Nitric oxide supplements (or NO supplements) have become very popular in the fitness and bodybuilding industry during the last several years, simply because they demonstrated an increase in lean muscle mass as well as endurance during intense exercise exercise.
Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid that is readily converted into nitric oxide inside the body, so scientists are constantly looking for compounds that can work together with arginine, to speed up or increase the NO synthesis in the body. Read more about the L-arginine benefits here : ‘the use of l-arginine supplements‘
A study published in the journal of sports science and medicine has found that vitamin C combined with arginine increases NO levels more than just arginine alone. Supposedly, vitamin C destroys free radicals that break down nitric oxide.
The study : The effects of oral L-Arginine supplementation on muscular strength in young soccer players
According to literature, L-arginine is converted to nitric oxide in the body, which on the other hand has the effect of vasodilatation (dilatation of blood vessels). This effect helps in supplying the muscles with more oxygen and nutrients. In the long run, nitric oxide increases endurance and muscle mass.
20 young soccer players (aged between 17-19 years) were given 3 grams of L-arginine and 1 gram of vitamin C (first group) or just vitamin C (second group) on a daily basis for a period of 8 weeks. During these 8 weeks they also went through a routine of weight training three times a week.
The first group that was using L-arginine + vitamin C showed a dramatic increase in body weight and strength ( strength was measured in the left and right leg while performing leg extensions), as well as a decrease in body fat. The control group that used just vitamin C did not show significant changes in body weight and strength.
The results suggest that supplementing with L-Arginine for 8 weeks, positively altered strength as well as lean body mass. The dosage should be between 3-5g of L-arginine (obviously, 5g should be taken by individuals with higher body weight). Also 1000mg of vitamin C should be taken along with every dose of L-arginine to ensure the neutralization of free radicals.