Nitric Oxide, a gaseous molecule, is made up of Nitrates. Food manufacturers add this compound to prevent bacterial overgrowth and botulism. Another name for nitric oxide is nitrogen monoxide when using it as a chemical formula.
Initially, in the 1950s and 60s, the public saw nitrates as a harmful compound with many side effects. However, that changed in the 80s and 90s after scientists discovered that nitrates were part of the normal nitric oxide metabolism.
Nitric oxide is also found to be beneficial in many ways, especially linked to your health. If you want to learn more about Nitric Oxide, read further below.
What is the Role of Nitric Oxide?
Nitric acid plays an important role for various functions in the body. According to many studies, it is one of the main compounds in your body that helps expand blood vessels. The expansion of blood vessels is quite important as it ensures a healthy supply of blood through all your veins. You also prevent many diseases from occurring.
Nitric Oxide is also said to help in athletics as the oxide can help increase your overall performance. When there is appropriate blood flow and just the right amount of oxygen delivery in the muscles, the recovery rate increases. This is beneficial considering how injuries are very common among athletes. With the help of nitric oxide, you put less pressure on your skeletal muscles and heart, effectively reducing the tendency of muscle soreness.
How is Nitric Oxide Made?
The human body produces nitric oxide in different ways. One of the main ways is through Amino Acid L-arginine. Combined with the enzyme oxide synthase and amino acid, you get nitric oxide. The sweat nitrates that form on the skin can help synthesize nitrates, as well as the dietary nitrates present in the food we eat.
Most dietary nitrates derive from bacon and leafy greens. This is one of the reasons vegetarians are less prone to different cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Nitric oxide encourages proper blood flow of oxygen and nutrients through the vessels. This, in turn, increases your mitochondrial and brain function preventing different conditions and diseases.
The Importance of Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is very important for humans to fight off contaminants and harmful substances we encounter in everyday life. The more we age, the less nitric oxide our bodies produce. This could be linked to insufficient sleep and chronic stress, which are the few common things every adult experiences. These two factors limit the production of nitric oxide in the body, along with the constant use of mouthwash.
When you use an antiseptic rinse, you’re killing off all the good bacteria that are present in your mouth as well. It is important to have these good bacteria as it helps reduce dietary nitrates to nitrates presenting in nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide is not a long-lasting molecule. Once it forms, your body makes use of it. Hence, you need to ensure constant production of Nitric Oxide in your body.
The Benefits of Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide offers different benefits, and it is important to know these if you really want to understand the production of Nitric Oxide and what it has to do with you.
Mentioned below are all the benefits of Nitric Oxide:
- Helps Lower Blood Pressure – If you’re struggling with constant high blood pressure levels, then it could be the result of low nitric oxide levels in your body. Nitric Oxide helps lower blood pressure. When you consistently face high blood pressure, the force that it comes with it puts too much pressure on the arteries, making way for many diseases.
Fruits can help in decreasing high blood pressure levels. Many researchers believe that certain compounds, such as nitrates are present in fruits, and these may help decrease high blood pressure. You will find higher amounts of nitrates in greens, beetroots, and spinach. Consuming this as a form of nitrates automatically converts into nitric oxide in turn allowing your blood vessels to calm down, lowering high blood pressure levels.
- May Help With Type 2 Diabetes – Low nitric oxide production can lead to poor blood vessel health. When this happens, other health conditions can ensue, such as heart diseases, high blood pressure, and kidney diseases. Nitric oxide supplements help prevent different diseases, and at the same time, may help alleviate diabetes.
A boost in nitric oxide also means an increase in insulin sensitivity levels, which allows better blood sugar control. Of course, further research is still necessary to see the pattern using L-arginine as well.
- Encourages Good Exercise Performance – As mentioned earlier, nitric oxide helps widen the blood vessels. When blood vessels dilate, it allows efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles. This comes in handy when exercising. Therefore, many athletes tend to take nitric oxide supplements.
They contain different ingredients that can help increase nitric oxide levels, including L-citrulline and amino acids. According to different studies, L-arginine is very effective in improving your physical exercise performance, as this is metabolized before it reaches your bloodstream.
- May Prevent Muscle Soreness – While citrulline malate, a form of L-citrulline, helps increase the production of nitric oxide, it also aids in addressing muscle soreness. Muscles soreness can get very uncomfortable and painful, especially after exercising for a long period of time. The soreness happens usually due to delayed-onset muscle soreness and is experienced 24-72 hours after heavy exercise.
What Causes Nitric Oxide Deficiency?
Nitric oxide deficiency is very common in people, especially those who are experiencing different diseases. Some of the main diseases that contribute to the deficiency of nitric oxide are high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease. Congenital abnormalities also cause this deficiency such as the Hirschsprung disease and achalasia cardia.
What Causes Excessive Nitric Oxide Production?
By consuming food rich in nitrates, the level of nitric oxide gradually increases. However, high levels of nitric oxide aren’t necessarily healthy. As nitric oxide is released from the cerebral vasculature, nerve endings, and brain tissue it may damage your brain cells and cause neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, and many more. It may also lead to long-lasting headaches and migraines.
How to Naturally Improve the Production of Nitric Oxide in Your Body?
Considering its benefits, you should consider improving your body’s levels of nitric oxide.
Mentioned below are a few ways you can do that:
- Consume Unsaturated Omega 3 Fatty Acids – Omega 3 fatty acids help your vascular health by reducing inflammation levels in your body. When you experience high inflammation, this affects the blood vessels and may cause strokes and heart diseases.
- Eat More Greens – Vegetables such as spinach, beetroot, celery, arugula, and lettuce come with high levels of nitrates. When you consume this food regularly, the nitric oxide levels increase as the nitrate converts.
- Engage in More Exercise – Exercising is a very important activity that helps promote overall good health and well-being. When you engage in physical exercise regularly, nitric oxide production greatly increases. The exercises don’t have to be hardcore, even simple swimming, walking, running, and cycling will do.
- Consume Nitric Oxide Supplements – Nitric Oxide levels are usually the lowest in your body at night, which is why it is important to take supplements before you sleep. The supplements don’t contain nitric oxide, but rather ingredients such as amino acids and L-arginine, which promote adequate levels of nitric oxide in your body.
- Include More Proteins in Your Diet – It is important to consume more protein. It contains amino acids that promote the high production of nitric oxide. You can also take soy protein as this contains all the 9 essential types of amino acids without the saturated fat.
As you can see in this article, Nitric Oxide is a very effective molecule and is required to prevent different diseases and illnesses. Hopefully, with the help of this article, you’ll work on maintaining your Nitric Oxide levels. It offers numerous benefits, so why not give your health a boost with some of the above-mentioned tips.