all an athlete needs to know about nitric oxide

What is nitric acid?

Nitric oxide is a free radical gaseous molecule which means it contains single unpaired electrons in its molecule. Hence it is reactive, and has a half-life of only a few seconds. Nitric oxide is synthesized naturally by your body.

its main role is vasodilation or widening of blood vessels(both arteries and veins)

it relaxes the inner muscles of the blood vessels, making them widen and increase circulation and it also can Increase cerebral blood flow and oxygenation to the brain and Due to its vasodilatory effect, increases blood flow to the kidney, Act as a neurotransmitter and facilitate the release of certain hormones like growth hormone. It is not the same as nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.

It plays major roles in a range of neurological procedures, including as a neurotransmitter. Both over limit and under limit synthesis of nitric oxide may impact memory and cognitive function and may even result in conditions such as depression, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.

Nitric oxide has shown anti-microbial behaviors against micro-organisms like Bacteria, Dermatophytes and Yeasts.

What is nitrate?

Nitrate, a compound found in certain vegetables like rocket, collard greens, dill, turnip greens, Celery, Cress, Chervil, Lettuce, Beetroot, Spinach and Arugula is converted to nitric oxide after intake and it has been shown in researches that nitrate-rich vegetables can Dilate vessels and relieve the pain of angina.

Nitric acid connection with antioxidants

Antioxidants are molecules that neutralize free radicals(Free radicals contribute to the short life of nitric oxide).

As we get older, our cells produce less nitric oxide, so blood vessels become less flexible, which results in hypertension, inflammation in blood vessels, and atherosclerosis (plaque buildup), One way to postpone age process as long as possible is by consuming antioxidants.

These antioxidants are found in all foods but primarily those of plant origin, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains.

Nitrate(precursor to nitric oxide) can lower blood pressure even as good as some blood pressure medications but still some people are afraid of them because they think it contributes to cancer, the reason behind it is they think it is the same thing as sodium nitrate(which are commonly used as a preservative and color fixative in bacon, cold cuts and hot dogs). It is sodium nitrate which is linked to bowel cancer.

Sodium Nitrates can form N-nitroso compounds, such as nitrosamine, which are capable of causing cancer However, vegetables, which contain more than 80% nitrate, have also antioxidants like vitamin A and C, which prevent the formation of N-nitroso compounds(so nitrates from vegetables are harmless, whereas sodium nitrates in processed meats can be dangerous for health).

Nitric oxide supplements and nitric acid food sources

Nitric oxide supplements, opposite to its name, don’t actually have nitric oxide inside them. Instead, they contain amino acids that promote production of nitric oxide.

nitric oxide supplements mainly they contain L-arginine and L-citrulline.

According to an article published in the journal Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, taking nitric oxide supplements offers a range of heart boosting effects. These include reducing arterial stiffness, Relaxing vascular smooth muscles, reducing blood pressure, and improving carotid artery blood flow. but, it is important to note that the researchers studied animals, not humans, to find these effects.

Researchers theorize that taking nitric oxide supplements may enhance the delivery of oxygen to muscles. This could potentially improve athletic performance and reduce soreness after a workout.

According to an article in the journal Sports Medicine, studies have shown that taking nitric oxide supplements may enhance tolerance to exercise. However, this only applies to those who did not exercise regularly or only exercised at a moderate rate.

The research has not shown that nitric oxide supplements can help elite athletes. Researchers carried out these studies on young males, so they do not know how nitric oxide supplements may affect older people and females.

Without taking nitric oxide supplements, a person typically consumes about 5 grams (g) of L-arginine per day.

Many plant food sources, like fruits, chocolate, and red wine create compounds that can increase nitric oxide production in the body. Cells use arginine, an amino acid to make nitric oxide. High-protein foods such as nuts, beans, seeds, turkey, seafood, and dairy products are a good source for arginine. A 2016 study in the journal Nutrients found that higher dietary intake of arginine was strongly linked with higher blood levels of nitrites and nitrates, which are a measure of nitric oxide production.

L-citrulline(precursor to arginine) is also an amino acid found in meat, nuts, legumes, and watermelon. Manufacturers can also make L-citrulline in a laboratory and package it as a pill or powder.

Nitric oxide and mouthwash

Unfortunately, mouthwash kills all types of bacteria inside mouth for up to 12 hours after use, even the beneficial ones that help produce nitric oxide, humans cannot produce nitric oxide from nitrate without these bacteria.

The side effect of mouthwash on good bacteria may even contribute to diabetes, which is characterized by malfunction in insulin production or action since it also regulates insulin, which helps cells utilize the energy obtained from food after digestion.

Nitric oxide and endothelial

Exercise really does get your blood pumping, largely because it facilitate the role of endothelial(thin layer of cells that line the blood vessels).

Deficiency in nitric oxide may result in atherosclerosis, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease. When the endothelium understands you are in a healthy state, such as physical activity and low cholesterol, it releases more nitric oxide. when the endothelium senses high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, or emotional distress, it releases less nitric oxide, and atherosclerosis (heart disease) accelerates.

Exercise keeps your endothelial cells and blood vessels healthy by increasing your body’s natural ability to produce nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide relationship with sex health

Because nitric oxide enhance blood flow, researchers have conducted studies to find out whether it could promote blood flow for people suffering from erectile dysfunction (ED).

According to an article in the journal Future Science OA, some studies have shown taking nitric oxide might actually reduce erectile dysfunction and even low libido.

What other health benefits nitric oxide have?

Although these claims are not backed up hard yet, it is still worth mentioning them

Help people suffering from Adult Respiratory Distress Syndrome, Pulmonary hypertension and Chronic Obstructive Airway Disease.

enhance fat loss

improve lung function in those with cystic fibrosis

reduce the side effects of memory loss

improving recovery after major trauma or injury