Does Nitric Oxide Lower Testosterone?
Nitric Oxide (NO) and Testosterone Studies
How can you use nitric oxide to get bigger, leaner, and stronger?
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a key nutrient that you’ll find in pre-workouts, sports nutrition, and… beetroot.
But does Nitric Oxide really have a significant impact on testosterone production? And how can nitric oxide help you reach your body composition goals?
What is Nitric Oxide?
Within the body, Nitric Oxide is a molecule that helps send various different signals around your body – mainly telling your blood vessels to dilate.
This means your heart can push more blood around your body, and more oxygen and nutrients can get to your muscles, organs, and other tissue.
Nitric oxide is crucial for your circulation and your heart health, keeping your blood pressure low and making life a lot easier for your heart.
And nitric oxide is important for your brain health, too.
It helps your circulatory system shuttle oxygen and nutritionist to your brain, reducing your risk of brain disorders and protecting it from excess oxidative stress.
Btu what about the role of nitric oxide in training performance?
When you train, your heart needs to work harder and your muscles need a lot more oxygen and energy.
Nitric oxide can dilate your blood vessels, helping you have a better training session and easing the workload on your heart.
Nitric Oxide and Testosterone
What is the link between nitric oxide and testosterone?
These two important compounds are closely connected within the body, rising (or falling) in line with the activity of the other.
It is a cyclical relationship: if your test levels drop, your nitric oxide production will be suppressed, which will cause your testosterone levels to drop even further.
High test levels have an impact on your Nitric Oxide levels, and high levels of NO will also help boost your natural testosterone levels.
All of which means better training sessions, faster recovery, more muscle mass, and lower fat mass.
The interaction between nitric oxide and testosterone can make or break a guy’s health and fitness, having a significant impact on heart health, blood flow, libido, brain function and sharpness, sleep, mood, and gym performance.
The Impact Of Nitric Oxide on Test Levels
Nitric Oxide effects testosterone in two key ways: sleep, and mood.
Good quality sleep is an important factor in healthy testosterone production for two reasons: (your body produces a lot of the anabolic hormone when you sleep, and being well rested means you are likely to make lifestyle choices that naturally boost testosterone).
Low levels of Nitric Oxide levels can actually be a factor in low mood or even depression, which can lead to lower testosterone levels.
[Further immunohistochemical evidence for impaired NO signaling in the hypothalamus of depressed patients. Bernstein HG, Heinemann A, Krell D, Mawrin C, Bielau H, Danos P, Diekmann S, Keilhoff G, Bogerts B, Baumann B. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2002 Nov;973:91-3.]
Nitric oxide controls the release of acetylcholine in your brain, which helps regulate healthy sleep/wake cycles.
This means that lower levels of nitric oxide will lead to poorer sleep, decreased brain function, and even altered EEGs.
It’s definitely powerful enough to have a negative impact on your test levels.
Enhancing Your Natural Levels Of Nitric Oxide
It’s clear that nitric oxide and testosterone are intrinsically linked – when one goes up, the other rises too, and when one goes down, the other will fall.
So you need to know how to boost your body’s natural nitric oxide levels to protect your testosterone.
Training is an amazing way to boost nitric oxide, strengthening your heart and encouraging a healthier circulatory system.
The better your cardiovascular system is working, the more more endothelial nitric oxide your arteries can produce.
This has a knock on effect on boosting your test levels…
Any kind of exercise will have a positive effect on your cardiovascular system, but weight training has the added benefits of boosting testosterone.
Therefore, add some strength work into your weekly training plan to support nitric oxide and natural testosterone production.
If you’re overweight, then losing at least some of the excess weight will help you boost your testosterone levels (and therefore your nitric oxide levels).
So: newsflash! Healthy nutrition habits, sensible calorie intake, and regular exercise will help you boost and stabilize the most important anabolic hormones in your body.
There are some key foods to include in your diet to support nitric oxide levels. The main one is beetroot, whether you choose to eat beets or use beetroot juice.
Supplements For Natural Nitric Oxide Production
Some supplements can help support nitric oxide levels, including grape seed extract (and supplements containing grape seed extract as an ingredient).
Polyphenols in the grape seeds can help increase nitric oxide levels and grape seed extract can support the enzyme involved in the production of nitric oxide.
[Effects of grape seed polyphenols on oxidative damage in liver tissue of acutely and chronically exercised rats. Belviranlı M, Gökbel H, Okudan N, Büyükbaş S. Phytother Res. 2013 May;27(5):672-7. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4772. Epub 2012 Jun 29.]
[Grape seed extract enhances eNOS expression and NO production through regulating calcium-mediated AKT phosphorylation in H2O2-treated endothelium. Feng Z, Wei RB, Hong Q, Cui SY, Chen XM. Cell Biol Int. 2010 Oct;34(10):1055-61. doi: 10.1042/CBI20100054.]
You could also look for sports supplements containing capsaicin (which increases circulation and dilates the blood vessels), niacin/Vitamin B3 (which can increase baseline nitric oxide levels), and CoQ10 (which can relax your arteries, lower blood pressure, and increase your circulation).
Ginseng – a natural circulation booster, and Vitamin C can also support your body’s natural production of Nitric Oxide.
What is the end result regarding Nitric Oxide and Testosterone?
So to answer the question we opened with: No, nitric oxide does not lower or inhibit testosterone, and testosterone will boost nitric oxide.
These two important compounds are interlinked and balanced. Get one right, and the other will follow.
And both of them matter if you want more energy, better training results, and a healthier leaner body.
Nicola Joyce (aka “the fit writer”) is a fitness industry copywriter who has been writing for and about sport and fitness since 2004. Nicola is a competitive drug-free bodybuilder (with two World titles at amateur level) and has also competed in powerlifting and a couple of strongman comps. Prior to her strength training days, Nicola was an endurance athlete and has even swum the English Channel twice. She can be found on all social media at: thefitwriter.