Nitric Oxide (NO) is an important cellular signaling molecule which has many roles in assisting optimal health and longevity in humans.
Its most common role is in opening up blood vessels, thus improving blood circulation, the function of the heart and the vascular system.
By increasing the flow of oxygen to the heart muscle, nitric oxide helps lower high blood pressure and restores healthy blood flow to the entire body.
Nitric oxide has also been shown to slow down the effects of ageing such as dry wrinkly skin and age spots by improving peripheral circulation and increasing cellular renewal.
It also improves fasting blood glucose levels and insulin signaling which are both important for preventing diabetes and metabolic syndrome, a result of insufficient nitric oxide production.
This molecule is also responsible for helping our bodies fight unhealthy pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi, as it shuts down their cell respiration and ability to survive.
Nitric oxide is also a neurotransmitter so it is important for how our nervous systems and brain cells talk to each other and relay messages around the body.
How to Increase NO in the body:
Nitric oxide is found in green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, kale, cabbage, spinach, chard, bok choy, and celery. Vegetarians have higher levels of NO in their blood than those eating a diet high in meat, and healthier blood pressure and arterial health as a result.
The use of antacids and mouthwashes both suppress and kill the bacteria responsible for metabolising nitrate into nitric oxide so these should be avoided at all cost.
A study has shown that the use of antacids and proton pump inhibitors is responsible for causing a 35% increase in high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke in those people who have been on these medications for an average of 3-5 years.
Breast milk is actually high in nitrides and nitrates which are converted into nitric oxide.
Breast feeding helps colonise the infant’s gut with healthy microbiota, which is otherwise very sterile in early life, thus improving overall immunity.