Ever heard of nitric oxide? It’s a gas that is produced in every tissue and every organ of your body. It’s essential for living a long and healthy life.
Unfortunately, many of us are deficient in nitric oxide (NO) but don’t know it because the signs are also symptomatic of other chronic issues.
If you’ve never heard of NO, read on. What you don’t know can be detrimental to your health.
The Importance of Nitric Oxide
Nitric oxide is an important molecule. In fact, it is one of the components that will determine how long you are going to live. NO is linked to heart health as well as sexual health.
Nitric oxide is made by the endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels. It’s sensitive to the physical and chemical conditions inside the blood vessels and reacts accordingly.
When the endothelium senses heart healthy conditions – such as physical activity and low cholesterol – it releases more nitric oxide. This is good for your health. Here’s why.
Nitric oxide expands the blood vessels, increases the blood flow, and decreases plaque formation and blood clotting.
However, when the endothelium senses high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, or emotional distress, it releases less nitric oxide and then atherosclerosis begins to develop.
Penile erection also depends on the release of nitric oxide. Viagra and other drugs like it that reduce erectile dysfunction cause enzymatic reactions that increase NO. The result? More blood flow and enhanced erections.
Atherosclerosis and impotence are closely related. That’s why it’s important to know the signs of nitric oxide deficiency and take steps to remedy it.
Signs of Low Nitric Oxide
Do you find workouts more difficult to manage these days? Is your sex life less frequent than it used to be? Do you feel blue? If so, nitric oxide deficiency may be to blame.
Here are some of the signs you’ll want to be aware of:
• Fatigue/low energy
• Decreased stamina
• Erectile dysfunction
• Loss of libido
• Memory/concentration problems
• High blood pressure
Most doctors don’t think about testing for nitric oxide deficiency. Instead, they often treat the symptoms rather than look for the root cause. We’re not blaming your doctor. It’s just what they’re trained to do.
Fortunately, you can take steps to increase the levels of NO in your body.
What Causes Nitric Oxide to Fluctuate?
There are several factors that play into the decrease of nitric oxide in our bodies. Here are just a few of them:
• Aging – we became less proficient in producing nitric oxide as we get older
• Poor dietary choices – choose leafy greens in lieu of junk food
• Lack of exercise – no exercise = low NO
• Overuse of mouthwash – it kills the good bacteria
• Smoking – decreases the nitric oxide in our bodies
• Use of stomach acid reducers – proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Nexium, etc.)
The depletion of nitric oxide also depletes endorphins and dopamine, which are the feel-good hormones in the limbic system. As a result, you become susceptible to Alzheimer’s, anxiety, depression, and dementia.
You can increase your nitric oxide levels by taking a nitric oxide supplement, exercising, and losing weight. Initiating a smoking cessation plan is also a good idea.