Nitric Oxide for Cardiovascular Health

Curious about nitric oxide for cardiovascular health? We’ve heard the common heart-healthy tips:

 

  • Exercise often
  • Eat healthy foods
  • Avoid processed foods (especially those with transfats)

 

But according to research, one substance plays an essential role in our cardiovascular health: nitric oxide.

 

Let’s review what it is, how it works, and what that means for us.

 

What Is Nitric Oxide?

 

Nitric oxide is a molecule, which your body produces naturally. You can also raise nitric oxide levels in your body by consuming certain foods that are rich in nitrates. Some of these include:

 

  • Arugula (1)
  • Celery
  • Citrus fruits
  • Beets and beetroot (2)
  • Lettuce
  • Dark chocolate (3)
  • Spinach
  • Garlic (4)
  • Watermelon (5)

 

Nitric oxide plays a vital role in the body and impacts many processes. Most notably, it affects our cardiovascular health. Speaking of which, let’s see why.

 

Nitric Oxide’s Role In Your Cardiovascular System

 

Most of its benefits for us come from nitric oxide’s direct action: vasodilation. The molecule relaxes blood vessels, allowing them to widen, and lowering our blood pressure (6). As a direct benefit, our blood flows more freely, every area of the body gets oxygen and nutrients efficiently, and we reduce the strain on the heart. These effects improve our energy levels, reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, and can even boost our athletic performance (7, 8).

 

Nitric oxide also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects on the body (9). The molecule counteracts reactive oxygen species, prevents oxidative stress, and can reduce the risk of disease. Researchers are still not entirely sure how these nitric oxide mechanisms affect the cardiovascular system, but there is a significant benefit.

 

Symptoms of Low Nitric Oxide Levels

 

When nitric oxide levels drop, all sorts of adverse effects take place in the body. Most notably, we experience the shrinking of blood vessels, which impair normal blood flow, increase blood pressure, and often increase resting heart rate (10). In combination with poor lifestyle habits, such as smoking and consuming trans fats, these effects lead to plaque build-up inside the arteries.

 

Research also shows that impaired vision can be another symptom of nitric oxide deficiency, especially if it occurs out of nowhere (11).

 

Other signs that you might need a nitric oxide boost include chronic fatigue and slower recovery times during exercise and between workouts. If you feel tired all the time despite eating well and sleeping enough, you might be low on nitric oxide. Similarly, if you struggle to recover on a training program you previously did with relative ease, it might be a symptom of deficiency.

 

In any case, a holistic approach will do best under such circumstances. Don’t limit yourself to nitric oxide alone.

 

How to Boost Your Nitric Oxide

 

The best way to boost (and maintain) your nitric oxide levels is to consume foods that are rich in nitrates. We shared a few recommendations above. 

 

Research suggests that consuming antioxidants can also help. Nitric oxide molecules have a relatively short life span, which means we need to replenish them regularly (12). Reactive oxygen species appear to contribute to the short life span of nitric oxide molecules, so by consuming antioxidants (such as those found in blueberries), you can counteract this effect (13).

 

Supplementing with nitric oxide boosters can also help. Among these substances, l-citrulline appears to help the most (5, 14, 15).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • I met with Taft to find a nutrition solution that would increase my energy levels and reduce my weight by approximately 20 lbs. I hike, kayak, cycle, and mountain bike and need lots of healthy fuel to power it. I followed his suggestions and within 8 weeks I achieved my weight loss goal, with a dramatic increase in energy. Listen to Taft’s advice and it will pay off. I feel fantastic now!!

  • Taft is excellent, I have lost 10lbs of body fat and gained 17 lbs of muscle in the 2 years that I have been seeing him. I am a avid cross fitter, mountain biker, and whitewater kayaker and everything has improved due to my nutrition! Thanks Taft.

  • My experience with Taft Draper has been nothing but successful. I came to see Taft with multiple chronic illnesses and what I found has been life changing. Taft introduced me to a new testing service that allows me to know what foods my body is sensitive to. By eating these sensitive foods my body continues to yo-yo. Once I got my results Taft was able to support me in starting a new diet that began calming my immune system down. I am currently 4 months into this diet and have reduced my symptoms by 90%. Taft has been a great support. Thank you for your services!

  • Taft Draper began helping me with anemia and IBS. Taft had guided me through changes to my nutrition to reduce the symptoms of IBS and enrich my nutrition to increase my iron intake/absorption. Taft’s expertise allows me to use the Mediator Release Test/Lifestyle Eating and Performance information to improve my life through better health.

  • My visit with Taft put me on the path to lose over 45 lbs. I now better understand how I process foods and how food affects my body.  With Taft’s help, I’ve become a healthier version of myself!

Contact Taft

Offices

Hendersonville ObGyn
27 Doctors Dr. Hendersonville NC 28792

Henderson County Wellness Clinic
100 N. King St. Ste 500 28792

Crestview Recovery Center
90 Ashland Ave Asheville NC 28801

Get Taft's Newsletter