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Ask the Experts: Nitric Oxide

by: HumanN

We’ve rounded up the top questions that you had for our team of Nitric Oxide experts!

Q. What is Nitric Oxide?

ANSWER: Simply put, it’s one of the most important molecules produced in the human body. This essential molecule signals our blood vessels to relax and expand, creating greater efficiency in the body, greater nutrient delivery, greater oxygenation and so on to every system, organ and tissue in the body. It also supports healthy blood pressure. The point is that Nitric Oxide is truly linked to everything we do and every breath we take

Q: Why should I care about my Nitric Oxide levels?

ANSWER: Simply put, Nitric Oxide one of the most important molecules produced in the human body. This essential molecule signals our blood vessels to relax and expand, creating greater efficiency in the body, greater nutrient delivery, greater oxygenation and so on to every system, organ and tissue in the body. It also supports healthy blood pressure. The point is that Nitric Oxide is truly linked to everything we do and every breath we take.

Q: What is the link between Nitric Oxide and healthy blood pressure levels?

ANSWER: When arteries are dilated and circulation is increased, it can help us regulate blood pressure in our bodies.  Our cardiovascular system relies on nitric oxide. So, no matter your age or stage of life, nitric oxide is critical to your health.

Q: Do increased Nitric Oxide levels help with energy?

ANSWER: Nitric Oxide is able to increase circulation and oxygenation of your blood, which brings added benefits of improved natural energy and stamina. That’s why so many look to nitric oxide, whether through dietary nitrates in whole foods or through functional nutrition. Because when our blood carries more oxygen to our muscles, our body becomes more efficient, delivering key nutrients and carrying away toxins. And if our body is more efficient and circulation is improved, energy & endurance improves as well.

Q: Does my body continue to make Nitric Oxide as I get older?

ANSWER: It can, but likely not as efficiently as you’d like to help support your overall cardiovascular health. There are three main reasons why nitric oxide levels drop as you get older:

  • AGE: We already know our bodies change as we age. This is true for Nitric Oxide levels in the body, as well. By the time we reach 40, studies have shown that we only produce about half or less of the Nitric Oxide we did at age 20. And it continues to decline as we age. There’s also a difference when it comes to gender: by 40, men produce about 50% of the N-O they did in their teens and twenties. And women only produce about 35% of what they did in their twenties at age 50.
  • DIET: A diet rich in green, leafy vegetables is known to be cardio healthy. For decades nutritionists
  • and scientists thought these effects were from the
  • antioxidants found in those foods. Now we know that it’s due to the dietary nitrates found in green, leafy vegetables and beets. Nitrates are metabolized into Nitric Oxide in the human body by oral nitrate-reducing bacteria. If we don’t consume enough high nitrate vegetables, then we become N-O deficient and our N-O levels begin to fall.
  • EXERCISE: Physical exercise is the most potent stimulator of Nitric Oxide production and is considered one of the top strategies for supporting overall cardiovascular health.  However, when we don’t exercise, we lose that important signal that tells our body to make more N-O. As a result, the enzyme that makes N-O in response to exercise becomes dysfunctional. This usually leads to N-O insufficiency. Just as in the aging process, the problem is the inability to utilize L-arginine to make Nitric Oxide.

Q: What research has been done on the benefits of Nitric Oxide? Has Nitric Oxide been scientifically studied?

ANSWER: Nitric Oxide research first began in the 1970s.  In fact, it was named the Molecule of the Year in 1992 by researchers.  The actual discovery of Nitric Oxide’s effects on our cardiovascular system was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1998.  In fact, World-renowned physician Ernst R. Schwarz, MD, PhD, FESC, FACC, FSCAI, Medical Director of the Cardiac Support Program and Co-Director of Cardiac Transplantation at Cedars-Sinai recently led a research study on Neo40® daily to determine the effects of oral nitric oxide (N-O) supplementation on blood pressure that is in the higher end but still within the acceptable range of normal.  The study strongly suggests that effective N-O supplementation may lower blood pressure in patients with prehypertension and might be beneficial as a routine supplementation for cardiovascular health.  You can read more about it here.

Q. How much Nitric Oxide is in your products?

ANSWER: There is actually no nitric oxide in our products. Or anyone else’s products for that matter. Nitric oxide is a gas molecule with a half-life of only a few seconds. Nitric oxide is produced primarily through two pathways:

  1. Nitric oxide synthase (NOS) pathway
  2. Nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway

You can find more information on how the body produces Nitric oxide using these two pathways here: How the body makes Nitric Oxide.

Q: How do I know if I have low Nitric Oxide levels?

ANSWER: Try one of our Nitric Oxide Indicator Strips to see if you’re getting enough essential dietary nitrate from your diet.  You’ll be able to see if your nitric oxide levels are depleted, low, or optimal based upon a simple test of your saliva. The results are instant and easy to read!  

Q: What foods are rich in nitrates to help support Nitric Oxide production?

ANSWER: You can get the dietary nitrates you need to support nitric oxide production through foods such as beets, kale, spirulina, arugula, and celery, to name a few.  To learn more about the best foods for promoting nitric oxide production, take a look at our post, 9 Powerhouse Foods Packed With Nitric Oxide Potential.

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