What is Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is a compound naturally produced by the body that stimulates the release of certain hormones, such as insulin and human growth hormone, that causes blood vessels to dilate. It is effective in preventing heart diseases, treating impotence, high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. Nitric oxide enhancing supplements have been widely consumed in recent days. The most commonly used supplements are L-arginine and L-citrulline. Certain foods can also help increase nitric oxide in the body. Beets, garlic, meat products, citrus fruits and green leafy vegetables are some of these foods.
Supplements that increase nitric oxide in the body are extremely popular today. These supplements themselves do not contain nitric oxide, they contain compounds that the body uses to produce nitric oxide. The two most commonly used supplements are L-arginine and L-citrulline.
How nitric oxide works
Nitric oxide is a molecule naturally produced by your body. It is produced by almost every type of cell in the human body and is one of the most important molecules for blood circulation. By relaxing the inner muscles of blood vessels, it helps to dilate the vessels, relax circulation and lower blood pressure. When blood pressure is relieved, nutrients and oxygen can reach all parts of the body effectively and efficiently. Nitric oxide also supports the release of certain hormones, such as insulin and growth hormone.
Nitric oxide benefits
Helps treat erectile dysfunction (impotence)
Nitric oxide allows the muscles in the penis to relax and the chambers inside the penis to fill with blood, thus making the penis erect. Studies show that various supplements, including L-citrulline, L-arginine, and Pycnogenol, can help treat impotence by increasing the production of nitric oxide.
Increases exercise performance
Thanks to the relaxed blood circulation, the transfer of nutrients and oxygen to the working muscles during exercise increases, which increases the exercise performance. This is why L-citrulline and L-arginine supplements have become popular among athletes and gym goers. Studies have shown that L-citrulline is more effective in improving exercise performance than L-arginine.
Nitric oxide is an important molecule that plays an important role in blood circulation, muscle contraction and protein synthesis in the body. A deficiency can affect these systems and cause problems such as high blood pressure, fatigue, and lack of energy.
Supplements that “increase nitric oxide production” are used among athletes to increase protein synthesis, support blood flow and oxygen to the muscles, and for training performance.
May help manage type 2 diabetes
Production of nitric oxide is irregular in patients with type 2 diabetes. This can disrupt blood circulation and cause high blood pressure, kidney disease or heart disease over time. This is why supplements are effective in treating diabetes and preventing disease. Studies have found that especially L-arginine helps balance blood sugar in people with diabetes, but more research is needed.
Also, other benefits that are not backed by research but that people talk about from their own experience:
- It helps to lose weight
- May improve lung function in cystic fibrosis patients
- It can help treat altitude sickness
- It can accelerate recovery after major trauma or injury
- It can protect against colds
- May speed healing of diabetic foot ulcers
Foods containing nitric oxide
Although it is produced by the body, the best way to increase nitric oxide levels is to include more nitric oxide-containing foods in your diet.
The best foods to increase your body’s nitric oxide level are:
Consumption of beet juice has been shown in several studies to increase nitric oxide levels. For example, in a study conducted on men and women, those who consumed 70 ml of beet juice had a 21% increase in blood nitric oxide levels 45 minutes after consumption.
Beetroot is the most effective food in increasing nitric oxide levels in the body with its rich nitrate content. In this way, it strengthens athletic and cognitive performance and lowers blood pressure.
Garlic increases nitric oxide levels in the body by activating nitric oxide synthesis. In a study on experimental animals, it was determined that garlic extract increased the level of nitric oxide in the blood by 40% one hour after consumption. In test tube experiments, garlic extract has also been shown to maximize the amount of nitric oxide that can be absorbed by the body.
Red meats, poultry, and fish are excellent sources of coenzyme Q10. Coenzyme Q10 is thought to help maintain nitric oxide levels in the body. By including meat in your diet, you can maintain your nitric oxide levels and enjoy the numerous benefits of coenzyme Q10.
Dark chocolate is rich in flavanols that are beneficial for health. It is known that especially the flavanols found in cocoa improve heart health and protect the body against oxidative damage by positively affecting nitric oxide levels.
One study found that those who ate 30 grams of dark chocolate a day had significantly increased levels of nitric oxide in their blood. In the same study, people’s blood pressures also decreased.
Green leafy vegetables:
Spinach, arugula, kale, and other leafy greens contain nitrates that are converted into nitric oxide in the body. One study showed that after a spinach-containing meal, nitrate levels in saliva increased 8-fold and significantly reduced systolic blood pressure. In other studies, it has been determined that the consumption of nitrate-rich green leafy vegetables helps prevent heart diseases and reduces cognitive decline due to aging.
Apart from these, pomegranate, watermelon, citrus fruits, oil seeds and seeds, and red wine are among the foods that increase nitric oxide levels in the body.
Citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons, limes and grapefruit are all sources of vitamin C, which plays a central role in health. Vitamin C can increase nitric oxide, maximizing its bioavailability and absorption in the body.
Nuts and seeds:
These foods are rich in arginine, a type of amino acid that plays a role in the production of nitric oxide.
How to increase nitric oxide in the body?
- The foods we mentioned above help increase nitric oxide in your body.
- Nitric oxide is an unstable molecule that degrades rapidly in the bloodstream, so it must be constantly replenished. Antioxidants are molecules that contribute to the short life of nitric oxide and neutralize free radicals. It increases the stability of nitric oxide and limits its degradation. Plant-based foods such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and grains are sources of antioxidants.
- Exercise keeps endothelial cells and blood vessels healthy by increasing the body’s natural ability to produce nitric oxide. Endothelial cells are the thin layer of cells that make up the inner tissue of blood and lymph vessels. They play an important role in the production of nitric oxide. Insufficient nitric oxide production can cause endothelial dysfunction, increasing the risks of atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The Best Nitric Oxide Supplements
To provide the benefits mentioned above, it is necessary to increase the amount of nitric oxide in the body. At this point, the first question that comes to mind is how to increase nitric oxide in the body? It is not easy to quickly increase the amount of nitric oxide with food naturally. For this, nitric oxide supplements are generally preferred by athletes who want to increase their athletic performance.
- L-arginine Supplement: This supplement is available in powder and capsule form. L-arginine, especially used by athletes, improves athletic performance. Apart from this, people who have many health problems also use it for supplements other than drugs. It is especially preferred by people who have heart-related problems. Because it helps in fighting heart failure and coronary artery disease. Apart from these; It repairs blood vessels, lowers blood pressure and fights inflammation.
- L-citrulline Supplement: Another supplement that can be used to increase exercise performance is L-citrulline. In addition to increasing performance, it is good for muscle pain. If it increases the amount of nitric oxide, it helps to relieve muscle pain and relieve complaints such as muscle fatigue. It is available in pill or powder form. It is a highly preferred supplement for people interested in sports.
- Beet Supplement: Beets, which can be taken into the body in many forms, are a very effective nitric oxide enhancer. When we eat beets as well as powder, capsule or juice forms, nitric oxide levels naturally increase. This is one of the easiest and most natural ways to take supplements.
Nitric oxide damages
Nitric oxide supplements are generally safe when taken in appropriate amounts. Mild side effects seen in high doses are as follows:
- stomach pain, bloating, or heartburn
- heart palpitations
In addition, beet juice supplements can turn urine and stool a dark red color. This is a common but harmless side effect.
- Nitric oxide supplements may interact with some medications. Therefore, consult your doctor or dietitian before use.
- Those who have problems such as cirrhosis, low blood pressure, kidney disease, using nitric oxide supplements may cause their condition to worsen.
- L-arginine taken after a heart attack may increase the risk of death in the patient.