Every so often a hot new supplement pops up that leaves supplement companies watering at the mouth. A lot of times this new ingredient is a bunch of hype and empty promises. But every blue moon you’ll get one that’s a real gem. The one we are going to discuss today has 19 studies to its name showing it to be safe and effective. It has 48 carse (competent and reliable scientific evidence) substantiated claims and 11 patents. This ingredient is Nitrosigine and as an endurance athlete or avid gym goer, you may want to add it to your supplement arsenal.
In this article, we will discuss what nitrosigine is, how it’s made, how it works, benefits, side effects, the research on Nitrosigine, and the best way to take it. By the time you’re done reading all you’ll ever care to know about Nitrosigine, you’ll have a Ph.D. in this super ergogenic compound.
What Is Nitrosigine?
Nitrosigine is a novel patented source of inositol-stabilized arginine silicate that has FDA new dietary ingredient (NDI) and GRAS (generally recognized as safe) status. It is made by a company called Nutrition 21 who launched the product in May of 2013.
Currently, Nitrosigine has 19 studies (human studies included) conducted on it demonstrating it to be a safe and effective ingredient that can improve exercise performance. The compound’s ergogenic properties seen to stem from its ability to increase blood flow and affecting silicon absorption.
Let’s briefly discuss what arginine and silicon do separately when ingested as a supplement.
What Is Arginine? What Does Arginine Do?
Arginine is one of the conditionally essential amino acids that plays several roles in the body such as:
- Increasing Nitric Oxide
- Enhancing Blood Flow
- Removing Ammonia From The Body
- Immune Function
- Wound Healing
For the purposes of this article, we are most interested in if arginine is an effective natural vasodilator that can increase blood flow. Unfortunately, by itself, the research demonstrates that arginine is a poor vasodilator mostly due to poor absorption of the compound when consumed in supplemental form.
What Is Silicon? What Does Silicon Do?
Silicon (Silica) is an unreactive, colorless compound that is found naturally in foods such as oats, cucumbers, rice, wheat, and avocados. When consumed Silica can:
- Strengthen Connective Tissues Of The Brain
- Promote Endothelial Relaxation
- Promote Bone Health
- Improve Memory
- Stabilize The Pancreas’s Release Of Insulin
As it relates to exercise performance, we are most interested in Silica’s ability to promote endothelial relaxation (which it does a good job of) which can increase vasodilation and blood flow to working muscles.
How Is Nitrosigine Made?
Nitrosigine is made by combining arginine and silica and stabilizing it with inositol (a vitamin-like substance found in plant and animal). This prevents the breakdown of Nitrosigine and makes its effects last longer in the body (up to 6 hours).
In pre-clinical research studies, Nitrosigine has been shown to be superior over arginine in blood flow markers and has been shown to have a positive benefit on silicon absorption. Both of which can enhance athletic performance and general health.
How Does Nitrosigine Work?
Nitrosigine works in two ways:
- It enhances blood flow via vasodilation before and after exercise by increasing nitric oxide levels. In fact, studies have demonstrated Nitrosigine almost doubles maximum blood flow compared to arginine HCL.
- It significantly increases silicon blood levels compared to normal dietary intake which enhances blood vessel relaxation
Now that we know a little more about what Nitrosigine is and how it works, let’s discuss the benefits as claimed by the maker of the compound, Nutrition 21. They claim Nitrosigine can:
- Boost key factors related to increased blood flow. More specifically increasing nitric oxide levels and promoting blood vessel relaxation.
- Time optimized. Works within 15 minutes and increases blood arginine levels for up to 6 hours.
- Increases energy rapidly and safely.
- Improve mental acuity and focus by 33%.
- Create greater “pumps” by delivering more oxygen and nutrients to working muscles while also removing waste products.
- Combat muscle damage from exercise by reducing creatine kinase levels by 56%.
At first glance, you might be saying, “those are quite the claims.” Let’s see if the research on Nitrosigine supports them.
Studies On Nitrosigine
Study #1: Nitrosigine Improves Mental Flexibility, Processing Speed, & Executive Function
A 2016 double-blinded placebo-controlled crossover study conducted by Kalman et. al discovered subjects who supplemented with 1500mg of Nitrosigine for 14 days improved trail making test scores by ~33% compared to placebo.
Study #2: Nitrosigine Increases Pre-Workout Energy Levels, Muscle Pumps Post Workout & Decreases Markers Of Muscle Damage After A Workout And During Recovery
A 2015 double-blinded placebo-controlled crossover study done by Ojalvo et. al found that subjects who consumed 1500mg of Nitrosigine for 4 days had:
- Greater levels of perceived energy compared to placebo.
- Higher levels of hyperemia (muscle pump) compared to placebo (1.8 vs. 0.8 cm).
- Increased blood flow as measured by ultrasound compared to placebo (59.9 vs, 49.9 cm).
- Reduced levels of creatine kinase compared to placebo indicating 44% less muscle damage.
Study #3: Nitrosigine Significantly Increases Plasma Arginine Levels Compared To Arginine HCL
A 2016 randomized, double-blind, active-controlled, crossover studystudy conducted by Komorowski and Ojalvo discovered subjects who supplemented with 500mg of Nitrosigine for 14 days had a 70% increase in plasma arginine compared to placebo. Plasma arginine levels also remained elevated longer in the Nitrosigine group compared to placebo.
As you can see the studies support the claims! Let’s move on to the potential side effects of Nitrosigine and how much you should take before a workout.
Nitrosigine Side Effects
Some of the studies discussed above also examined the safety of Nitrosigine. As a collective whole, no safety concerns were raised during any of the studies. By itself, arginine can cause GI distress in some individuals which is probably due to poor absorption of the compound. With the increased bioavailability of Nitrosigine (by combining arginine and silica) this doesn’t seem to be a problem.
Individuals with low blood pressure are those on blood pressure medications should consult with their doctor before taking Nitrosigine as the vasodilatory effects of the ingredient can cause a natural reduction in blood pressure.
How Many Milligrams Of Nitrosigine Before Workout?
The proper dose of Nitrosigine as demonstrated by the research to have an ergogenic effect appears to be 1500mg taken 15 minutes before exercise.
The Bottom Line On Nitrosigine
Nitrosigine is one of the few dietary ingredients that has the research behind it demonstrating it as a safe and effective compound for improving exercise performance. It works by increasing blood flow and promoting endothelial relaxation. 1500mg of Nitrosigine should be dosed 15 minutes before exercise for maximum effectiveness.
- Harvey et. al. The effects of inositol-stabilized arginine silicate on cognitive function. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. 2015;34(6):544.
- Rood-Ojalvo S, Sandler D, Veledar E, Komorowski J. The benefits of inositol-stabilized arginine silicate as a workout ingredient. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition. 2015; 12(Suppl 1):P14.
- Komorowski J, Perez Ojalvo S. A pharmacokinetic evaluation of the duration of effect of inositol-stabilized arginine silicate and arginine hydrochloride in healthy adult males. The FASEB Journal. 2016; 30(1) Supplement 690.17.
- Affirmed as Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) for use in nutritional bars and beverages.
About The Author Matt Mosman
Matt Mosman (MS, CISSN, CSCS) is a research scientist, endurance athlete, and the founder and Chief Endurance Officer at EndurElite. Matt holds his B.S. in Exercise Science from Creighton University and his M.S. in Exercise Physiology from the University of California. Matt and his family reside in Spearfish South Dakota where they enjoy running, mountain biking, camping, and all the outdoor adventures Spearfish has to offer.