Updated: Feb 7
SAY NO to High Blood Pressure, Heart Attacks, Strokes, Diabetes, Arthritis, Kidney Disease, and More.
What is NO? NO or Nitric Oxide is a signaling molecule that is one atom of nitrogen and one atom of oxygen. It is a gas when it is created which, when released, easily penetrates nearby membranes in our bodies. NO signals the arteries to relax and expand, immune cells to kill bacteria as well as cancer cells, and brain cells to communicate with each other. It is not to be confused with nitrous oxide (N2O). NO sends signals within every cell, tissue, organ and body system. Its most important function is the signaling function within our circulatory system. The endothelium is a single cell lining of all blood vessels. If one were to take all the endothelial cells internally and laid them out flat in the body, they would cover a regulation sized soccer field! NO signals the smooth muscle outside the blood vessels to relax reducing blood pressure, increasing blood flow and oxygenation of all tissues. Enough NO will also help prevent build-up of plaque which lessens the risk of heart attacks, strokes and cardio-vascular disease.
How is it made? One pathway comes from an amino acid L-Arginine (a component of protein food such as meat, fish, dairy, beans and nuts). This process is sparked by an enzyme called Nitric Oxide Synthase known as NOS. NO is also derived from nitrite as well as nitrate. Many doctors supplemented patients with L-Arginine. However, when this occurs, only 3% of it is converted to L-Arginine and studies have shown this is an ineffective way to boost bodily NO levels. Nitroglycerin works via the NO route. It is transformed into nitrite and converted into NO. As with most drugs the effect is only good for a short period of time and inevitably becomes ineffective. As we eat foods high in nitrites (NO2-) and nitrates (NO3-) this helps the bodies produce NO. New research shows that Nitrates are broken down in the mouth by bacteria to nitrites. When the nitrites are sent to the acid in the stomach they form NO which is, in turn, sent out through the circulatory system in the body. One pathway that is more effective in achieving a higher conversion of L-Arginine to NO is using the amino acid L-Citrulline.
What foods have high levels of Nitrites and Nitrates with high levels of NO in the body? Kale is at the top of the list as well as other dark green veggies. The NO index for some foods would be Kale-6825, Swiss Chard-2055, Arugula-1452, Spinach-1123, Boc choy 775, Beet-632 and at the low-end Hog dogs-1, Bacon-1, Ham-0. Juicing is a great way to help increase NO levels with an influx of lots of raw dark green veggies.
What other natural supplements or remedies increase NO in the body besides food? Exercise - one of the reasons it is so important to cardio-vascular health it generates NO and improves blood flow and lowers blood pressure. Furthermore, increasing NO permits an increase in the ability to exercise due to an increase in stamina! Fish Oil supplements increase NO. Deep breathing generates NO. There are higher concentrations of NO in the nasal passages. Breathing deep through the nose permits more NO to be picked up and sent to the lungs which will subsequently open the circulation in the lungs and increase oxygen flow. Frequent hydration increases NO too. A study has shown that men that drank 5 glasses of water a day had a 46% lower risk of having a heart attack. TCM or Traditional Chinese Medicine also has been found to increase levels of NO. Chanting “OM” and other relaxation techniques have been found to increase levels. A sauna, especially a FIR or Far Infrared Sauna, will also raise levels of NO. Lastly, proper length and quality of sleep will increase levels. Subsequently, increasing NO will also create improved sleeping patterns allowing for a better sleep.
How to test NO levels and what other supplements to take if levels are to low: There is new technology to check NO Levels. A company called Human N (humanN.com) developed a litmus paper to put in your saliva that will match to a scale to read your NO levels. Most people tested are typically low or depleted. It seems only people that juice and eat a lot of raw dark green veggies had adequate amounts of NO. They also developed a tablet usually initially taken twice a day called Neo-40 that will help restore your levels. For further info on NO the book “The Nitric Oxide Solution” by Nathan S. Bryan, PhD. is highly recommended.
Dr. Mark Berkowitz and Dr. Gary Braun offer a holistic approach to restorative, preventative, implant, and nutritional dentistry. They are conveniently located at 457 Hwy 79 in Morganville. For more information or to schedule a FREE Holistic consultation with Dr. Braun please call 732.591.1112.
This article appears in the August 2019 issue of Natural Awakenings Magazine Monmouth Ocean edition. Click here to subscribe, thanks :)