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J Strength Cond Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):1680-7. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e318236d081.

Effects of 2-nitrooxy ethyl 2-amino 3-methylbutanoate gel on resistance exercise performance and blood nitrate/nitrite in resistance trained men.

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Cardiorespiratory/Metabolic Laboratory, The University of Memphis, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.


Nitric oxide dietary supplements are popular within the sport community. Our recent work involving the oral intake of 2-nitrooxy ethyl 2-amino 3-methylbutanoate demonstrated an approximately 6.7% increase in circulating nitrate/nitrite. However, no measures of exercise performance were obtained. The present study used a topical form of this molecule to determine the impact on exercise performance and blood nitrate/nitrite. Fourteen resistance trained men (24 ± 1 years old) reported to the laboratory on 2 occasions to undergo exercise testing, which consisted of arm curl isometric force and muscular endurance (3 sets to fatigue using 80, 65, and 50% of 1 repetition maximum [1RM]: total of 9 sets). The gel (2-nitrooxy ethyl 2-amino 3-methylbutanoate; mixed in tea tree oil) or placebo (tea tree oil) was applied topically by the subjects for 7 days before each test day, with 7-10 days separating the randomly ordered conditions. Blood samples, arm circumference, and perceived "muscle pump" were taken before and immediately after exercise on both test days. The heart rate and perceived exertion were measured after each set. No statistically significant differences were noted between conditions for performance variables (p > 0.05). However, when using a load of 50% of 1RM, 6.2% more repetitions were performed when using the gel as compared with when using the placebo; 19.9% more repetitions were performed by 8 subjects noted to be "responders" to gel treatment. Blood lactate and muscle pump significantly increased with exercise (p < 0.0001) but were not different between conditions (p > 0.05). Minimal change was noted in nitrate/nitrite, and the heart rate and perceived exertion were nearly identical between conditions (p > 0.05). These findings indicate that 2-nitrooxy ethyl 2-amino 3-methylbutanoate gel has a modest (6.2%), nonstatistically significant effect on exercise performance, in particular when using a load of 50% 1RM-with greater benefit noted in selected individuals. Studies inclusive of a larger sample size are needed to extend these initial findings.

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