NO More Heart Disease is the title of a book by Nobel Prize winner Dr. Louis Ignarro.
Dr. Ignaro won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering "the atom" of cardiovascular health--a tiny molecule called Nitric Oxide (NO).
Nitric Oxide is a key signaling molecule throughout the body. Produced by the endothelial cells lining the arteries, it penetrates the underlying smooth muscles and acts as a potent vasodilator that relaxes the arteries. Therefore, Nitric Oxide plays a critical role in blood pressure and overall circulation. It also keeps the endothelium in shape by curbing inflammation and oxidative stress.
What does Nitric Oxide do?
NO relaxes and enlarges the blood vessels, prevents blood clots that trigger strokes and heart attacks, and regulates blood pressure and the accumulation of plaque in the blood vessels.
What else does it do?
Additionally, Nitric Oxide is generated in the brain, where it’s involved in neurotransmission. That’s why Nitric Oxide benefits also include protection against dementia and other neurodegenerative disorders.
Nitric Oxide is synthesized in the white blood cells as well and is used as a weapon against bacteria, fungi, parasites, and aberrant cancer cells.
In the gastrointestinal tract, it relaxes smooth muscle cells and helps regulate intestinal peristalsis and the secretion of mucus and gastric acid.
Nitric Oxide is also involved in insulin signaling, bone remodeling, respiratory function, ATP (energy) utilization, and mitochondrial biogenesis, or the creation of new cellular “energy factories.”
How can we make enough Nitric Oxide?
The cells that make up your blood vessels are continually producing a small amount of NO with the enzyme Nitric Oxide synthetase, NOS. The NOS enzyme turns the amino acid L-arginine from the protein in your food into NO.
In NO More Heart Disease, Dr. Ignaro explains how you can include foods and supplements to stimulate Nitric Oxide production and enjoy the many health-enhancing benefits of NO.
What to eat?
Generally, foods containing the amino acid L-arginine can help with the production of Nitric Oxide. Foods high in L-arginine include,
Turkey meat (about 1.42 g to 1.85 g of arginine per 100 g)
Lean beef (about 1.68 g per 100 g)
Pumpkin and squash seeds (about 5 g per 100 g)
Egg whites (about 5 g per 100 g)
Peanuts (about 3.35 g per 100 g)
How to boost your Nitric Oxide production?
Supplements can really help boost NO production. You can take the amino acid L-arginine in the form of pills, powder, or capsules. It can be quite effective to eliminate muscle pain after a hard workout. It even worked to relieve my neck pain after a car accident.
For fast-acting L-arginine before or after exercise or to relieve pain, I use the NOW brand L-arginine powder. It works great but tastes terrible, but adding it to coconut water helps.
To provide a continuous production of Nitric Oxide throughout the day, I use Dr. Mercola's time release L-arginine.
You can also increase your Nitric Oxide production through a four-minute workout developed by Dr. Zack Bush, as shown in this video. The Four Minute Workout is a new concept of exercise that revolves around the body’s ability to use Nitric Oxide for muscle growth. This is an efficient anaerobic workout that can be done multiple times per day. The more frequently you do it, the better your results.
Since increased NO production can lower blood pressure, do consult your doctor if you are taking medications or have a medical condition.
Stay informed. Stay well.