Posted: 10/29/2011 7:39:19 PM
Nitric oxide is considered an antianginal drug: it causes vasodilation, which can help with ischemic pain, known as angina, by decreasing the cardiac workload. By dilating (expanding) the veins, nitric oxide drugs lower arterial pressure and left ventricular filling pressure. This vasodilation does not decrease the volume of blood the heart pumps, but rather it decreases the force the heart muscle must exert to pump the same volume of blood. Nitroglycerin pills, taken sublingually (under the tongue), are used to prevent or treat acute chest pain. The nitroglycerin reacts with a sulfhydryl group (–SH) to produce nitric oxide, which eases the pain by causing vasodilation. Recent evidence suggests that nitrates may be beneficial for treatment of angina due to reduced myocardial oxygen consumption both by decreasing preload and afterload and by some direct vasodilation of coronary vessels.
Mainly for its utility as a vasodilator, NO has entered the fitness industry as an array of supplements geared towards accelerated muscle growth and prolonged stamina during endurance activities.