What is nitric oxide? Essentially, nitric oxide is a molecule that helps the over 50 trillion cells in the body communicate by transmitting signals.
Nitric oxide has some very important roles regarding our overall well being.
It improves our sleep quality, increases our endurance and strength, regulates our blood pressure, and assists our immune system when fighting off bacteria and defending against tumors to name just a few.
Nitric oxide is widely known for its ability to improve overall heart health. Nitric oxide relaxes narrow blood vessels, which increase blood flow and oxygen.
Fun fact: Alfred Nobel (founder of the Nobel Prize) had heart problems and his doctor prescribed him nitroglycerin. At first, he was skeptical due to nitroglycerin being used in dynamite.
In the end, he didn’t blow up – that’s because nitroglycerin releases nitric oxide, which increased the amount of oxygen and blood flow his heart was getting.
Today, doctors still prescribe nitroglycerin for heart and stroke patients thanks to its nitric oxide-releasing qualities.
The best way to increase your nitric oxide levels is to exercise. As you exercise, your heart pumps more blood to supply your body with more oxygen.
As this happens, the lining in your arteries releases nitric oxide, widening the vessel wall, which allows more blood to pass through.
Unfortunately, age has a negative effect on our nitric oxide production. The best way to keep up our nitric oxide production is to lead an active life and exercise regularly.
If exercise sounds like too much work, you can still make up for at least some of that nitric oxide loss through diet.
There are two amino acids that help our nitric oxide production: L-arginine and L-citrulline. Natural products like meats, dairy, nuts, and fruits contain these key amino acids.
However, in order for them to function at optimal levels a healthy diet made up of fruits, garlic, soy, and other vitamins is needed.
If this sounds like too much work for you, l-arginine and l-citrulline combinations can also be found in dietary supplements.
Nitric oxide serves many important functions and keeps us going every day. As we age, our nitric oxide production declines.
If we want to keep ourselves healthy, we need to avoid harmful behaviors like smoking, inactivity, and unhealthy diets.
Nitric oxide can help us feel healthy, but we have to stay active and eat well – at the very least take some supplements.