top of page

"Nitric oxide"

So yesterday I mentioned N-O production. Well, let's break it down today so you better understand its function.

"Nitric oxide" is produced by nearly every type of cell in the human body and one of the most important molecules for blood vessel health. It's a 'vasodilator", meaning it "relaxes" the inner muscles of your blood vessels causing the vessels to widen. Therefore, "nitric oxide" "increases" blood flow and lowers blood pressure.

Okay . . . so that's the good side of "NO" . . . But, there's a very fine line you need to walk with "nitric oxide".

Now, a deficiency of "nitric oxide" can "lead" to disease as well as - too much "nitric oxide can "cause" disease. This may damage brain cells leading to neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease, Huntington disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

So as I said . . . this is a fine line we must walk . . . exercise is one of the best ways to regulate NO, due to the natural expansion of the blood vessels, increasing blood flow and decreasing plaque growth and blood clotting.

Okay . . . so you ask . . . how does the body produce "nitric oxide"? Well . . . in the body, the enzyme "nitric oxide synthase" (NOS) produces "nitric oxide" from the amino acid "arginine". Just another reason amino acids are "so" important to our optimal health.

So how do we regulate "NO"? First, let's talk about an "NO" deficiency because with our Western diet that's where most of us are.

Being sedentary leads to less nitric oxide production because the body is not stimulating the production. And exercise and eating foods that are "LOW" in "NITRATES" (we spoke of them yesterday). stimulate this production. (Nitrates lead to decreased "nitric oxide" production).

So what good foods can we eat to increase our nitric oxide?

Remember I said yesterday we need to eat more fruit and "veggies"? Well, here are just a few nitric oxide producing elements: beets, garlic, leafy greens, citrus fruit, pomegranate, nuts and seeds.

In fact . . . walnuts are a great source of nitric oxide and vitamin E, which is good for a strong immunity as well as healthy skin and eyes. The high amount of arginine in walnuts converts into nitric oxide which keeps blood vessels running freely.