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.
Okay . . . so now let's flip the conversation . . . what if we have too much "NO"? I mentioned that studies suggest that Alzheimer's, dementia and Parkinson's are all related to too much NO. But this is my take on that . . .
I don't believe it's actually "too" much nitric oxide . . . but rather not a sufficient "flow" of nitric oxide. As we get older and abuse our body with this Western diet . . . our blood doesn't flow through our veins as it used to and "inflammation" throughout the body becomes an issue. Therefore, not allowing nitric oxide to do its job. Science states that these disease of dementia have shown high levels of "nitric oxide" in the brain.
So my question to science is this . . . is it really that the body is producing too much nitric oxide or is it just that the nitric oxide that is produced is getting stuck in the brain causing an overload of inflammatory response. You see . . . when too much NO is released from the cerebral vasculature, brain tissue and nerve endings, it may cause headache and migraines. And research has found a strong association between experiencing migraine attacks and increased risk of developing dementia, particularly Alzheimer's disease.
Migraines and dementia are related to sluggish blood flow. So my thought is this . . . if we reduce the amount of inflammatories response in the brain . . . can we reduce the pile up of NO and ultimately reduce effects or chance of get migraines and any form of dementia?
We'll talk more about this tomorrow.
As always, feel free to contact me here.