By: Mackay Rippey, LAc
Nitric Oxide is one of the most important, interesting, and misunderstood molecules for blood pressure. A quick Google search for Nitric Oxide turns up thousands of articles, mostly about young men looking for bigger muscles in the gym and old men searching for a bigger boost in the bedroom.
With all the online information generated by these two very enthusiastic groups, it’s no wonder that many ordinary people, just like you, have never heard of Nitric Oxide’s benefits for controlling blood pressure and avoiding the dangerous side-effects of blood pressure medicines.
How Nitric Oxide Lowers Blood Pressure
Nitric Oxide, or “NO” for short, might be the most important molecule when it comes to managing high blood pressure. There are 170,437 medical studies about NO and its discovery won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1998.
NO lowers blood pressure by sending a “relax” signal to the tiny muscles that make up the walls of every blood vessel in your body. Without enough NO, these muscles tighten, increasing the pressure of your entire cardiovascular system. Simply stated, your blood pressure goes up and until NO level are restored, stays up. Now you understand why this one simply molecule holds the key to unlocking healthy blood pressure.
Why you don’t hear more about Nitric Oxide
One reason you might not hear your doctor talking about nitric oxide is because there are no drugs on the market that directly boost nitric oxide levels. In fact, most blood pressure drugs block pathways, like calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, and ACE inhibitors. While these medications can be infective in lowering your blood pressure, they fail to treat the underlying cause of nitric oxide deficiency. That’s why as soon as you go off them, your blood pressure goes right back up.
So, What Exactly Is NO?
Nitric Oxide (NO) is a very small and very simple molecule made up of one nitrogen atom (N) and one oxygen atom (O). Because of its simplicity, NO can easily pass through cell walls into neighboring cells. This makes NO a very powerful local signaling molecule and perfect for its role in controlling blood pressure.
How the Body Makes NO
NO is such an important molecule in human cardiovascular health that the body has multiple pathways to make nitric oxide. The first pathway involves enzymes that are made by our DNA. These enzymes produce about 50% of the body’s NO, but can be damaged by genetic variations, inflammation, and aging.
The other 50% of NO is made from our food. This second pathway is a three-step process which involves food high in nitrates like green leafy veggies and is probably one of the reasons health healthy diets like the Mediterranean work so well.
So, What Can You Do to Support NO in the Body Today?
There are three steps you can take today to make sure you get enough Nitric Oxide to help maintain your blood pressure at healthy levels.
- Take a brisk walk. Exercise increases NO levels instantly.
- Eat a diet with adequate nitrates. Celery, butter leaf lettuce, and arugula are all great sources of healthy nitrates and will increase your Nitric Oxide levels over time.
- Enjoy time in the sauna. Infrared saunas have multiple benefits, but perhaps the most important is increasing Nitric Oxide.
Tip from the author: If you are still struggling with your blood pressure after following these steps or are looking for faster results and an all-natural solution consider using the Zona Plus device. For more information visit www.zona.com.