Review Nutrition Pre-Workout

Cellucor NO3 Chrome Review (2024)

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Nitric oxide stimulators are widely available throughout the supplement industry, marketed to athletes as improving muscular performance and augmenting training adaptations. Several types exist with varying levels of efficacy throughout research.

Our Cellucor NO3 Chrome review looks at a Nitric Oxide booster that contains Arginine Nitrate as the main ingredient. We’ve also examined possible NO3 Chrome side effects and provided a brief comparison to some competitors below.

cellucor no3 chrome review

Cellucor NO3 Chrome Review Quick Summary

Cellucor NO3 Chrome

Cellucor NO3 Chrome
  • Item Form: Capsules
  • Flavor: Unflavored
  • Caffeine (mg): None
  • Special Ingredients:
    • 1.25 grams Arginine Nitrate (NO3-T)
    • 750 mg Extreme Vascularity Complex (Arginine Silicate, Citrulline Malate, Grape Seed Extract)
    • 83 mg Vitamin C
  • Package Information:
    • Made in the USA 
    • Stimulant Free
  • Serving Size: 3 capsules 
  • Price per serving: $1.10
  • Company Founded: 2009
  • Recommended by Athletes: Demi Bagby, Scott Mathison, Justin fields

Founded in 2009, Cellucor aims to deliver high-quality supplements using effective doses that taste great for all levels of athletes. The brand wants to become a small part of your journey, making effective products to help you evolve and improve.

The Cellucor NO3 Chrome contains 1.25 grams of Arginine Nitrate (NO3-T) and a 750mg extreme vascularity complex consisting of Arginine Silicate, Citrulline Malate, and Grape Seed Extract. Other ingredients include 83 mg of Vitamin C as Calcium Ascorbate.

cellucor no3 instagram
Photo by @cellucor

Cellucor has marketed the NO3 Chrome nitric oxide pump amplifier as a stimulant-free supplement with no caffeine or other stimulants. Each tub contains 90 capsules which gives you a 30-day supply when using the suggested three capsules a day. Each serving costs $1.10, with the subscribe and save option giving you 30% off which brings the price per serving down to $0.77.

36.5 EXPERT SCORE

Cellucor has marketed the NO3 Chrome nitric oxide pump amplifier as a stimulant-free supplement with no caffeine or other stimulants.


Ingredient Breakdown:0
Stimulation:0
Nutrition Label Transparency:0
Value for Money:0

Positives:

  • The NO3 Chrome can be taken alongside a pre-workout
  • Stimulant free allowing you to consume it at any point in the day
  • Subscribe and save option gives you 30% off and free shipping
  • Added vitamin C

Could be better:

  • The extreme vascularity complex lists a proprietary blend
  • Only 1 tub size is available
  • More research is needed into the main ingredients

Who and What is the Cellucor NO3 Chrome For?

Nitric Oxide (NO) plays several important roles in the functioning of the human body, including blood flow, mitochondrial respiration, platelet function, and regulating vasodilation. 

In the body, endogenous nitric oxide is generated via the nitric oxide synthase (NOS) pathway and a NOS-independent pathway, which relies on NO precursors for production.

These Nitric Oxide precursors are marketed as nitric oxide boosters and sold as stand-alone dietary supplements or as part of pre-workouts. The most common ones include L-arginine and L-citrulline.  

many capsules on the table

NO-mediated increases in blood flow are thought to augment mechanisms contributing to muscular performance, hypertrophy, and muscular strength. These mainly relate to improvements in oxygen and nutrition delivery to the working muscles

The NO3 chrome contains arginine nitrate which combines L-arginine and nitrate. No conclusive benefits have been found with arginine supplementation alone. 

With this, NO boosters such as the NO3 Chrome may be most useful for the following populations:

  • Athletes looking to enhance strength performance
  • Athletes wanting to improve recovery by reducing DOMS following a workout 
  • Recreational gym goers looking for an enhanced pump when working out 
  • As an addition to other pre-workout ingredients such as other NO precursors 
  • Older populations wanting to reduce blood pressure and arterial stiffness 
  • Old populations looking for improvements in erectile function

Whilst the beneficial effects of different arginine types are good on paper, in reality, they’re subjected to significant catabolism following oral intake which leads to poor bioavailability.

Research looking at the use of L-citrulline and nitrates alone is more promising, meaning that the effect of NO precursors may show more favorable effects on vascular and muscle function when combined. Citrulline has far more evidence showing improvements on performance and recovery with daily supplementation.

Cellucor NO3 Chrome Review

The points below cover the main aspects to focus on when deciding if the Cellucor Nitric Oxide supplement is suitable for you. We’ve used our team of in-house experts to research the different components of the NO3 Chrome capsules to give you a detailed insight.

1. Ingredient Breakdown

The main ingredient is Arginine Nitrate which is marketed as a Nitric Oxide precursor thought to increase NO synthesis and improve vascular function. The 1.25-gram dosage is a rather small amount compared to the much bigger doses used in studies that have failed to find meaningful differences in markers of performance with daily supplementation. It should be noted that studies looking at the effects of nitrates alone are more promising, with most of them looking at performance after ingestion of L-Arginine alone failing to show improvements in performance.

Cellucor has included 83 mg of Vitamin C as Calcium Ascorbate which equates to 92% of your DRV. This is a good addition from Cellucor, with Vitamin C hypothesized to improve the effects of Arginine by increasing co-factors needed to synthesize NO.

athlete taking pre-workout capsule

The extreme vascularity complex includes Citrulline Malate which has far more promising research as an NO precursor. Unfortunately, the total amount listed would still be under the scientifically relevant dosage so could be used as more of a top-up alongside a normal Citrulline Malate supplement.

2. Stimulation

The Cellucor NO3 Chrome capsules are stimulant-free which makes them suitable for consumption at any point in the day without having to worry about sleep issues or possible small side effects after taking.

This makes the NO3 Chrome a good supplement for those who prefer no caffeine or want to supplement with an NO precursor later at night.

3. Nutrition Label Transparency

The labeling used by Cellucor on their NO3 Chrome supplement is rather hit-and-miss when it comes to nutritional breakdown. At the top of the table, Cellucor provides the amount and type of Arginine and Vitamin C which are 2 of the 3 main ingredients.

Unfortunately, the extreme vascularity complex is listed as a proprietary blend which means Cellucor only provides the total amount of the listed ingredients rather than the individual quantities. This means you’re unable to know the amount of each ingredient and therefore whether or not they are included at efficacious doses. 

athlete taking capsule

In terms of third-party testing, the Chrome NO3 is untested which means the purity of each ingredient and exact ingredient combinations can’t be confirmed. This makes the Chrome NO3 unsuitable for tested performance athletes.

4. Value for Money

The Cellucor NO3 Chrome offers good value for money with one serving costing $1.10. With the subscribe and save option, Cellucor offers 30% off which brings the price per serving down to just $0.77 and includes free shipping. The subscribe and save option is a great deal from Cellucor if you’re happy to commit to an ongoing monthly supply. 

5. Overall Opinion

When you consider the main ingredient doses and relevant scientific research showing real-life performance applications, the NO3 Chrome capsules need more research before we can really get behind them. A potential use may be alongside a pre-workout powder and as a good source of vitamin C that also contains some Citrulline Malate. 

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How Do you Use The Cellucor NO3 Chrome?

In terms of dosage, studies looking at the beneficial effects of arginine supplementation have used a variety of dosing protocols depending on what it’s being used for.

  • L-arginine has been shown to decrease blood flow in studies using >4 grams per day
  • Studies using 6-10 grams of L-arginine per day have failed to show increases in NO, muscle protein synthesis, and strength performance
view on capsule

Research looking at the effects of L-arginine on erectile dysfunction has shown improvement in symptoms with 1.5-5 grams per day.

With this, the 1.25-gram dose used in the NO3 Chrome appears to be on the low side even with a double dosage. For erectile dysfunction, the NO3 chrome may have some applications.

For these reasons, we would suggest taking the suggested NO3 Chrome dosage with other NO precursors to combine the possible beneficial effects and increase the overall effectiveness. 

*This should be done under the guidance of a sports nutritionist or health professional who can work with you to figure out the correct and safe doses.   

In terms of side effects, arginine does appear to be well tolerated even in much higher doses. Mild side effects may include headaches, nausea, diarrhea, and heart palpitations. 

Cellucor NO3 Chrome Alternatives

1. Cellucor NO3 Chrome vs Kaged

Kaged Pre-Kaged Pre-workout

pre-kaged pre-workout
  • Serving Size: 1 scoop (28.7 g)
  • Servings per Container: about 20
  • Calories per Serving: 20
  • Total Carbohydrate per Serving: 4g
  • Recommended By AthletesFarren MorganMarvin Achi

The Kaged Pre-Kaged Pre-workout is an alternative stim-free Pre-workout option with 6.5 grams of L-Citrulline as the main NO-precursor. Compared to the Arginine in the NO3 Chrome, Citrulline has much more promising research and is also included above the research-backed dose. 

pre-kaged powder

Other notable ingredients include BCAAs, Beta-alanine, and Creatine. The Kaged Pre comes as a powder with 20 servings in each tub but does cost significantly more than the Chrome NO3 at around $2.25 a serving. 

2. Cellucor NO3 Chrome vs Transparent Labs

Transparent Labs Pre-workout

transparent labs stim free

The Transparent Labs Pre-workout is another stim-free pre-workout with 8 grams of Citrulline Malate, 4 grams of Beta-alanine, and 2.5 grams of Betaine. These are all excellent amounts of popular pre-workout compounds which are backed by scientific research. 

Again, compared to the NO3 Chrome, the Transparent Labs Pre-workout costs more at $1.67 per serving which when you compare the ingredients still offers good value for money. Transparent Labs also always third-party test their ingredients which is a big plus if buying their pre-workout. 

Conclusion

The Cellucor NO3 Chrome capsules are marketed as pump enhancers which when looking at the ingredients, do show some promise with some extra additions. 

Future formulations should focus on adding more Citrulline malate and third-party test the ingredients to improve the product quality. With this, the price point could be changed slightly to absorb the extra cost.

What do you think of the Cellucor NO3 Chrome reviews we’ve done above? Do you think it’s worth purchasing and why? Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments box. 

Also read:

References:

  1. Raul Bescós, Antoni Sureda, Joseph A. Tur, Antoni Pons, “The effect of nitric-oxide-related supplements on human performance,” Journal of Sports Medicine 42, no.2 (2012):99-117. doi:10.2165/11596860-000000000-00000
  2. Adam M. Gonzalez, Jeremy R. Townsend, Anthony G. Pinzone, Jay R. Hoffman, “Supplementation with Nitric Oxide Precursors for Strength Performance: A Review of the Current Literature,” Nutrients 15, no.3 (2023):660. doi:10.3390/nu15030660
  3. Matteo Tosato, Riccardo Calvani, Anna Picca, Francesca Ciciarello, Vincenzo Galluzzo, Helio Jose Coelho-Junior, Angela Di Giorgio, Clara Di Mario, Jacopo Gervasoni, Elisa Gremese, Paola M. Leone, Antonio Nesci, Anna M. Paglionico, Angelo Santoliquido, Luca Santoro, Lavinia Santucci, Barbara Tolusso, Andrea Urbani, Federico Marini, Emanuele Marzetti, Francesco Landi, “Effects of l-Arginine Plus Vitamin C Supplementation on Physical Performance, Endothelial Function, and Persistent Fatigue in Adults with Long COVID: A Single-Blind Randomized Controlled Trial,” Nutrients 14, no.23 (2022):4984. doi:10.3390/nu14234984
  4. Farideh Shiraseb, Omid Asbaghi, Reza Bagheri, Alexei Wong, Arturo Figueroa, Khadijeh Mirzaei, “Effect of l-Arginine Supplementation on Blood Pressure in Adults: A Systematic Review and Dose-Response Meta-analysis of Randomized Clinical Trials,” Advances in Nutrition 13, no.4 (2022):1226-1242. doi:10.1093/advances/nmab155
  5. Jason E. Tang, Paul J. Lysecki, Joshua J. Manolakos, Maureen J. MacDonald, Mark A. Tarnopolsky, Stuart M. Phillips, “Bolus arginine supplementation affects neither muscle blood flow nor muscle protein synthesis in young men at rest or after resistance exercise,” Journal of Nutrition 141, no.2 (2011):195-200. doi:10.3945/jn.110.130138
  6. Hye C. Rhim, Min S. Kim, Young-Jin Park, Woo S Choi, Hyoung K. Park, Hyeong G. Kim, Aram Kim, Sung H. Paick, “The Potential Role of Arginine Supplements on Erectile Dysfunction: A Systemic Review and Meta-Analysis,” The Journal of Sexual Medicine 17, no.3 (2020):223-234. doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2018.12.002
  7. Photos made by Torokhtiy Media Team.

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All products we select are primarily approved and tested by the Olympic Weightlifting Champion Oleksii Torokhtiy. Under his guidance, we provide honest and reasonable assessments of the products we review by checking their characteristics, packaging, design, comfort and durability features, and general product rating. We select products from only high-quality and trusted sports brands, thus vouching for their quality.

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Camila Parente Santos

Author: Camila Parente Santos
Sports Nutritionist

Experience: 7 years

Camila has worked as a Nutritionist for 7 years. In addition to being a nutritionist, she is an amateur weightlifting athlete for 2 years. Camila has experience at Flamengo’s football base and in a food supplement company and currently provides services at a clinic. At the moment she is coursing a postgraduate study in Sports Nutrition.

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