Naturally produced by our body’s cells, nitric oxide (NO) plays a big role in blood vessel health. NO naturally widens blood vessels to increase blood flow and simultaneously decrease blood pressure (1). Supplements that claim to boost NO don’t actually contain NO; rather, they are made of other compounds that amp up the body’s production of NO, most commonly l-arginine and l-citrulline. Many brands also use beetroots in their complexes, a popular ingredient in pre-workouts.
While more research is needed to determine the efficacy of increased NO levels on athletic performance, there is some evidence that suggests it may aid in high intensity interval training (HIIT) and prolonged aerobic activity (2)(3). Additionally, some athletes use it because they feel it gives them a bigger “pump” and vascularity while working out. It is wise to consult with a medical professional before starting on any supplement claiming it can boost NO. For those who are eager to give it a try, we rounded up some of the best NO supplements based on ingredients and dosage amounts, and found our picks.
The Best Nitric Oxide Supplements
- Best Overall: Jacked Factory N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Boosting Agent
- Best Beetroot Supplement: Snap Nitric Oxide Organic Beets
- Best For Citrulline: Transparent Labs Raw Series L-Citrulline Malate
- Best For Pre Workout: Legion Pulse Pre-Workout
- Most Unique Blend: Old School Labs Vintage Burst Nitric Oxide Booster
Editor’s note: The content on BarBend is meant to be informative in nature, but it should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions and articles on this site are not intended for use as diagnosis, prevention, and/or treatment of health problems. It’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before beginning a new fitness, nutritional, and/or supplement routine. Individual needs for vitamins and minerals will vary.
Best Nitric Oxide Supplements
When determining which NO supplement to choose from, it is smart to get a sense of how much of each amino acid plus other ingredient combination is used. Furthermore, as all these supplements come in capsule form, knowing the suggested serving size (read how many capsules) can help adjust accordingly when consuming. Each choice on our list has a different dosage for each amino acid. Some have very slim ingredient lists while others are rather extensive, both of which offer particular benefits.
[Related: The Best Types Of Supplements For Performance, Weight Loss, And Health]
Best Overall Nitric Oxide
Each three capsule serving of N.O. Nitric Oxide Boosting Agent contains one-and-a-half grams of l-citrulline, 500 milligrams of a proprietary arginine compound, 200 milligrams of glutathione, and an antioxidant. In addition, there are five milligrams of Bioperine, a black pepper extract that may aid in absorption. It is made with veggie capsules and produced in a facility that meets all manufacturing industry standards.
Anchored by a strong dose of 1.5g l-citrulline, N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Boosting Agent may be a solid option for those looking to raise their nitric oxide levels before training sessions. N.O. also uses a bit of BioPerine black pepper extract, intended to improve the bioavailability of the other ingredients.
Who Should Take Jacked Factory N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Boosting Agent
- Folks who appreciate that the capsules are made from vegetables.
- Anyone who appreciates an all-natural product.
- People looking for a supplement that includes glutathione.
Who Shouldn’t Take Jacked Factory N.O. XT Nitric Oxide Boosting Agent
- Folks with a black pepper allergy.
- Anyone targeting a higher dose of arginine.
Although there are no artificial fillers, dyes, or preservatives, the addition of black pepper extract will be contentious with anyone who has an allergy to it. All-in-all, the supplement having a strong enough mix of amino acids in combination with matching the requirements of most diets propels N.O. Nitric Oxide Boosting Agent to the top of our list.
Best Beetroot Supplement
Each serving of Nitric Oxide Organic Beets provides 5,484 milligrams of beetroot powder and zero grams of added sugar. This gluten-free, vegan-friendly product is a great choice for shake mixes and offers nearly half a daily recommended dose of Vitamin C. Additionally, it packs more than a daily recommended dose of Vitamin B3 and nearly three-and-a-half times that in Vitamin B12.
Snap's organic beets contain beetroot powder, BCAAs, L-arginine, and L-citrulline. They are great for smoothie mixes, are non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, and have zero grams of added sugar.
Who Should Take Snap Nitric Oxide Organic Beets
- Those who follow a vegan diet or are gluten-free.
- Anyone who wants to avoid added sugar.
- Folks who want a significant boost of Vitamin B3 and Vitamin B12.
Who Shouldn’t Take Snap Nitric Oxide Organic Beets
- Anyone who dislikes a foamy or grainy texture in their shakes.
- Those who dislike flavors that are more tart.
The only real knock against this product is going to hinge on how much a user likes or dislikes beets. If you dislike the flavor of beets, then this might be a difficult supplement to get down. If you favor beets, then this might be the best pick on the list. Overall, this is a solid pick for those who are more prone to taking their nitric oxide supplement via a smoothie or shake rather than a simple mix in water.
Best For Citrulline
This supplement is gluten-free and contains no GMOs. Additionally, it does not have any artificial sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives. Each two-scoop serving provides six grams of L-citrulline malate. It mixes well into cold water or juice and can be used as a pre-workout.
This supplement is gluten-free and devoid of GMOs. Additionally, it does not have any artificial sweeteners, colorings, or preservatives. Each two-scoop serving provides six grams of L-citrulline malate.
Who Should Take Transparent Labs Raw Series L-Citrulline Malate
- People who are trying to keep artificial sweeteners to a minimum.
- Anyone who is looking to get a strong boost of citrulline.
Who Shouldn’t Take Transparent Labs Raw Series L-Citrulline Malate
- Those who need more than just citrulline in their nitric oxide supplements.
- Folks who dislike bitter flavors.
Sometimes simplicity is king and that is where this particular product shines. It offers exactly one ingredient and in a reasonably large dose. It might not cover the bases for everyone considering other supplements on the market also include some additional vitamins in their nutrition facts. However, Transparent Labs delivers here for those with citrulline needs, so if that is you, then you found your best pick.
[Related: IIFYM (If It Fits Your Macros): Your Ultimate Guide To This Diet]
Best For Pre-Workout
This product sports 100 percent natural ingredients and can be ordered with or without caffeine. There are 13 different flavors to choose from ranging from sweeter flavors like sour candy and bubble gum to more common flavors like fruit punch, grape, and watermelon. Each serving provides 350 milligrams of L-theanine, eight grams of citrulline, and two-and-a-half grams of betaine.
This pre-workout supplement can come with or without caffeine and in 13 different flavors. Each serving provides 350 milligrams of L-theanine and eight grams of citrulline.
Who Should Take Legion Pulse Pre-Workout
- Those who need a nitric oxide supplement specifically for pre-workout.
- Anyone who wants the flexibility of a caffeine-free product.
- People who value access to a lot of flavor variety.
Who Shouldn’t Take Legion Pulse Pre-Workout
- Folks who don’t like their supplements to be too sweet.
- Lifters who have sensitive stomachs.
Although the supplemental ingredients are the same from flavor to flavor, the flavors themselves can have swingy effects. The more unique flavors like sour candy and bubblegum made not settle well with athletes who have sensitive stomachs — something many would need to pay heed to if they are going to lift shortly after consuming. Other than that, this is a solid all-around pick for a pre-workout supplement.
[Related: Study: Fruits And Vegetables May Help Switch Off Genes Responsible For Obesity]
Most Unique Blend
The most prominent ingredient in Vintage Burst Nitric Oxide Booster is l-arginine, with 1500 milligrams per serving. In addition to l-arginine, each serving is fleshed out with 150 milligrams maca root, 100 milligrams spectra, a proprietary blend featuring various vegetable extracts, and 100 milligrams of coffee. These additional ingredients are intended to boost energy. Vintage Burst Nitric Oxide Booster boasts third-party testing for purity.
This nitric oxide booster offers a unique blend of l-arginine with several other natural extracts intended to provide energy boosts. This third-party tested supplement is vegetarian and keto-friendly.
Who Should Take Old School Labs Vintage Burst Nitric Oxide Booster
- Those looking for bigger energy boosts via caffeine.
- Folks who value sufficient purity testing.
Who Shouldn’t Take Old School Labs Vintage Burst Nitric Oxide Booster
- People who value a simpler combination of ingredients.
- Anyone on a strict budget.
On a cost per serving basis, Vintage Burst Nitric Oxide Booster is a bit pricier than many of its competitors, which is a knock against it. On the flip side, however, it does have a more extensive ingredient list than comparable options. The high arginine dose is good for those seeking it, but the additional ingredients don’t necessarily aid in augmenting NO. Ultimately, it’s a solid pick if that extra energy boost offered by the additional ingredients is valuable for you.
[Related: Could Baking Soda Be The Best Workout Supplement You’ve Never Tried?]
How We Decided Our Picks
There are a host of nitric oxide supplements available, many of which seem to make quite outlandish claims about their effectiveness. Before clicking purchase on any nitric oxide booster, it’s important to consult a medical professional and to know how to distinguish between a few key features.
L-arginine vs. L-citrulline
Two of the most common ingredients features in NO boosters are the amino acids arginine and citrulline. Both are believed to play a role in helping our cells create more NO which can help generate a “pump” in the gym. The effectiveness of these amino acids is not entirely known, as more research is needed. However, there is some evidence to suggest that citrulline may be a more effective NO booster than arginine.
Beetroot is also used in many NO supplements because it has a high content a dietary nitrate, which has shown to increase blood levels of nitrate, nitrite, and biologically active NO. According to a study in Cureus, it has also been “observed to enhance athletic performance in healthy individuals.” However, benefits may depend on individual aerobic fitness levels. “Dietary nitrate supplementation appears to have a favorable effect on training performance in some patient populations.” (4)
It’s wise to consult with a medical professional before starting on any dosage of a NO supplement. Be sure to pay special attention to how much of each amino acid or natural ingredient is listed on each label, not just for safety reasons but also to ensure that the dosage of your target amino acid aligns with what is supplied in the product. We skewed our picks toward more well-rounded dosages of multiple amino acids, so adjust accordingly if seeking a higher or lower dosage of something specific.
[Related: 10 Kinds Of Creatine And What They All Mean]
As with shopping for any supplement, it’s important to take a close look at the ingredients. Some brands may be incorporating unnecessary or superfluous ingredients to beef up their recipes. There can be some benefits to that, an example is the use of coffee (read caffeine) in order to increase energy levels temporarily. This may prove to make it feel like a product is more effective than it actually is as caffeine is a common ingredient in pre-workout.
Divide the total cost by the number of servings listed to get an idea of the cost of each supplement. Not all serving sizes are created equally, both in terms of nutritional value and in terms of capsule amount. It will likely be helpful to know what amount of each particular amino acid you seek so that it is easier to make an informed decision based on the cost of the dose.
L-Citrulline vs. Citrulline Malate
Not knowing the difference between these two amino acids is not uncommon. Fortunately, they are different enough that they must be listed differently, but for anyone looking to take citrulline, either can get the job done.
The actual difference between l-citrulline and citrulline is that the former is free-form while the latter is a combination of citrulline and malic acid. Malic acid is a natural supplement found in fruits like apples that helps to promote the creation of energy for your cells.
[Related: 7 Pre-Workout Ingredients You Can Take For A Better Pump]
What To Consider Before Buying
NO supplements are not for everyone. Consult a medical professional before beginning to use these. If using NO supplements, start slow. Different compounds can have different effects for some folks; instead of going straight for a full dose, it may be wise to start with a half dose, see how that feels, and then bump it up next time.
Do nitric oxide supplements really work?
Limited research on nitric oxide supplements reveals that they may help create more nitric oxide within a body, which could potentially lead to some enhanced athletic performance. However, more studies are needed to make any broad claims about its efficacy.
Can nitric oxide help erectile dysfunction?
In certain cases, evidence suggests that nitric oxide could be beneficial to folks suffering from erectile dysfunction. However, it’s wise to consult a medical professional.
What foods are high in nitric oxide?
While no foods contain nitric oxide, some foods contain nitrates that may help boost nitric oxide levels. Beets are among the most well-researched foods that may lead to higher levels of nitric oxide.
- Moncada S, Palmer RM, Higgs EA. The discovery of nitric oxide as the endogenous nitrovasodilator. Hypertension (Dallas, Tex : 1979). 1988;12(4):365-372.
Wylie LJ, Mohr M, Krustrup P, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation improves team sport-specific intense intermittent exercise performance. European journal of applied physiology. 2013;113(7):1673-1684.
Lansley KE, Winyard PG, Fulford J, et al. Dietary nitrate supplementation reduces the O2 cost of walking and running: a placebo-controlled study. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md : 1985). 2011;110(3):591-600.
- Hanna Olsson, et al. Physiological Effects of Beetroot in Athletes and Patients. (2019). Cureus. doi: 10.7759/cureus.6355.