Do Vasodilation Supplements & Muscle Pumps Help Build Muscle?

Do Vasodilation Supplements & Muscle Pumps Help Build Muscle?

Vasodilation, also known as vasodilatation, refers to the widening of blood vessels. When vasodilation occurs, there is an increase in blood flow due to a lessening of vascular resistance.

Think of blood vessels as being similar to a highway during rush hour. The more lanes you have open, the easier it is for traffic to flow from point A to point B. Additional lanes not only allow for an increase in average speed per car (in this case human blood), but also create an environment where more traffic volume can pass through during any given time period (in this case, vasodilation allows for a greater flow of blood volume).

So what does this mean for muscle building and gym performance?

This increase in blood flow and blood volume provides several noteworthy benefits:
  • Improved Muscle Pumps - An increase in blood flow to muscle cells will brute force a greater degree of intracellular pressure, resulting in a larger cell volume and improved muscle pumps.
  • Improved Nutrient Delivery - Blood delivers vital nutrients to muscle cells. An increase in blood flow and nutrient delivery allows for improved performance, recovery and endurance.
  • Improved Oxygen Delivery - An increase in oxygen delivery yields improved performance, cell recovery and muscle endurance.
  • Improved Waste Removal - Improved blood flow also yields a faster removal of cellular waste such as lactic acid, urea and carbon dioxide. This allows the potential to push sets and workouts harder, and maybe even get that extra rep or two.
  • Improve Hormone Transport - Who doesn't want more muscle building catalysts such as testosterone, growth hormone and IGF-1 delivered to muscle cells during a workout? I do.
  • Improved Body Temperature Regulation - Stay cooler and feel better. Proper body temperature regulation will allow for better hydration and potentially better performance.
When looked at in their entirety, this is a substantial battery of potential workout-improving benefits. These benefits should appeal to any musclehead looking to amp up their gym efforts and gains.

Do Muscle Pumps Actually Build Muscle?

That is the question.

For many years I thought muscle pumps were a joke. I belived "the pump" was just some sort of hyped broscience nonsense, only popular because of Arnold Schwarzenegger. Then, several years ago, I stumbled upon information that make me rethink my position.

I found that the belief that muscle pumps were merely cosmetic and temporary was outdated and shortsighted.

An engorged and hydrated muscle cell creates an optimal environment for both muscle protein synthesis and the inhibition of muscle protein breakdown. This is research-backed and not broscience nonsense.

Hypertrophy, or the muscle building process, is strongly dependent upon protein balance. Therefore, when a muscle pump increases muscle protein synthesis while working to stave off muscle protein degradation, it creates an environment that is more conducive to the muscle building process.

Additionally, the fluid and subsequent size increase that a muscle cell experiences elicits a secondary anabolic response. This unusual size increase is seen as a threat to muscle cell integrity. The body responds in an appropriate manner: by attempting to fortify the cell's ultrastructure.

It goes without saying that a lifter does not need a vasodilation supplement to elicit a muscle pump. Still, vasodilators work. They enhance muscle pumps, yielding a greater potential anabolic response.
"In summary, the results of our study demonstrate that net protein synthesis during amino acid administration can be doubled by previous performance of heavy resistance exercise. Moreover, the data suggest a link between the stimulation of protein synthesis after exercise and an acceleration in amino acid transport. The greater rate of transport after exercise may be due to the increase in blood flow." [1]
Marc Lobliner Deadlifting

Popular Vasodilation Supplement Ingredients Found in Pre-Workouts

We have established that muscle pumps and vasodilation can indeed assist the muscle building process. Now let's look at a few popular vasodilators found in pre-workout supplements.


Existing research on taurine indicates that is does indeed improve blood flow. For this reason, it has become a very popular pre-workout supplement ingredient.

A recent study on men under the age of 30 found that a daily 1500 mgs of taurine was able to improve abnormal blood vessel lining issues. [2] There was an obvious and noteable improvement in the widening of blood vessels.

For the lifter and athlete, this increased level of vasodilation will improve blood flow and muscle pumps.


Nitrosigine, pronounced ni-trah-sa-jeen, may just be the ultimate pre-workout ingredient. In the United States, Nutrition 21 owns the trademark. MTS Nutrition is one of the few companies that has been granted the right to use nitrosigine. It can be found in MTS Vasky, a non-stim pre-workout.

From Nick Ludlow's feature on nitrosigine:

"Nitrosigine bonds bioavailable forms of arginine and silicon to create an effective nitric oxide and silicon blood level booster. When consumed orally in a daily 750mg to 1500mg dose, it can increase vasodilation and cardiovascular health as well as positively impact health markers indicating cardiovascular, renal, and metabolic dysfunction. [4]

Unlike many supplements where a tolerance quickly builds, Nitrosigine improves in effectiveness when used daily over continuous period of time."

Combining Vasodilation Ingredients With Cell Volumizers

Vasodilators such as nitrosigine and taurine can be combined with cell volumizers such as creatine and HydroMax glycerol to further hydrate muscle cells and increase muscle pumps.

Not only this, but ingredients such as creatine and glycerol also improve workout energy. This allows you to workout harder and longer, outputting more power and weight volume per session.


Creatine is hands down the king of muscle building supplementation. It is well-researched and proven to be effective for set endurance, power output, and muscle cell volumization.

Creatine directly pulls water into muscle cells. As we established earlier, this cellular supersaturation creates an exceptional environment for hypertrophy due to heightened muscle protein synthesis rates. Creatine also expands muscle cells, creating intense muscle pumps.

Beta-alanine has been shown to amplify the benefits of creatine supplementation. Therefore, stacking creatine with beta-alanine is a wise move.

HydroMax Glycerol

Considered by many to be the cutting edge of energy and pump supplements, HydroMax glycerol works to improve muscle cell hydration, workout endurance and - of course - muscle pumps.

From Hydromax Glycerol: The Ultimate Non-Stim Pre-Workout Ingredient by Nick Ludlow:

"Consuming 0.7 to 2g of glycerol increases plasma and intramuscular volume, which increases muscle size during physical activity. [3] Bodybuilders know this as ?the pump?; stacking HydroMax with weightlifting sets in the 8 to 15 repetition range is a recipe for an exceptional pump. Pre- and intra-workouts containing HydroMax typically include a dosage in this 0.7 to 2g range."

Stacking Vasky - A Pre-Workout Combination Perfect for Muscle Building

Now let's put this all together. A complete pre-workout protocol geared towards muscle building (and performance), should include:
  • Taurine (in Vasky) - Vasodilation and muscle pumps
  • Nitrosigine (in Vasky) - Vasodilation and muscle pumps
  • Creatine (in some preworouts, or can be added separately) - Muscle pumps, workout power and energy
  • HydroMax Glycerol (in Vasky) - Muscle pumps and cellular energy
MTS Vasky contains taurine, nitrosigine and HydroMax glycerol. Because it is unflavored, Vasky can be added to any existing pre-workout to amplify its benefits. Stack this with MTS Creapure Creatine and your favorite stimulant based preworkout (like MTS Ruckus) for insane workouts.

1) Biolo, G. An abundant supply of amino acids enhances the metabolic effect of exercise on muscle protein, Am. J. Physiol. 273 (Endocrinol. Metab. 36): El22-E129, 1997
2) ?Two Weeks Taurine Supplementation Reverses Endothelial Dysfunction in Young Male Type 1 Diabetics. ? PubMed ? NCBI.? National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 May 2015.
3) Patlar, Suleyman, Hasan Yalçin, and Ekrem Boyali. ?The Effect of Glycerol Supplements on Aerobic and Anaerobic Performance of Athletes and Sedentary Subjects.? Journal of Human Kinetics 34 (2012): 69?79. PMC.
4) James Komorowski, Sara Rood-Ojalvo, and Ahmed El-Sohemy. Arginine Silicate Supplementation Decreases Markers of Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Dysfunction and Increases Markers of Vasodilation and Cardiovascular Health in Healthy Adult Males. FASEB J April 2015 29:748.2short.
5) "Ergogenic Effects of Betaine Supplementation on Strength and Power Performance." PubMed Central (PMC). N.p., n.d. Web. 10 July 2015.
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