5 Ways Nitric Oxide Increases Health Benefits

5 Ways Nitric Oxide Increases Health Benefits

Nitric oxide (NO) is an essential compound that functions as a vasodilator (vase-oh-dial-ator) which basically means it opens blood vessels for optimal circulation. It signals vessels to widen while prompting the release of specific chemical reactions such as human growth hormones and insulin production. Considered one of the most important compound molecules which is produced by just about every cell in the body, nitric oxide is able to relax inner blood vessel walls (smooth muscle) which in turn causes them to be less constricted creating an influx of blood flow while lowering blood pressure at the same time. 

By implementing a supplemental protocol as well as adding more nitric oxide rich or stimulating foods into your diet, these 5 ways nitric oxide increases health benefits may be an excellent way to enhance your quality of life. It is always important to check with your physician or naturopathic doctor to determine if an increase in nitric oxide correlates with your health history as some conditions and medications may be contraindicative.

According to nutritionist Mike Roussell, PHD (holds a degree in biochemistry from Hobart College and a doctorate in nutrition from Pennsylvania State University) commented to AI Wellness, 

“Increasing nitric oxide levels is increasingly becoming an important tool for recreational and competitive athletes that are looking to better manage fatigue leading to improved performance,” 

Erectile Dysfunction

Increasing your nitric oxide levels may help alleviate and in some cases even reverse erectile dysfunction (ED). ED is more common than most people may realize and many medications are made to mimic the effects of nitric oxide vasodilation.

Boston University School of Medicine reported that,

“Erectile dysfunction is a significant and common medical problem. Recent epidemiologic studies suggest that approximately 10% of men aged 40-70 have severe or complete erectile dysfunction, defined as the total inability to achieve or maintain erections sufficient for sexual performance. An additional 25% of men in this age category have moderate or intermittent erectile difficulties. The disorder is highly age-dependent, as the combined prevalence of moderate to complete erectile dysfunction rises from approximately 22% at age 40 to 49% by age 70. Although less common in younger men, erectile dysfunction still affects 5%-10% of men below the age of 40.”

An archival study shows the impressive effects on erectile dysfunction in men ages 25-45 years old using a combination of L-arginine (an amino acid) and French maritime pine bark extract aka pycnogenol (pike-no-jen-all) which both encourage nitric oxide production. 

According to the study published din the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy,

“Treatment with a combination of L-arginine and Pycnogenol for the following month increased the number of men with restored sexual ability to 80%. Finally, after the third month of treatment, 92.5% of the men experienced a normal erection. We conclude that oral administration of L-arginine in combination with Pycnogenol causes a significant improvement in sexual function in men with ED without any side effects.”

Eat More NO

Eating certain foods may increase your nitric oxide. It is important to note that these dietary choices are an accumulative effect which means that the compounds from these foods need to build up and be maintained in your system. Eating them once in a while probably won’t have much of an effect. Therefore, consider rotating these foods on a regular basis to keep your nitric oxide levels continually flowing. 

The best foods known to increase nitric oxide include:

  • Beets – Eating beets increases nitric oxide levels by over 20 percent in just 45 minutes
  • Watermelon High in L-citruline, which converts to arginine, used to produce nitric oxide
  • Dark chocolate – Choose 70% or higher, should contain no or little sugar/milk
  • Pomegranate – Protects nitric oxide from oxidative stress and increase blood nitrate levels
  • Dark green leafy vegetables – Spinach, Swiss chard, arugula, cabbage kale, spirulina
  • Nuts and seeds – Particularly walnuts and flaxseeds
  • Citrus foods – Maximizes NO absorption
  • Red wine – Antioxidants increase NO production

Manage Type II Diabetes

Check with your health practitioner if you want to experiment with NO supplements to manage type II diabetes. Research posted by The American Diabetes Association (ADA) stated that the use of the supplement amino acid L-arginine significantly improved “peripheral and hepatic insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetic patients”.

Increase Stamina

If stamina during exercise or basic everyday functioning is an issue, consider increasing your NO levels. Vasodilation means more enhanced blood flow which means more oxygen distribution which means increased stamina and energy. This is particularly beneficial when maintaining a daily exercise program.

Blood Pressure Reducer

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a common condition, particularly for those eating a western diet and getting little exercise. In addition to switching to healthier food choices such as increased plant-based foods as well as maintaining more physical, cardiovascular activity, NO supplements may be a good adjunct to mitigate high blood pressure. 

A study by researchers from Hugh Sinclair Unit of Human Nutrition, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, School of Chemistry, Food and Pharmacy, University of Reading, Whiteknights, UK stated,

“Moreover, the current studies provide some promising evidence on the beneficial effects of dietary nitrate on endothelial function. In vitro studies suggest a number of potential mechanisms by which dietary nitrate and its sequential reduction to NO may reduce blood pressure and improve endothelial function, such as: acting as a substrate for endothelial NO synthase; increasing vasodilation; inhibiting mitochondrial reactive oxygen species production and platelet aggregation. In conclusion, the evidence for beneficial effects of dietary nitrate on blood pressure and endothelial function is promising.” 

These 5 ways nitric oxide increases health benefits shows that before you reach for pharmaceuticals you may be able to take advantage of a more natural approach that works.