Nitric oxide works with many functions within the body, from memory and behavior to heart health and your immune system.

But how does nitric oxide work? How does a single molecule affect so many processes in the body?

Nitric Oxide: A Vital Messenger

Nitric oxide is produced naturally by our bodies, and acts as a transmitter, sending signals throughout the entire body.

It is one of the few known gaseous molecules in the body that acts this way. Known as an endothelium-derived relaxing factor (EDRF), nitric oxide is derived from the semi-essential amino acid l-arginine.

How Nitric Oxide Works with Your Blood Vessels And Muscles

It might sound crazy, but nitric oxide works with both your blood vessels and muscles. The reason your blood vessels can contract and relax is because they are surrounded by smooth muscle tissue.

The inner lining of the blood vessels, known as the endothelium, uses nitric oxide as its messenger to signal the smooth muscle tissue around the blood vessels to relax.

Nitric Oxide Moves Quickly

A single nitric oxide molecule has a lifetime of only a few seconds, so imagine how much nitric oxide your body needs to create the amount necessary to work with numerous functions within the body.

You Need More Nitric Oxide than You’re Probably Getting

More nitric oxide production requires more l-arginine and l-citrulline. These are the amino acids your body converts into nitric oxide, since there is no way to directly supplement nitric oxide.

Individuals with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, low energy levels, sexual health problems can get l-arginine from their diet, but supplementing with l-arginine and l-citrulline is the best way to raise nitric oxide levels within the body.

RELATED: Read more about the #1 Nitric Oxide supplement

Nitric Oxide Levels Decrease With Age:

As we age, our bodies slowly produce less and less nitric oxide on their own. This can be the root cause of many aging and health issues, and affects many bodily processes.

Just one of the many reasons it might be necessary to supplement l-arginine in our diets!

Nitric Oxide Is Good For Muscles Development

Nitric Oxide is a molecule of many benefits, even aside from lowering blood pressure. Because nitric oxide helps to boost blood flow, it also helps blood carry more oxygen and nutrients to the muscles more quickly. Essentially this allows the body to replenish lost energy during exercise much quicker to improve muscle endurance and in turn, improve overall development.

This is also essential to healthy muscle recovery after strenuous activity, which makes nitric oxide a great companion for body builders, athletes, or people who lead very active lives.

Burn That Sugar

During activity, your body taps into its glucose stores for energy, before resorting to fat stores.

Based on research, it seems those who supplement with l-arginine and increase the nitric oxide in their body, have a better chance of burning those fat stores more quickly, if fat loss is a goal.

This is because nitric oxide could help the muscles take in, burn, and exhaust glucose stores more quickly, and therefore resorting to fat burning sooner.

Healing with Nitric Oxide

When there is improved blood flow to carry oxygen and nutrients all over the body, the body is able to recover faster following exercise and from wounds — especially in the extremities.