What is Nitric Oxide?

By Dr Harold Gunatillake - Health Writer

The benefit to mankind about Nitric oxide was known even 100 years ago when Alfred Nobel, the founder of the Nobel Prize was prescribed nitro-glycerine for his heart attack which relieved him. The doctors at that time did not know that it is the release of nitric oxide that relaxed the coronary vessels and gave relief. Even today, nitro-glycerine combination is available in pill form and spray to use by diagnosed angina pectoris patients. It is a safe idea without swallowing a tablet of aspirin when you experience chest pain whilst driving your vehicle, to carry with you a nitro-glycerine spray. Readers must take this note seriously for instant survival.

Do not confuse nitric oxide with nitrous oxide or laughing gas the anaesthetists use to sedate you before surgery.

Nitric oxide molecule is produced in our bodies, too and is considered important for our trillions of cells in our body as a transmitter to communicate with each other.

In the body the inner lining (endothelium) of the blood vessels do manufacture nitric acid which relaxes and expands the smooth muscles of the vessels beneficial in lowering the blood pressure and increasing the blood flow. Nitric oxide indirectly prevents plaque growth and blood clotting within the arteries.

Active exercise also liberates nitric oxide from the inner lining to increase the blood flow. On the other hand increased cholesterol levels and smoking seems to diminish the secretion of the acid from its lining.

Obesity is another factor that reduces the secretion of nitric acid.

Watching horror movies on tele seems to reduce nitric oxide in your arteries, but stories close to your heart being watched increases nitric acid release.

As mentioned earlier nitric oxide is the transmitting agent between nerve cells in the brain which helps to keep your memory sharp. It also boosts the immune system and ward off bacteria. Nitric acid prevents growth of tumours.

So increasing the natural release of nitric acid is important for healthy living. The most common way to increase the release is doing some daily work-outs. As we age the release of nitric acid is diminished caused by free radical damage, poor activity and diet. So, it is important that we all continue exercising daily to release nitric oxide from our arteries inner lining.

Another way to increase the acid is through nutritious diets. Amino acid arginine and citrulline in nuts, fruits, meats and dairy seem to increase the oxide in the blood stream. Healthy foods like garlic, soy, vitamins, Co-Q10 and lipoic acid seems to increase nitric oxide levels.

Athletes seem to take nitric acid supplements in the form of L-arginine and L-citrulline to increase the blood flow during stretches at work outs. This seems to get rid of the lactic acid that’s formed during heavy muscle activities. It seems to increase the muscle mass and body builders take it as a routine.

Beet root is one of the best nitric oxide producers: athletes who take beet juice before exercising to increase blood flow and improve performance get good results. It is a good habit to consume beet cooked in many ways, including in salads to boost your energy levels even among sedentary workers. Spinach seems to be naturally converted into nitric oxide molecule in the body.

Increasing nitric oxide levels are beneficial to supply a good flow of oxygen to the heart muscles and for cardio-vascular health. So husbands must tell their wives to cook or boil beet, spinach and other blood dilating foods for cardio-vascular health to prevent heart attacks. Wives too, should consume them daily.

Nitric oxide seems to dilate blood vessels of the male organs and improves erection for better performance. Another reason your partners should take notice of and eat such foods daily for better sex life.

Other foods that increase nitric oxide in your body are: Arugula Lettuce, Celery, and iceberg Lettuce- of course beet and spinach included.

Conclusion: Nitric oxide is naturally produced in the arterial inner lining to keep the blood vessels patent and dilated for the smooth flow of oxygenated blood. Natural ways of increasing the nitric oxide secretion is discussed and also the foods that help to increase the nitric oxide molecule are also discussed.

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