Nitrate supplementation potentially dangerous (study)

Nitrate supplementation potentially dangerous (study)
by Anthony Roberts

Nitrates: the stuff in hot-dogs that makes them so unhealthy, is the stuff bodybuilders are putting in their bodies to get a better pump. Of course, neither this information is new, nor is this study, but I think it warrants checking out, especially if you’re taking any of these products (and even more so if you’re deluding yourself into thinking that they’re anabolic).

A group of researchers from the United Kingdom think these supplements can be dangerous, and are morally questionable for supplement companies to sell. I can’t help but agree, although I would add that I doubt the current crop of N.O. – stimulating ingredients will actually do anything for muscle growth or the development of strength. And of course, it’s highly shocking that a paper disputing the safety of nutritional products sold by companies who employ many of the International Society of Sports Nutrition’s board members would ever see the light of day in their own journal…but lo and behold, that’s where I picked up my copy…

Here’s the research from our friends across the pond:


Background: Considerable interest has been shown by athletes and scientists in the potential for nitric oxide and associated vasodilators to enhance performance. This study aims to explore potential misuse of vasodilators by the athletes, and to highlight the growing concern over these agents.
Methods: Retrospective analyses of anonymous inquiries recorded in the Drug Information DatabaseTM (DIDTM) between January 2006 and June 2008 (inclusive). In this 30-month period, the DIDTM recorded 198,023 inquiries, of which 118,724 were UK Licensed Pharmaceutical products with a further 79,299 inquiries made for substance not found in the database.

Results: Phosphodiesterase type 5 (PDE-5) inhibitors, dominated by Viagra®, ranked 16th among the substance groups. The proportion of the inquiries made regarding PDE-5 inhibitors, especially in comparison to antibiotics, painkillers or alcohol, appears to be above the level that would normally be expected from medical need. No significant change in the months leading up to the Beijing Olympics was observed. On the contrary, the Nitric/Nitrate group showed a notable increase between 2006-2007 and 2008, suggesting a potential increase in interest in using nitric oxide among athletes.

Conclusions: With patents recently filed for the use of agents containing sodium nitrite/nitrate to enhance blood flow for performance enhancement in sport, coupled with anecdotal evidence from internet athlete forums and media, there is a concern that athletes may endanger their health by using vasodilators to enhance athletic performance. PDE- 5 inhibitors or chemicals in the nitrate/nitrate group are currently not prohibited or tested for by the doping control agencies but some are highly dangerous to health and can lead to cardiovascular collapse, coma and death. Its promotion among athletes as a performance enhancing supplement is ethically and medically questionable.

* AndreaPetro?czi and DeclanPNaughton, Authors.


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