13 Jan 2020
Understanding the Value of Nitric Oxide to Mixed Martial Arts Fighters

If you’re an athlete, or a combat sports or mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter in particular, chances are you’ve stumbled upon or heard about nitric oxide. You’ve also probably had doubts regarding adding this to your daily supplement intake.

We all know or — at the very least — are familiar with the strict guidelines of various governing bodies in the sport. The Stats Zone provided an in-depth look on doping in MMA, underlining how organizations such as the US Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) enforces random tests to put an end to the persistent use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs). Basically, it highlighted a stark contrast in terms of the fight record of guilty parties before and after they were flagged and subsequently sanctioned.

Having said this, should you be concerned about taking nitric oxide? In this article, we’ll delve into the qualities of this supplement, and why you should consider incorporating it into your training regimen.

Nitric Oxide in a Nutshell

Nitric oxide, more commonly known as NO, is a byproduct of many actions in the environment. It’s in the air we breathe, as well as in the electrical discharges from occurrences such as thunder and lightning storms. 

This molecule has extremely vital functions in our bodies, both physically and mentally. Let’s clear the air first: the nitrates in nitric oxide supplements are different from those in processed meats. Healthline used vegetables as examples of good sources of nitrates for the body. The idea is that when we consume food like arugula, celery, and spinach, just to name a few, nitrate compounds are converted into nitric oxide, which offers a wide range of benefits related to heart health and exercise performance.

How Nitric Oxide Helps MMA Athletes

Having good nitrates in your system facilitates better delivery of nutrients to your bloodstream, so you can maintain a consistent level of performance all throughout an activity. Jane Adamson’s article on 'The Benefits of Nitric Oxide for Climbers' also pointed out how it allows oxygen to run smoothly in the body, also improving blood circulation in the process. In short, increasing your nitric oxide level will do wonders for your endurance.

Another advantage of nitric oxide is that it will improve your recovery rate, memory, and learning, which helps MMA fighters who are undergoing concussion protocol. Some months ago, a piece on the ‘Guideline for Concussion in Mixed Martial Arts’ discussed the usual recovery time for athletes, which usually depends on the severity of the injury and their age group. In most cases, it takes somewhere between seven to 10 days' worth of rest for adults, and longer for minors.

Other Natural Sources

If you’re still iffy about using nitric oxide supplements, know that there are a lot of natural sources out there. Aside from the aforementioned vegetables, you can get it from fruits like bananas, watermelons, and strawberries, nuts such as walnuts and pistachios, dark chocolates, and many more. There are tons of sources out there — you just have to do your research.


Ultimately, nitric oxide is an excellent supplement for your MMA training regimen and post-fight recovery routine. In the fitness world, it can be somewhat difficult to appreciate nutrients beyond the basic building blocks like protein. However, by looking at it from an endurance and recovery perspective, we can see how nitric oxide can naturally elevate an MMA fighter’s performance both under and away from the spotlight.