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What to know about Nitric Oxide

category: News

What is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide is one of the most important molecules produced naturally in the human body.  This molecule is so important that in 1998 three scientists won a Nobel Prize for discovering Nitric Oxide as a miracle molecule. Nitric oxide (NO) is a gas composed of one atom of nitrogen bonded to one atom of oxygen. It serves as a critical signaling molecule in the cardiovascular and circulatory system. Our bodies cannot function as intended without proper circulation. This means that NO affects absolutely every function in our bodies.

NO is made by the blood vessel’s lining called the endotheliumNitric oxide expands the blood vessels, increasing blood flow and decreasing plaque growth and blood clotting.

Why is NO important in our bodies?

The loss of NO is recognized as the earliest onset of most, if not all, chronic diseases including the #1 killer of men and women, cardiovascular disease. Starting in your 30’s nitric oxide production begins to decline by 20% every 10 years. Most over the age of 65 have lost 85% of their ability to make NO. Factors influencing the decline in natural production of NO include aging, oxidative stress, lack of exercise, poor nutrition, diabetes and smoking.

NO is a vasodilator that helps keep arteries open and prevents plaque buildup. Reduced NO availability is often used as an early marker for various cardiovascular diseases.

Who needs NO?

  • Men experiencing sexual dysfunction
  • Anyone looking to support healthy blood pressure
  • Anyone over the age of 30
  • Anyone with low energy
  • Diabetics
  • Anyone suffering from issues with circulation
  • Anyone diagnosed with vascular dysfunction

How do we get more NO?

  • Start exercising regularly – Not only does exercise improve your ability to produce NO, the NO in return improves your ability to exercise. Moderate intensity exercise has been proven to yield the best results in enhancing endothelium vasodilation and increase production of NO. Research shows the best benefits come from 150 minutes a week of moderate intensity such as a brisk walk or 75 minutes a week of vigorous exercise like running, biking, or swimming laps.  The key is to get your heart rate above resting and to break a sweat.
  • Stop using mouthwash or fluoride toothpaste. These products kill the good NO creating bacteria in your mouth.
  • Re-evaluate if you are taking daily antacids, NSAIDS (ibuprofen, aspirin) and statin drugs which all block the production of NO.
  • Eat your vegetables – Vegetables rich in nitrate and nitrate can be converted into NO. Foods rich in NO include green leafy vegetables (kale, arugula, spinach), beets, radish, and cabbage.
  • Stop smoking. Smoking blocks your ability to make NO and causes your blood vessels to constrict, reducing blood flow to every cell and tissue in the body.


How to supplement NO?

Restoring NO production can lead to better vascular production and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nitric oxide supplements are easy to order online and over the counter but NOT all are created equal. Supplements often market “increase blood flow to the muscles” or use as a pre-workout to “get blood flowing”.  Although the marketing on the outside seems appealing, the ingredients on the inside are often misleading and do not increase production of NO. Most OTC supplements include L-Arginine or L-Citrulline. The pathway to make more NO requires L-Arginine along with OTHER molecules. If supplements do not include the other molecules, supplementing L-Arginine can actually make things worse. According to research by the American Heart Association, “Long term administration of L-Arginine does not increase nitric oxide synthesis or improve the ability of blood vessels to widen.”

Other products often include beet root extract or kale but that doesn’t mean they have sufficient nitrates to create more NO. These vegetable sources are not all equal and are subject to growth conditions, chemicals, processing, heat and packaging.

How to pick a NO supplement?

Read the research. If a product has no published clinical trials in humans, stay away. Clinical trials are expensive but prove that a product does what it says. Very few companies go through this test to prove the quality of their product. At Victory Men’s Health our staff and medical providers have done extensive research on the best products on the market and only use clinically tested NO supplements.

Nitric Oxide and Erectile Dysfunction

The leading cause of erectile dysfunction is poor blood flow to the erectile tissue. Nitric oxide dilates blood vessels which in turn can increase blood flow to the penis. The key to getting and maintaining erections revolves around continuous activation of NO. Men often use medications like Viagra, Cialis, Levitra to assist in maintaining erections. These medications let NO go to work and stay at work. Here is the science in action behind the scenes. First, NO binds to the receptors of an enzyme called guanylyl cyclase. Second, this binding process boosts levels of CGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate), which leads to widening of arteries in the penis. Third, more blood flows into the penis, filling the corpus cavernosum, which is the spongy tissue that expands to form an erection. Fourth, Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra work by blocking the compound of PDE5 (phosphodiesterase type 5), which in turn dissolves cGMP.

For more information on NO supplements please contact our medical providers.

Clinical references:

  • Bryan PHD, Nathan “How to boost the body’s miracle molecule to prevent and reverse chronic disease.”  The Nitric Oxide (NO) Solution, 2010.
  • Bryan PHD, Nathan “Nitric Oxide Science.” https://drnathansbryan.com/nitric-oxide-science/
  • Woolford, Andrea. “Nitric Oxide Study Guide”. 2020. Cardiology Institute.

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