What Are The Benefits Of Nitric Oxide?

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Exercise, light exposure, infrared saunas, and deep breathing all make us feel great and are touted for their healthy influences, especially on heart health. Since February is National Heart Month it is exciting to highlight these lifestyle factors and something they have in common, nitric oxide (NO).


What is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric Oxide (NO) is a compound naturally made by the cells that line your cardiovascular system and is a vasodilator, opening the blood vessels for easier flow. NO also has anti-inflammatory mechanisms and anti-platelet aggregation activity. This means it helps keep your blood vessels flexible and helps reduce plaque.  In addition, NO promotes new blood vessel growth, decreases angina (chest pain), and can help reduce LDL oxidation (dangerous damage to cholesterol). Generally nitric oxide is your heart’s best friend, so let’s discuss how you can naturally support good NO levels.


Nitric Oxide Is Important For Heart Health

February is National Hearth Month, but it is also Black History Month. It is important to point out that more Americans die of heart disease than anything else (including COVID), and that heart disease is more common in African Americans and tends to develop at an earlier age in this population. We all know that exercise is good for the heart as it is made up of muscle and to keep our muscles healthy, they need regular stimulation from exercise. But did you know that when we exercise our blood vessels dilate and produce more nitric oxide? The increase in blood flow is pumped towards the working muscles where an exchange of oxygen occurs to keep the muscles functioning. The wider the blood vessels, the more blood that can flow to the muscles. Exercise is just one heart healthy activity that supports good nitric oxide levels.


More Ways To Increase Nitric Oxide

A UK researcher has also found that UV light exposure also helps dilate the blood vessels and increases nitric oxide production. He used graduate students to demonstrate that limited UV exposure (the researcher is a dermatologist) improves blood pressure via blood vessel dilation and increased nitric oxide production. He also documented that individuals living in environments with extremely limited sun exposure have more chronic health complaints, including high blood pressure and heart disease. This is similar to the influence of infrared lights and infrared saunas. The red light wavelength mimics the positive effects of sun exposure; increasing blood flow, stimulating the mitochondria, and triggering nitric oxide production. Besides these positive side effects, the warmth of light, sunlight or infrared, also provides a gentle boost to our mood.

In addition to exercise and light therapy, mindfulness can also support a good mood and healthy stress levels. Meditation, prayer, and deep breathing exercises have been shown to improve mood, support a healthy stress response, and can even help with cardiovascular health. Deep breathing, specifically through the nose, has been shown to support nitric oxide production. Nostril breathing practices can be found on YouTube and in yoga classes. The deep and controlled breathing technique helps increase oxygen uptake in the lungs and stimulates the release of nitric oxide. There is research that suggests mouth breathing can be detrimental and recommends nostril breathing, even during exercise.


Nutritional Supplements To Increase Nitric Oxide

If you search for nitric oxide online you may come across medications for those suffering from heart disease, but you will also find supplements, typically geared towards athletes. These supplements are meant to provide the body with the ingredients to make its own NO. With supplementation, athletes aim to increase blood flow, oxygen levels, and thus stamina. But it is not just athletes that can benefit. Anyone wanting to increase blood flow could potentially utilize these types of products for improved stamina, athletic or otherwise. Such products are used during various treatment programs in our office. Items like Effer Nox and Nitremulse are sometimes suggested for clients in our neuropathy or erectile dysfunction treatment programs. Depending on a client’s condition and medications, we tailor a supplement and treatment protocol for their specific needs. If you have questions about whether these products are appropriate for your needs, we suggest scheduling a visit.

In addition to increasing nitric oxide levels, these other supplements that may accentuate your healthy lifestyle and support a healthy heart.

Living Health Supplements EfferNox

Effer Nox
https://livinghealthmarket.com/products/effernox

Living Health Supplements Omega 3 MG
Living Health Supplements OmegEmulse
Living-Health-Supplements-Fiber-Max-Lean-Caps
Living Health Supplements Fiber Max

References:

McIntyre M, Dominiczak AF. Nitric oxide and cardiovascular disease. Postgrad Med J. 1997             Oct;73(864):630-4. doi: 10.1136/pgmj.73.864.630. PMID: 9497971; PMCID:        PMC2431478.

Weller, R. B., Wang, Y., He, J., Maddox, F. W., Usvyat, L., Zhang, H., . . . Kotanko, P. (2020). Does Incident Solar Radiation Lower Blood Pressure. Journal of American Heart Association, 9(5). doi:https://doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.013837

African American health. (2017, July 03). Retrieved February 08, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aahealth/index.html

Office of minority health. (n.d.). Retrieved February 08, 2021, from https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlID=19

U.S. commemorates 57TH consecutive American Heart month in February. (n.d.). Retrieved February 11, 2021, from https://www.heart.org/en/around-the-aha/february-is-american-heart-month

Heart disease facts. (2020, September 08). Retrieved February 11, 2021, from https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm#:~:text=Heart%20Disease%20in%20the%20United%20States&text=About%20655%2C000%20Americans%20die%20from,1%20in%20every%204%20deaths.&text=Heart%20disease%20costs%20the%20United,year%20from%202014%20to%202015.