Nitric Oxide Side Effects & Warnings

NO capsulesAs with any supplement, you may be prone to experiencing nitric oxide side effects when taking boosters. If you’re not familiar with NO Boosters, you can read about them here.

In a nutshell, nitric oxide boosters are used to help you train longer, and with less pain, by allowing more nutrient and oxygen rich blood to flow into the muscle groups you’re working out the most. This also leads to quicker recovery times, which means you can work out more and get stronger quicker. For a full list of provided benefits, check out this article.

Here are some known side effects presented by NO supplements. If you’re experiencing side effects not outlined here, please consult your doctor immediately. You can also report side effects to the FDA here.

Disclaimer: The information found here is for educational purposes only; if you need medical advice regarding any of these issues, please consult a healthcare professional.

Overview of Side Effects

Although nitric oxide is used to benefit your goals, it can also cause some unwanted side effects. If you experience any of these while taking NO boosting supplements, contact your doctor.

Common Side Effects

  • blurred vision
  • confusion
  • sweating
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • dizziness, lightheadedness, or faintness after standing or sitting up

Uncommon Side Effects

  • headaches
  • dry throat
  • difficulty breathing
  • dizziness
  • chest discomfort
  • tightness in chest1

Nitric Oxide Side Effects Analysis

heart pulseChange in Blood Pressure
Since NO boosters affect your blood vessels, potential side effects come with the territory, mainly decreased blood pressure. The most common symptoms that follow decreased blood pressure include nausea, vomiting, and feeling dizzy. You should discontinue using the supplement if you start feeling any of these symptoms.

Stomach Problems
Another side effect is having discomfort in your stomach, such as cramps and nausea. These symptoms often occur when you use the product on an empty stomach. If that’s your case, eat something before using it. If you’re still experiencing these issues after taking it with food, consult your doctor about it.

Imbalanced Electrolytes
Although increased nitric oxide helps boost the transport of more nutrients into your muscles, too much of it can lead to high levels of creatinine, potassium chloride, and urea. Decreased phosphate has also been reported with high usage. This can become a major problem if you already have any kidney or liver problems, as the supplements may affect hepatic and renal functions responsible for regulating electrolytes in your body.

​Mineral Deficiency
These supplements usually contain the amino acid histidine. When it’s combined with beta-alanine, it produces carnosine. High levels of carnosine and histidine have been linked to zinc deficiencies. Such deficiencies are known to cause impaired appetite, diarrhea, and even impotence. Young people should especially be wary of this, as deficiencies can lead to delayed sexual maturity.

Lower Dopamine Levels
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter responsible for cognition, regulating memory, sleep cycles, and motivation. It’s also the neurotransmitter that makes you feel happy! NO boosters can lead to negative effects on dopamine, causing impairments on the functions described. If you’re feeling rather unhappy or even depressed after taking these supplements, stop immediately and consult a medical professional.2

L-Arginine Side Effects

anatomyMany NO boosting products contain the amino acid, L-arginine, as it helps the body produce more of its natural nitric oxide. In order to fully understand all of the side effects that may occur when using the supplement, it’s important to look at the negative effects that this amino acid can cause on your body as well.

L-arginine is usually safe for most people when taken by either in supplement form, applied to the skin, or administered as a shot. Some common side effects include abdominal pain, allergies, bloating, diarrhea, blood abnormalities, and low blood pressure.3 Here are a list of the different side effects it has been noted to cause in different situations:

Pregnancy & Breast Feeding
Although it’s safe to consume l-arginine based supplements during the early stages of pregnancy, it’s recommended that you discontinue use during long-term pregnancy stages and during breastfeeding as not enough studies have been done to note its affects during these times.

Infant & Child Usage
L-arginine is considered safe for use in infants and children in small doses; however, it’s considered unsafe when applied in high doses. High doses in children can lead to serious health risks and even death. Chances are you’re not a child if you’re reading this, but if you have children, make sure they don’t manage to get into your bottle of supplements.

Allergies & Asthma
The amino acid has been known to cause allergic reactions, such as swelling airways making breathing more difficult. If you’re suffering from asthma, be cautious when using supplements with l-arginine.

Cirrhosis (Liver Disease)
If you’re suffering from liver problems or cirrhosis, take caution when adding l-arginine to your diet. As mentioned before, it can cause mineral deficiencies.4

Kidney Disease
If you’re suffering from kidney disease, stay away from it completely as it can cause fatal complications.

Guanidinoacetate Methyltransferase Deficiency
If you’re suffering from this condition, your body is unable to convert arginine, and similar chemicals, into creatine. This can cause complications with your condition; it’s advisable that you do not take l-arginine supplements.5

If you’re suffering from herpes, l-arginine might make it worse as some studies have reported that the chemical is required in the multiplication of the virus. It’s advisable to not take the risk.

Low Blood Pressure
As mentioned previously, these supplement may lower blood pressure. If you already suffer from low blood pressure, avoid such supplements.

Prone to Heart Attacks
If you’re prone to heart attacks, or suffered one recently, l-arginine may increase your risk of death, especially if you’re older. If you’re in any of these categories, stay away from arginine.

As l-arginine may affect blood pressure, it’s advisable to stay away from it before and after any surgeries as it may interfere with blood pressure control. If you’re scheduled for a surgery, stop taking arginine at least 2 weeks prior to your surgery.


  1. “NO Side Effects in Detail”
  2. “NO Supplement Side Effects and Benefits” Muscle Builder Source.
  3. “L-Arginine: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions and Warnings” WebMD.
  4. “Cirrhosis Definition” Mayo Clinic. 2014.
  5. “Guanidinoacetate Methyltransferase Deficiency” National Library of Medicine. 2014.
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