How Balanced Nutrition, Exercise and Nitric Oxide Can Support Heart Health
By Lou Ignarro, Ph.D., Nobel** Laureate in Medicine, Member, Herbalife Nutrition Advisory Board and Herbalife Nutrition Institute
December 15, 2015
Lots of people are looking for ways to maintain good heart health. And there are ways to support heart health through proper nutrition, regular exercise and supplementation.
Nitric Oxide: What You Need to Know With heart health as a leading concern among both men and women in America, you need an option to maintain your cardiovascular system. The discovery of the function of an amazing molecule, Nitric Oxide (NO), can help provide you with just this sort of protection.
What is Nitric Oxide? In common terms and despite being a simple molecule, Nitric Oxide is an important biological regulator and is therefore a fundamental component in many fields of physiology and medicine. Nitric Oxide is a molecule that our body produces to help its 50 trillion cells communicate with each other by transmitting signals throughout the entire body.
I have conducted a great deal of basic research for the past 40 years in order to understand and resolve these problems. As a result, I have come to learn that there is a natural molecule in our bodies that can help keep the cardiovascular system flexible. More specifically, I have learned that Nitric Oxide, a component of our arteries and other organs, functions to maintain the health of our heart and blood vessels.
Nitric Oxide is a key molecule that is produced inside our bodies. Let’s look at HOW Nitric Oxide is produced:
The Power of Protein
First of all, when we eat a nutritional meal, we take in protein. Protein is digested into its component amino acids, and arginine, which is one of the 23 natural amino acids, is absorbed into the body. When arginine is absorbed into the vascular endothelial cells, it is converted into Nitric Oxide. Every single artery and vein in our bodies have an inner lining of endothelial cells, and these are the only cells in blood vessels that can produce Nitric Oxide. Therefore, it is essential to keep our endothelial cells healthy at all times by following a healthy lifestyle of balanced nutrition and physical activity.
The Nitric Oxide produced by the vascular endothelial cells keeps those cells healthy and functioning normally. Nitric Oxide restores arterial elasticity and promotes vasodilation, which means the widening of blood vessels resulting from relaxation of the muscular walls of the vessels, and this improves the blood flow.*
- There are beneficial health effects of Nitric Oxide including:
- Vasodilation and elasticity in arteries.*
- Maintenance of blood flow to all organs.*
As a result of many years of research, a mechanism by which production of Nitric Oxide is maximized was revealed. First of all, you should ideally ingest 3 g or more of Arginine, which can be found in protein-rich foods such as nuts, fish, meats, dairy, and multigrain. Remember, the arginine is directly converted into Nitric Oxide in our bodies.
Therefore, ingesting sufficient amounts of arginine produces Nitric Oxide. And, as a by-product of that conversion, L-citrulline is formed. L-citrulline is another amino acid, and is converted into L-arginine if sufficient quantities have accumulated inside the vascular endothelial cells. This arginine, of course, produces Nitric Oxide. The simultaneous production of L-citrulline acts like a turbocharging effect to produce even more Nitric Oxide.
L-Citrulline can be ingested by consuming nutritional supplements containing this amino acid, so that you don’t have to wait for production from arginine in the body. Instead of waiting for L-citrulline to accumulate inside the body, by proactively ingesting it in the form of nutritional supplements, you can produce maximum amounts of Nitric Oxide at all times inside your body.
Next, let me explain the mechanism by which the effects of Nitric Oxide are sustained. Nitric Oxide disappears one second after it has been produced. It is extremely unstable in the presence of reactive oxygen molecules. Normal metabolism creates reactive oxygen molecules, and such reactive oxygen molecules are dangerous because they react with and destroy Nitric Oxide. But there is a very effective way to prevent this destruction of Nitric Oxide. Primary among these is the body’s production and use of chemicals called antioxidants, which can absorb the reactive oxygen molecules before they are able to cause damage. So, one way to neutralize the reactive oxygen is to take the antioxidant vitamins C and E together. In addition, taking alpha lipoic acid adds to the antioxidant protection of vitamin C and E, thereby protecting Nitric Oxide even more.
Aging and Nitric Oxide Production
After a person reaches 30 years of age, the amount of Nitric Oxide produced in the body begins to decrease. Therefore, it becomes necessary to boost the production of Nitric Oxide and to allow the amount that has been produced to be sustained as much as possible. These mechanisms of “producing” Nitric Oxide and “protecting” it were designed, based on the results of my 40-year research program, which ultimately resulted in the Nobel** Prize in Medicine.
Now that you have learned the mechanism by which Nitric Oxide is produced and protected, let me describe methods to maximize Nitric Oxide.
Nitric Oxide is produced inside our bodies. However, the amount produced begins to decrease after we turn 30 years of age. Because of this, it is necessary to create a lifestyle where the amount of Nitric Oxide consistently remains at a high level. Let us look into what needs to be done.
How to Boost and Sustain Nitric Oxide
Take in ingredients that produce Nitric Oxide:
Eat balanced meals so that you can ingest about 3 to 6 g of L-arginine, 200 mg of L-citrulline, and also vitamins C and E, alpha lipoic acid, and folic acid, and take dietary supplements that boost your Nitric Oxide production.*
Plan ahead and eat healthy, well-balanced meals to help keep you in a good nutritional state, maintain appropriate weight, and prevent excessive intake of calories. Calorie restriction should be a very important component of your healthy lifestyle plan.
Eat high-quality protein. Protein contains an abundance of amino acids that promote the production of Nitric Oxide. I especially recommend soy protein since it is healthy and does not have any unhealthy saturated fats.
Take in unsaturated Omega 3 fatty acids, which are found in fresh fish of many kinds. Omega 3 fatty acids support vascular health and are known to increase the production of Nitric Oxide in your arteries.
Engage in physical activity on a regular basis. Your production of Nitric Oxide increases dramatically as you engage in physical exercise at any level, whether it is walking, running, cycling, swimming or just climbing stairs. Doing appropriate exercise not only increases the amount of Nitric Oxide produced but can also consume calories, thereby helping you to maintain a proper weight. Exercise can also help you to relax and get a much better night’s sleep, waking up more refreshed. So make a habit of exercising regularly.
I’m sure you can now see that Nitric Oxide is a vitally essential molecule in your body that is the key not only for cardiovascular health but also for overall health, wellbeing and healthy aging. And remember that regular physical activity will boost and maintain your production of Nitric Oxide.
Nitric Oxide is an extremely important molecule for the health of your heart and blood vessels. It also has many different effects. It is a component that everyone needs, regardless of age or sex. It is important to acquire a healthy lifestyle that provides sufficient amounts of Nitric Oxide produced inside the body every day.
Advanced Nutrition Along with a balanced diet and regular exercise, I take Niteworks® daily. Its ingredients include L-arginine, L-citrulline, vitamins C and E, and alpha lipoic acid. This combination of amino acids and antioxidants supports Nitric Oxide production and helps to keep my heart healthy.*
Having received the Nobel** Prize in Physiology or Medicine, I wanted to make use of the results of my 40-years research on Nitric Oxide to improve the habits of many people.
In order to share the benefits of Nitric Oxide with many people, I thought up a way of offering them not a drug, but a dietary supplement that anyone can use easily and casually.
“…When it comes to nutrition, focus on a calorie-restricted diet that features high-quality protein, Omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients that promote the creation of heart-healthy Nitric Oxide.”
I received offers from numerous nutritional corporations to work with me to develop a nutritional product for heart health. After considering all the candidates, I chose Herbalife as a company worthy of making use of my basic research, and decided to carry out a joint program to develop heart healthy nutritional supplements.
As a result of this joint effort, we created Niteworks®, a product that was designed with a Nitric Oxide-original formula.
The ingredients contained in Niteworks® include L-arginine, L-citrulline, vitamins C and E, and alpha lipoic acid.
Remember that you have a lot of ways to support your heart health. Getting plenty of sleep, exercise and proper hydration is important. And when it comes to nutrition, focus on a calorie-restricted diet that features high-quality protein, Omega 3 fatty acids and other nutrients that promote the creation of heart-healthy Nitric Oxide.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.
**The Nobel Foundation has no affiliation with Herbalife and does not review, approve or endorse Herbalife® products.