When developing NO3X we abandoned our usual philosophy of proven ingredients in verified doses. The reasoning here is simply that a large proportion of people take these products not simply based on results over a period of time, but rather acute (immediate) results they can feel when they enter the gym and throughout their workout.
One of the key factors of this product was incorporating key “vasodilators”, which in simple terms are the ingredients responsible for “the pump”. To many, the pump is a curious goal. Effectively we are seeking a feeling where the muscles feel tight, full and larger, often to the point where training is impeded. An example would be “My pump was so crazy I couldn’t finish my set”, It is for this reason that a competitive athlete would rarely seek “the pump”, in fact in some sports “arm pump” is something which athletes try to avoid as much as possible as it reduces performance and means a cessation of that activity.
This is bodybuilding though and we are talking Pre Workout supplements, where there is no question users want “the pump”. In scientific terms “the pump” is an expansion of blood vessels which is claimed to lead to better nutrient delivery, thanks to an effect on nitric oxide levels. While the theory is that more nutrients would be available to muscle cells, no legitimate studies exist that increasing vasodilation through arginine supplementation makes any difference to strength or muscle size.
Once we have established that, we can accept that seeking ‘the pump’ is simply an endeavour that makes us feel better in the gym. Any tangible benefits to nitric oxide levels and better delivery of nutrients to the muscles are insignificant enough to have not been measured. On a practical level however, often the better we feel the harder we train, which, we’ve no doubt this in itself is enough motivation for many people.
So, which ingredients are best at creating ‘the pump’ and what is in NO3X?
For years the most common ingredients for increasing vasodilation has been Arginine. Arginine is available in many forms, with companies offering various salt modified Arginines such as AAKG and AEE over the years. The theory (which has not been proven) is that including an ester/carrier prevents the body breaking down Arginine too prematurely and thus more arginine is utilised by the body.
As Arginine itself has never really been shown to provide a measurable effect on strength or muscle size, it is no surprise that these “better” forms of Arginine have never been shown to be advantageous. There has been some interesting debate over the years on these forms too, does the bonding of an ester make up for their lower Arginine content?(the mass of the ester takes the place of Arginine), some claim without a doubt, while others remain very sceptical.
What about Agmatine Sulfate?
In more recent times one popular ingredient for vasodilation is Agmatine Sulfate. Agmatine Sulfate is derived from Arginine after a process of decarboxylation (the removal of a carbon group). While it has been touted as an even more effective vasodilator than Arginine, the only conclusive research is for its use as a neuropathic pain reliever, however in its defence, we have already mentioned there has never been a link between any arginines and performance increases due to nitric oxide increases, so this is no surprise.
A misunderstood point about Agmatine however is its effect on nitric oxide. Although it is often claimed to be a better nitric oxide raiser than Arginine, Agmatine Sulpfate is not able to be a substrate for Nitric Oxide, and is not subject to the “nitric oxide synthase enzyme”. It is speculated that it may well influence nitric oxide metabolism in a positive way, it is not through being converted into nitric oxide. With all that said, we have no doubts many gym user find agmatine very effective for creating the ‘pump’, however it is likely due to a different mechanism.
So, what else is available?
In recent times there has been a more direct route to increase nitric levels and interestingly, these have actually shown positive performance advantages. Beetroot Juice contains high levels of nitrates and supplemented nitrates have shown to improve rates to exhaustion of type 11 muscle fibres during interval training. Nitrates in these forms seem to have particular benefits in times of hypoxia (where levels of oxygen are low) and where exercise tolerance can be improved and multiple studies show positive effects on endurance and power.
While Beetroot Juice Extract or Beetroot Juice itself is not always the most convenient form to consume these nitrates, we have combined Creatine Nitrates and Beta Alanine Nitrates in NO3X in significant doses. While the total amounts of Creatine and Beta Alanine (from the nitric forms) are low, these otherwise effective compounds act as a positive carrier here for the nitrates. Once absorbed the carrier is not a consideration, as the nitrate unbinds very quickly.
So what effect do these have on the ‘pump’?
Ok, we accept a certain irony that after explaining nitric oxide has little and no scientific basis for increasing performance and accepting its more novel use, we then went on to show pure nitrates do in fact have a legitimate use in sports performance applications…….
The best news of all though is that all testing done in the trials of NO3X showed that Nitrates (in the form of creatine and beta alanine nitrate) were more effective at creating the ‘pump’ than any combination of arginine and agmatine. Interestingly, some users reported great vasodilating effects from the NO3X that contained Agmatine, but the same users reported at least similar or better effects when the Agmatine was replaced with Nitrates.
Finally, a few test subjects that reported great effects from agmatine were instructed to take the non agmatine and agmatine containing NO3X samples, and again, the product which contained nitrates (and no agmatine) provided the same effect on the ‘pump’, as those that contained agmatine.
In conclusion, for NO3X we have researched and found the ingredient (Nitrates) which have shown to both create performance increasing effects as well as giving users an effective ‘pump’. Users who speculate this is not the case would be encouraged to take NO3X as is, as well as adding Agmatine Sulfate for their own tests, however after thorough research and our own trials we are very confident the nitrates in NO3X will be very effective at creating the ‘pump’ in most users who effectively gain this from other vasodilators.
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