What NO2 Actually Does

"Does NO2 really work as well as everyone says?"

Every day I hear this question. And because muscletech is obviously THE leading manufacturer of pharmaceutical grade supplements to meet your HUGE GAIN needs, I'll answer this question for you. Before I do that though, rephrase your question as follows: "Can NO2 maybe conceivably do anything remotely productive in the least bit at all in any way?"
And I'll answer "no." Everyone seems buys it though.

So let me set it up. What happens is they advertise this substance that nobody knows anything about as having all these effects that that nobody understands. This way, everybody thinks it's a scientific break-through marvel. And then I get to break it to everyone that it does more harm than good. By more harm than good, I mean that it does harm coupled with no good whatsoever. And since it's not monitored by the FDA, that's fine.

Like this: hemodilation. That's one of their claims. Their ads say NO2 does that. It does hemodilation for you. Outstanding, if this actually did happen you'd die immediately. Hemodilation means expanding the volume of individual blood cells. Try doing this. I promise you'll have fun. Get a microscope and a solution that causes blood cells to expand. Watch them instantly burst and die. Seriously. I promise you two things. One: in no way would you want hemodilation to occurr as a result of a supplement. And two: NO2 producers are liars, thankfully, and the supplement will not kill you by these means. Phewf huh?

This is of course just one claim they use in their vast armory of "claims we hope you don't understand." This specific claim I have a particular fondness for being as i swollowed my spit weird when my friend and I were reading it for the first time, laughing hysterically, and I almost choked and died. But the rest of the claims come to you with equal esteem, so don't worry about too many of them being coupled with validity. Granted a couple of them were grounded in truth, but so is the war in Iraq, so, let's not kid ourselves.

But magically it sells like crazy. It doesn't help any that personal trainers at every gym in the world swear by it. And it really annoys the shit out of me when people listen to these trainers. Maybe 2 or 3 out of every hundred know something of physiology. And what the supplement actually does to some degree, physiologically, is this: vasodilation. This is not hemodilation. Vasodilation means increasing the diameter of your blood vessels.

I can't see any reason you would want this. It's seriously a horrendous thing to do to yourself while you're working out. You've got a finite amount of blood and a finite length, if you will, and I will, of blood vessels, veins and arteries to carry this finite blood. Now these little blood carrying tubes vary in size from one erythrocyte (little blood cell) in diameter to about an inch in diameter. The body regulates where blood is sent using two processes vasoconstriction and vasodilation. When a blood vessel constricts, the flow of blood though it is diminished. When the vessel dilates, the blood flow is increased. When the blood flow is increased, you get "the pump."

Schwarzenegger (Pumping Iron) has high regards for "the pump" and that's fine because your body won't do it too much in excess naturally. But when NO2 comes into play, it becomes ridiculous.

Take NO2 and you're ingesting compounds to help your blood vessels produce endothelium derived relaxing factor (EDRF). This causes huge amounts of vasodilation. You'll first get a little pump. Yay! Then the pump will get bigger and your muscle will begin dying. Yay! Then it continues and you pass out. Yay!

Here's how it works...

Stage one: small pump. EDRF enduced vasodilation- a little bit more blood running around- a little bit of a pump. This is kind of okay. But start your workout and you're going into stage two.

Stage two: muscle death. When you're working out NO2-less, the diameter of your blood vessels already increases to a level beyond what is helpful. Work out for 15 minutes and you're already getting too much blood in the area you're working, and it that makes it clot and pool and swell up. Huge pump. This is what people take NO2 for specifically. But here's a little secret: your muscle doesn't like that. It completely interupts it's contractility. So the whole functional capacity of your muscle is completely shot.

And besides that, when it's all swollen up, the circulation stops. No new oxygenated blood can get to the muscle cells that need it. Unless you ice the shit out of these muscles while you're working out, this kills them. As in the cells die. Not "are injured," but rather "die." They experience death. When cellular metabolism is not met, cellular death is the result. And this is actually fun, because it creates a new detrimental cycle in addition to the already-hard-working NO2. Now that your cells are dying, their natural, I guess I'll call it a "death process" is to release prostaglandins and bradykinins. Basically chemical messengers that indicate that cellular death has in fact occurred, and signal your body to bring in all the white blood cells and everything to heal it. But that's a problem because it's already all swollen- that's what caused their death in the first place. So the new swelling being called in just contributes to the problem by expanding the boundaries of the inflammation. And what does this do? It causes more cellular death, i.e. more of your muscle dying as a result of its metabolic needs not being met by this new bunch of swelling. And these new cells dying release prostaglandins and bradykinins, and call in more swelling, which kills more cells, which then release more prostaglandins and bradykinins, and more and more and more, and so on until you taking NO2 is somewhat like you having a devistating stroke. It's essentially a domino effect of you rapidly losing muscle until you quit working out and initiate the application of ice on all muscles involved and/or pass out mid-workout.

Stage three: pass-out mid workout. Think garden hose. This will be our analogy. Turn that bad boy on and you've got your constant supply of water streaming out. Put a little kink in it and watch the pressure start building up behind it. If you let that kink out, you know the water is going to come shooting out and the pressure falls really rapidly. Imagine you have this fall in pressure in your blood vessels, remembering that you have a finite amount of blood to shuttle around through your body. Are you getting an idea of where we're going with this? When your blood pressure falls really fast, you faint (syncope).

That was the last stage, thankfully. Basically you ingest NO2 and then your muscle continues to die until you pass out. So does NO2 work? I guess it depends on what you want to use it for. If you're looking for a degenerative supplement, I swear to you, NO2 is amazing.