There are only a few types of nitric oxide products because the nitric oxide is already naturally occurring in the body, and it has been found to pollute the air. The compound has been used as treatment for some pulmonary vascular disorders for both children and adults. Together with some ingredients, nitric oxide is also used as drugs for hair re-growth and erectile dysfunction. Nitric oxide products have also become popular as supplements for body builders.
Nitric oxide is known as a “signaling molecule” that sends messages to and from cells. When a cell receives a message from the compound, it responds by releasing some enzymes and results in some changes within the cell. When introduced to the body, the compound also has the ability to dilate blood vessels and capillaries. These abilities are then utilized when nitric oxide is used as an ingredient for some products.
One of the more popular nitric oxide products is “sildenafil citrate,” the generic name for Viagra®. This drug is used to treat erectile dysfunction or as a “performance enhancer.” It works when the nitric oxide opens up the blood vessels in the penis and redirects the blood flow towards the area, resulting in an erection. The effect is said to last for an average of 12 hours. Other people take sildenafil citrate as treatment for hypertension, as it helps relax the heart while letting the blood flow properly through dilated vessels.
Hair re-growers are also known to be nitric oxide products, known by the generic name “minoxidil.” The creation of minoxidil was initiated when hypertensive patients taking nitric oxide as medication noticed an increase in hair growth. The mechanism of minoxidil is similar to sildenafil citrate, in that it dilates the blood vessels on the area where it is topically applied, which will supposedly stimulate the hair to grow. The dilated blood vessels are also said to absorb more oxygen and nutrients needed for proper hair growth. It should be noted that minoxidil is more effective for users from ages 18 to 41, as compared to the older patients.
Nitric oxide products have also been marketed to body builders in the form of nutritional supplements. Nitric oxide, both as a signaling molecule and vasodilator, is said to increase muscle mass and adrenaline release, resulting in a heavier weight and more vigor. The enlarged blood vessels supposedly redirect the blood to the muscles that can experience some enlargement, along with the gases that can further “inflate” the muscles. Nitric oxide supplements have yet to be approved and certified, since many users have experienced symptoms of low blood pressure after taking the supplements.