Effect of Dietary Supplements Which Upregulate Nitric Oxide on Walking and Quality of Life in Patients with Peripheral Artery Disease: A Meta-Analysis

Shannon A. Wong, Aaron Drovandi, Rhondda Jones, Jonathan Golledge

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This systematic review pooled evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) on the effectiveness of dietary upregulators of nitric oxide (NO) in improving the walking and quality of life of patients with peripheral artery disease (PAD). RCTs examining the effect of dietary upregulators of NO in patients with PAD were included. The primary outcome was the maximum walking distance. Secondary outcomes were the initial claudication distance, the six-minute walking distance, quality of life, the ankle-brachial pressure index (ABI), adverse events and risk of mortality, revascularisation or amputation. Meta-analyses were performed using random effects models. The risk of bias was assessed using Cochrane’s ROB-2 tool. Leave-one-out and subgroup analyses were conducted to assess the effect of individual studies, the risk of bias and intervention type on pooled estimates. Thirty-four RCTs involving 3472 participants were included. Seven trials tested NO donors, nineteen tested antioxidants, three tested NO synthase inducers and five tested enhancers of NO availability. Overall, the dietary supplements significantly improved the initial claudication (SMD 0.34; 95%CI 0.04, 0.64; p = 0.03) but not maximum walking (SMD 0.13; 95%CI −0.17, 0.43; p = 0.39) distances. Antioxidant supplements significantly increased both the maximum walking (SMD 0.36; 95%CI 0.14, 0.59; p = 0.001) and initial claudication (SMD 0.58; 95%CI 0.26, 0.90; p < 0.001) distances. The dietary interventions did not improve the physical function domain of the Short Form-36 (SMD −0.16; 95%CI −0.32, 0.00; p = 0.38), ABI or risk of adverse events, mortality, revascularisation or amputation. Dietary NO upregulators, especially antioxidants, appear to improve the initial claudication distance in patients with PAD. Larger high-quality RCTs are needed to fully examine the benefits and risks of these treatments. PROSPERO Registration: CRD42022256653.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1859
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 29 Jun 2023


  • dietary supplements
  • nitric oxide
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • physical functional performance
  • quality of life


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