Yes you read correctly, Nitric oxide, the key component found in, or manufactured via pre-workout supplements such as BSN NO-Xplode, Scivation Novem, Gaspari Nutrition Superpump Max or Optimum Health Ultimate Pre-Workout…Oh yes, I nearly forgot, it’s also found in Viagra!
Now I’m always cautious not to make sweeping statements about the findings from one promising study, and I am even more dubious when the findings are on animals and not humans. However, the role of nitric oxide in promoting blood flow, enhancing nervous transmission, regulating immune function and prolonging exercise is very well established, therefore the idea that this may in fact prolong life may not be all that radical!
The theory is that nitric oxide may be able protect the body from environmental stress as well as cumulatively boosting heart, circulatory and nervous system health. The original findings were identified in the roundworm Caenorhabditis elegans, a worm used mainly in studies designed to target ageing, and the results were quite extraordinary. When the worms were fed bacteria containing nitric oxide the scientists noted how the worms lived 50% longer than their wiggly counterparts, and 15% longer than their average life expectancy. We already know that nitric oxide levels seem to decline as we age, hence many people train with it in order to enhance their natural levels. The nitric oxide in the worms acted on a very specific set of genes resulting in a high resistance to stress, promoting longer life.
The results are not conclusive and obviously need to be applied to humans before they can be of any benefit, but none the less very interesting findings indeed!
NOTE: Nitric oxide is safe, but if you have an underlying medical condition, always remember to check with your Doctor should you decide to commence a pre- workout or nitric oxide based supplement regimen.
Gusarov, I., Gautier, L., Smolentseva, O., Shamovsky, I., Eremina,S., Mironov, A., and Nudler, E. (2013). Bacterial Nitric Oxide Extends the Lifespan of C. elegans. Cell. DOI:10.1016/j.cell.2012.12.043
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Biogerontology Research Foundation, and the Dynasty Foundation.