Few people realize it, but nitric oxide (NO) is the most important chemical compound for cardiovascular health. Simply put, adequate NO production is the first step in a chain reaction that promotes healthy cardiovascular function, while insufficient NO triggers a cascade of destruction that eventually results in heart disease.
Nitric Oxide Does Several Important Things Inside Your Body
NO promotes healthy dilation of the veins and arteries so blood can move throughout your body. Plus, it prevents red blood cells from sticking together to create dangerous clots and blockages.
Your body naturally generates NO in the endothelium that line the blood vessel walls. But, in the early stages of arterial disease, this lining is damaged—which chokes off the production of NO, making the vessels vulnerable to inflammation and other negative factors.
So, How Do We Protect and Stimulate Nitric Oxide?
Exercise is beneficial, but not extreme activity along the lines of marathon running as severe exercise creates more oxidative stress. Plus, here’s the “recipe” for my special nitric oxide–boosting cocktail:
- Organic kale eaten two to three times a week helps to boost nitric oxide in the body.
- L-arginine, the original raw material that converts to NO in the body (3 grams twice a day with food).
- Vitamin C and E, two basic antioxidants that help protect your blood vessels from the damaging effects of free radicals and promote the production of nitric oxide (1 gram of vitamin C and 200 IU mixed tocopherol vitamin E twice daily).
- Fish oil acts as a natural anti-inflammatory (1–2 grams per daily).
- Grape seed extract helps protect your endothelial lining by fostering NO production (50 mg twice daily)
- Gycine propionyl L-carnitine (GPLC) has been specifically found to increase the level of nitric oxide along with exercise (500 mg three times a day).
Since the discovery of NO’s important role in cardiovascular health, pharmaceutical companies have been scrambling to create a drug that ups NO production to no avail. However, by mitigating the factors that contribute to oxidative stress and incorporating healthy, pro-NO nutrients into your supplement regimen, you can start boosting your NO levels today to head off heart disease tomorrow.
Now it’s your turn: Were you aware of the important role of nitric oxide?