Yes! That is exactly what your answer would be if asked whether or not you wanted something that could improve your energy, stamina, heart health, immune function, mood, mental acuity and sexual satisfaction. What one molecule can do all of that? Nitric Oxide (NO), one of your body’s most important signaling molecules. It is released as a gas that quickly sends signals through every cell, organ and system in your body. NO signals arteries to relax and expand, immune cells to kill bacteria and cancer cells, and signals brain cells to communicate with each other. NO is critical for overall optimal health but its most notable function is within the cardiovascular system where blood flow is vital.
Based on a series of scientific discoveries in the 1970’s and 1980’s, the Nobel Prize was awarded in 1998 to three scientists for determining that NO was the key molecule responsible for dilating arteries. It is produced by the inner lining of blood vessels called the endothelium. The amount of NO that your arteries can produce is dependent on the health of the endothelium. And the health of your endothelium predicts who will later develop heart disease or suffer a heart attack or stroke. NO keeps your arteries young and flexible, reduces blood pressure, prevents, slows and reverses plaque build-up and lowers inflammation. In fact, the nitroglycerine that is used to treat angina (heart-related chest pain) works by being converted to NO in the body. Your heart really is what gives you vitality. It gives your brain the blood it needs so you can think clearly, it gives you stamina, and it’s what gives you strength to perform at your best.
Erectile dysfunction, or ED, similarly predicts heart disease. A 10 year study from the Mayo Clinic revealed that the men with ED at the start of the study were 80% more likely to develop heart disease by the end of the study. Erectile dysfunction is a manifestation of endothelial dysfunction. Without adequate NO, the penile arteries cannot dilate to allow sufficient blood flow to achieve a firm erection. The situation is similar for women; without proper blood flow to the clitoris, they cannot experience orgasm or increased sexual sensitivity. When you increase your blood flow it is much easier to get aroused. Viagra and other medications in its class work by improving NO signaling and blocking the enzyme that breaks it down. Men that do not respond to Viagra typically are producing very little nitric oxide.
How can you get more of this miracle molecule in your system? The right diet, regular physical activity, adequate water intake, sleep and meditation. A diet rich in leafy green vegetables like kale, Swiss chard, arugula and spinach, beets, broccoli, pomegranates, dark chocolate, green tea and red wine all help to increase NO production. Nutritional supplements containing the amino acid L-arginine can help boost NO production. L-arginine is converted into NO by the endothelium. This works well when you are young and have healthy endothelium. As you age, the endothelium becomes less efficient in making that conversion which can result in depleted NO. Not to worry, there are alternate pathways independent of L-arginine. A new supplement, Neo-40, takes advantage of this alternate route resulting in robust NO production, even for those with an impaired endothelium. Many of my patients have experienced firsthand the extra boost that Neo-40 can provide.