Nitric Oxide and Health

What is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide is a chemical messenger which cannot be stored and can rapidly diffuse across cell membranes to act at remote sites in the body; it is a very important signaling molecule . It is unstable so it is converted to nitrites and nitrates within 10 seconds. It is present in most living organisms and is made by many different cells like endothelial, nerve and white blood cells and plays a very important role in many processes in the body. Its major function is the protection of all the blood vessels in the body. Age and the foods we eat, decreases the production of nitric oxide.

Important Health Benefits

1. Heart Health

Nitric oxide helps to protect the heart. When blood vessels, that carry oxygen and nutrients to the heart and rest of the body, become thick and stiff, the endothelium has a reduced ability to produce Nitric oxide. This is a precursor to a heart attack. Medical treatment in this case is the use of nitroglycerin which causes a rise in nitric oxide. The nitric oxide causes a dilation of the blood vessels thus increasing blood flow to the middle muscular layer of the heart wall. Maintaining high nitric oxide levels is essential to prevent hardening of the arteries, formation of plaque and blood clots.

2. Regulates Blood Pressure.

High blood pressure may also be caused by low levels of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide produced in the endothelium quickly spreads to the underlying muscles and turns off contractions resulting in a dilation of the arteries , thus lowering the blood pressure. If the endothelium cells are damaged, then the production of nitric oxide is reduced and so there could be an increase in the blood pressure.

3. Stimulates the Brain

Studies have found that nitric oxide plays a role as neurotransmitter in the brain and is involved in learning and memory. Due to the fact that it relaxes blood vessels, it allows an increased oxygen rich blood supply to the brain. Nitric oxide also activates the computational ability of the brain and may play a role in the treatment of age related degenerative diseases like  Alzheimer’s.

4. Protects Against Cancer

Journal of Cancer Prevention, looked at “The Potential Role of Nitric Oxide in Halting Cancer Progression Through Chemoprevention” and found that Nitric oxide played a key role in programmed cancer cell death (apoptosis). The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1998, in a press release, indicated that “White blood cells use NO not only to kill infectious agents such as bacteria, fungi and parasites, but also to defend the host against tumours.”

5. Alleviates Impotence

Low levels of Nitric oxide can influence erectile dysfunction. Many of the drugs developed to fight erectile dysfunction, use the knowledge that Nitric Oxide is a vasodilator and can initiate an erection of the penis by dilating the blood vessels. Nitric oxide is also essential in the arousal of females as well.

6. Kills Bacteria

 When NO is produced in white blood cells (such as macrophages), huge quantities are achieved and become toxic to invading bacteria and parasites.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1998

What Causes a Reduction in Nitric Oxide

  • Diabetes
  • High intake of High Fructose Corn Syrup or sugar
  • Inflammation
  • Fatty foods
  • Diet low in nitrates; green leafy vegetables
  • Overuse of antacids: reduces stomach acid that helps change nitrites to nitric acid.
  • Overuse of mouth washes; reduce bacteria the helps form nitrites from nitrates
  • Age; by age fifty a female may be producing nitric oxide at a 35% capacity

Some of the above causes are interrelated. Diabetes is a result of over consumption of high fructose corn syrup, fats and inflammation.

Symptoms of Low Levels Of Nitric Oxide

  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Lethargy
  • Heart Disease
  • Asthma
  • Hypertension
  • Decreased Libido

How to Increase Nitric Oxide Levels

Nitric oxide is produced from foods rich in nitrates. When chewed, food mixes with salivary bacteria to produce nitrites. Dr. Esselstyn suggests using balsamic vinegar on our vegetable salads to increase the production of nitrites. In the stomach, nitrites mixes with stomach acids to form nitric oxide which is quickly diffused across the cells. Please note that foods processed with nitrites, like deli meats, are actually health destroying and may be cancer causing. Nitric oxide cannot be obtained from a pill it has to be produced by the body from the natural foods that are consumed. Vegetables are the best sources, but some fruits, especially pomegranates, are also relatively good sources. Head over to the recipe page to find recipes that can boost your nitric oxide levels


High levels of nitric oxide can be harmful when a person is in shock from bacterial infections because white blood cells release large amounts that dilate the vessels, thus lowering blood pressure to dangerous levels. Taking nitroglycerin can result in hypotension lethargy, excessive sweating and dizziness.

My Experience

I suffered two heart attacks and, after the second one, decided to go against conventional medical wisdom. During the first heart attack, I was given nitroglycerin and my blood pressure went so low, the nurses started to panic. I was given a dose of nitroglycerin to take in the event of another heart attack, I never took it. After the second heart attack, I decided to go completely vegan, with the help of a naturopathic doctor. I eat lots of fruits and vegetables and make an effort to drink nitric oxide boosting beverages daily. The results have been remarkable. My blood pressure, which could go as high as 220/102, is now most times at 116/78, sometimes slightly above or below. I wake up feeling well rested and have a lot of energy. I can do 6 miles of walking without any stress and exercise for an hour each night before bed. My eye doctor, who was concerned that I maybe developing macular degeneration, was surprised to see that the symptoms had disappeared! At age 60, I don’t have “headaches” anymore because libido has increased exponentially! I am so glad I discovered Nitric Oxide.

An Invitation

I have experienced the benefits of increased nitric oxide levels and I would like for you to do the same. This is a natural process that our Creator has put in place. There is no need to buy chemicals, just eat your veggies and fruits daily and boost the production of nitric oxide using the recipes given. Here’s to your health for 2020! Please come back and comment after you have tried my recipes and tell us how it has helped you. What do you think?

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