of their benefits and any risks that may be associated with taking this supplement.


I have tried to find some good research on this product and was unable to.  However, I did find out what the product is supposed to do.

Nitric oxide (NO) in theory is used to increase the body's oxygen-delivering capacity.  NO causes a dilation in blood vessels allowing more blood and therefore more O2 to be delivered to working muscles.  Some sites claim that it can affect basically every system in the body from the liver to the stomach, making them more efficient.  An example of a product with NO in it is Viagra; the NO causes the increased blood flow to that area.  There is research showing its effectiveness in treating heart disease.

As with any supplement there are risks.  In general, the supplement market is not monitored by the FDA.  Therefore, there may be substances in the product that are not on the label and may give your son a positive drug test at the NCAA level.

If your son eats a healthy diet and gets plenty of fruits and vegetables, he is getting NO naturally and does not need to supplement.

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Response by:

Jeffery  A Bright, MS, ATC/L Jeffery A Bright, MS, ATC/L
Assistant Athletic Trainer, Department of Athletics
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University