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Research Finds Nitrosigine May Boost Cognitive Performance in Active Adults

January 31, 2017

Long-lasting results occur with a single dose, in as quickly as 10 minutes, according to research.

Athletes know that focus and mental acuity are essential to improving their performance and avoiding injury. Now results of two placebo-controlled human studies, published in Nutrients, indicate that Nitrosigine—bonded arginine silicate (ASI) from Nutrition 21—significantly improves cognitive acuity, including processing speed and executive functioning.
 
“Enhanced cognitive acuity and focus allows athletes to adjust their ‘game’ faster than their peers,” commented nutrition researcher Douglas Kalman, PhD, the lead author of the studies. The benefits of better mental acuity are especially evident in field sports, where quick decisions and faster adaptations give competitors an edge. More efficient multi-tasking also benefits athletic performance by helping athletes save energy.
 
He added that the improvements in complex processing speed with Nitrosigine (ASI) supplementation suggest that this self-affirmed Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) nutritional ingredient may have specific benefits in sports, competitions and other athletic activities.
 
In two double-blind, placebo-controlled crossover studies, investigators used parts A and B of the Trail Making Test (TMT) to assess healthy participants’ ability to perform cognitive tasks before and after taking 1,500 mg of Nitrosigine or a placebo.
 
TMT is a widely accepted neuropsychological assessment of cognitive processing speed and executive functioning. “Faster times in TMT B are associated with enhanced visual search, speed of processing, mental flexibility and executive functions under performance demands,” explained Mr. Kalman. 
 
In the first study, which lasted 14 days, TMT B performance improved 28% over baseline, among those supplementing with Nitrosigine. In the second study, evaluating shorter-term effects, TMT B performance improved 33% among those supplementing with Nitrosigine (a decrease of 17.6 seconds over baseline time of 52.7 seconds), compared to a decrease of 4.9 seconds in the placebo group. This improvement was significant versus the placebo, p<0.05. “Effects were seen in as little as 10 minutes after dosing and there was continued benefits with ongoing use,” Mr. Kalman explained.
 
He added that enhanced cognitive acuity may offer that “edge” that many athletes seek.
 
One of Nitrosigine’s primary mechanisms of action may be its ability to boost nitric oxide (NO) levels. NO is a key factor in promoting the relaxation of smooth muscle in blood vessels, increasing blood flow to working muscles. This improved vasodilation and blood flow may also deliver more nutrients and oxygen to the brain.
 
Additional studies have shown that Nitrosigine significantly increases Afamin, a blood protein known to enhance cognitive function, by more than 50%. For athletes, this may translate to better attention, psychomotor speed, visual scanning and associated adaptations often required during competition.
 
Previous clinical studies have also shown that a single dose of Nitrosigine significantly increased arginine blood levels in as quickly as 30 minutes and lasted for up to 6 hours. Mr. Kalman noted that, “Some recent studies with arginine and arginine-based products have been shown to enhance exercise performance in athletes and active adults through an increased time to exhaustion, improved recovery and delayed muscular fatigue.”
 
Nitrosigine supplementation for four days has also been shown to significantly increase pre-workout energy levels and reduce the biomarkers associated with muscle damage. The latter may play a role in faster exercise recovery.  
 
Mr. Kalman concluded that, “Improved mental flexibility and acuity are areas of potential athletic enhancement which is deserving of further research.” 

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