A step-by-step guide for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease by boosting nitric oxide.

Reduce Cardiovascular Risk With Nitric Oxide

Nitric oxide (NO) is truly a miracle molecule. This gaseous molecule is produced by the body and signals for blood vessels to relax and expand. However, the production of nitric oxide decreases as we age. This decrease in NO production gives rise to endothelial dysfunction. This in turn leads to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, and more. If we want to reduce this cardiovascular risk, we have to keep our nitric oxide production as high as possible.

I am aware not everyone reading this is an expert in cardiovascular health, so I will try to break down what you need to know about the endothelium in order to help you understand just how important nitric oxide is for your overall health and wellness.


What is the endothelium and what does it have to do with cardiovascular risk?

Okay, let’s start with the basics. The endothelium is the inner lining of your blood vessels. The endothelium plays an essential role in regulating blood flow. It is here that nitric oxide comes into play. NO is produced in the lining muscles. When this happens, NO begins its most important role: vasodilation. This means NO signals for the blood vessels to widen and expand. This dilating of the blood vessels allows greater blood flow to occur. This blood flow affects the health of muscles, the brain, and the heart. As we age, this production decreases. By the time you are 40, you will only be producing half of the NO you could produce at 25.

This decrease in NO production leads to endothelial dysfunction. This means the blood vessels are not able to dilate and constrict optimally. As a result, blood flow becomes less efficient. This inability to dilate and constrict properly is known as arterial stiffness. Arterial stiffness contributes to hypertension, plaque buildup in the arteries, inflammation, and other factors that increase cardiovascular risk. The lack of NO production can also lead to blood clotting. These blood clots can block arteries just like plaque and lead to an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks.


Endothelial dysfunction: Fighting Back

Roughly one-third of people suffer from some form of endothelial dysfunction, even if they are unaware. Furthermore, lifestyle choices and genetic predispositions can increase the risk of cardiovascular disease as well. People who smoke, the elderly, diabetics, and those with high cholesterol and high blood pressure are all at an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

However, what we can do to combat this cardiovascular risk from endothelial dysfunction is increase our nitric oxide production. NO is notorious for being used up quickly in the body, so we must give the body a constant supply of ingredients so it can continue to produce NO.


Nitric oxide precursors to reduce cardiovascular risk

Any NO boosting food or supplement out there is not comprised of NO itself. Since NO is a gas, we must ingest building blocks the body can convert into nitric oxide. Also, since NO has such a short half-life, we must be vigilant in NO precursor consumption since it is metabolized so rapidly. Blood vessels need to make NO to function properly, and they do so using three ingredients: L-arginine, L-citrulline, and dietary nitrates.


How L-arginine helps

One of the three precursor compounds the body uses to produce nitric oxide is the amino acid L-arginine. L-arginine is used to build protein and stimulates the release of insulin in the body. The body uses L-arginine to produce nitric oxide when it is consumed. You can find L-arginine in foods such as red meat, dairy, eggs, lentils, and chickpeas. Your body does naturally produce some L-arginine on its own, but the amount needed to produce nitric oxide is best gotten from your diet or a supplement.

L-arginine has been well-studied and shown to have potential benefits such as:


  • reducing chest pain
  • speeding up wound healing
  • building muscle
  • supporting heart health
  • improving male fertility
  • lowering blood pressure
  • reducing digestive system inflammation
  • treating arterial disease
  • improving exercise performance

These are not all the benefits that L-arginine provides, but it’s enough for you to see why most NO supplements will include a heavy portion of it in the ingredients. The biggest benefit of L-arginine is it supports blood flow. Studies show L-arginine improves blood flow when supplemented, reducing cardiovascular risk.


How L-citrulline helps

This amino acid is nonessential, meaning we do produce it in our body, but usually in varying amounts. Unlike other amino acids, L-citrulline is not used to build protein. The biggest role L-citrulline has is in the urea cycle. L-citrulline helps rid the body of harmful compounds such as ammonia. L-citrulline can be found in watermelon, squash, and cucumbers.

The body uses L-citrulline to produce L-arginine, which in turn is converted into nitric oxide. Because of this, L-citrulline has health benefits such as:


  • promotes vasodilation
  • lowers blood pressure
  • increases GH hormone post-workout
  • promotes sexual health in men

L-citrulline works to improve blood flow alongside L-arginine so many nitric oxide boosters contain various quantities of both amino acids. The ratio is different in most of these supplements, but the best ratio of L-arginine to L-citrulline for optimal nitric oxide absorption and production is 2:1. This ratio will help you reduce cardiovascular risk.


How nitrates help

For those who might be confused, let’s clarify the stance that should be taken on nitrates. Nitrates found in processed meats are usually sodium nitrate, which is an additive used to preserve the food. These kinds of nitrates are bad for you. However, the nitrates found in leafy greens and root plants are good for you. So it all comes down to the source of the nitrates. With that out of the way, we can continue.

Nitrates are naturally occurring compounds found in soil. Because of this, nitrates become infused into the plants we eat. If you want to boost your nitric oxide production via diet, nitrates are the most abundant NO precursor available. You can find nitrates in foods such as kale, arugula, beets, lettuce, mustard greens, and more.

Some of the benefits of dietary nitrates include:


  • help kill bacteria
  • reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • reduces the risk of heart disease
  • lowers the risk of stroke
  • lowers the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s
  • can improve exercise endurance

Just a handful of raw greens a day can drastically boost your nitric oxide production potential, so should not be ignored as a contributor to reducing cardiovascular risk.


Other ways to reduce cardiovascular risk

Boosting your NO production via diet or supplements is just one of the many things you can do to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. Let’s Look at some other ways you can reduce the risk. Some of these will also boost NO production, and some of these are just lifestyle changes to make you healthier overall.


Lifestyle Changes

Some of the lifestyle changes you can implement to reduce cardiovascular risk include:


Not Smoking.

Not using tobacco in any form is one of the best things you can do for your overall health. Tobacco use is a hard habit to break once you start. With this in mind, the best option is to not start at all. Tobacco use can make you sick, make you slower, and decrease your lifespan. If you are unable to quit, simply reducing the amount you smoke can do wonders for your long-term health. The nicotine in tobacco products is incredibly addictive, so quitting is difficult. However, reducing excessive smoking is linked to a reduced risk of heart disease.


Stay at a healthy weight.

Carrying too many extra pounds is detrimental to your long-term health. Being overweight puts you at an increased risk of developing diabetes and becoming obese. Furthermore, being overweight puts you at an increased risk of heart disease, hypertension, plaque buildup, and more. Keep your diet and lifestyle choices in check to avoid becoming overweight. Finding a healthy weight range relative to your height is a great start. The most commonly used indicator of weight risk is BMI.


Exercise regularly.

This lifestyle change can do much to offset the weight risk listed above. Keeping up a regular exercise routine is crucial for offsetting cardiovascular risk. Remember when we said nitric oxide production decreases as we get older? Well, activity level also tends to decrease as we get older. Exercise happens to be able to spark NO production. So if you want to both keep off weight gain and improve nitric oxide production, exercise more. If you don’t know where to begin, try a brisk 20-30 minute walk 5-6 days a week as a starting point. A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of disease, so combat it by being more active.

There are other habits you can do that boost nitric oxide and reduce cardiovascular risk, but these are a great starting point for most people.


The Takeaway

Getting older is something none of us can stop. It is unfortunate that with age comes an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, arterial problems, endothelial dysfunction, and other health complications. Because of these risks, it is our responsibility to do all we can to fight these risks. An active lifestyle, making good habit choices, and keeping nitric oxide production as high as possible are all paramount for offsetting these risks as we age. Do your heart and arteries a favor and bookmark this article for future use so you never forget what to do to stay healthy as you get older.



leafy greens to eat for boosted nitric oxide levels

Leafy Greens To Make Nitric Oxide Levels Soar

Everyone wants to move better, feel better, and look better. We meet these goals by improving our quality of sleep, optimizing our fitness routines, and being mindful of the foods we eat. However, as we get older we have to pay more attention to these habits to avoid heart problems, blood circulation issues, and more. The foods we eat are essential to living a healthy life. An important nutrient most people easily overlook is nitrates. Yes, these appear in processed meats and other less than ideal food choices, but naturally occurring nitrates can do wonderful things for your health. Specifically, nitrates are bountiful in leafy greens. We will look at what the nitrates in leafy greens can do for you and what nitrates have to do with nitric oxide: another molecule essential for your health.


What is nitric oxide?

Nitric oxide (NO) is a molecule responsible for aiding in various processes within the body such as blood circulation, blood pressure management, digestion, cognitive function, etc. When nitric oxide is produced, a process called vasodilation occurs. During vasodilation, NO relaxes and dilates the blood vessels. This allows for improved blood flow and lower blood pressure. For older individuals or those suffering from heart-related health problems, NO was a miracle molecule. Over time, NO has become a heavily researched molecule in the medical and fitness fields.


How is nitric oxide produced?

NO is a gas that disseminates very fast once produced. Because of this, NO can rapidly penetrate cell membranes and promote optimal cellular function. Our bodies produce NO in 3 areas:


  • cells located in the endothelium of our blood vessels
  • oral bacteria in our mouths
  • bacteria on our skin when exposed to sunlight

These are not the same thing as the pathways our body uses to produce NO, we are just talking about the locations where NO production occurs. To get a better understanding of how important NO is for us, let’s briefly touch on some of the benefits.


Improves exercise performance

NO is linked to improved exercise performance in endurance athletes such as runners and cyclists. Improved exercise tolerance is a contributing factor in athletes supplementing with NO boosters or other NO precursor supplements to enhance their performance and recovery.


Reduces muscle soreness

NO improves not just your exercise endurance, but also your recovery time. According to studies conducted, NO reduces muscle soreness experienced post-workout. Research shows NO may reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness) following intense training.


Improves sexual health

Since NO improves blood circulation and improves the delivery of oxygen and nutrients, NO also potentially improves erectile dysfunction symptoms in men. There is more research needed here, but there is some correlation between NO’s vasodilation properties and improving the muscle relaxation needed for an erection to occur.


Lowers blood pressure

NO can help lower blood pressure thanks to vasodilation. Since blood vessels widen to allow more blood flow, this process also lowers blood pressure. Hypertension is difficult for many to track and can lead to various other heart problems. Hypertension can even lead to a heart attack or stroke if left unchecked. Increasing nitric oxide is an easy way to alleviate these issues.

This is far from exhaustive as far as NO benefits go. However, these are some of the commonly discussed benefits of NO. So how do we go about getting more of this in our systems to experience these benefits?


How do we improve nitric oxide levels?

There are many things we can do to boost our nitric oxide levels. We can exercise more, sleep better, spend more time in the sun, and more. However, for today we will focus on food to improve our NO levels. When it comes to eating foods to boost our NO levels, we look at three main ingredients in these foods: L-arginine, L-citrulline, and nitrates. L-arginine and L-citrulline are both amino acids that are found in many fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Nitrates are natural chemicals found in soil and various foods. Nitrates are also used in processed foods as a preservative. While all three are found in healthy foods to boost NO levels, nitrates are the focus here.


Where are nitrates found?

Nitrates are found in various foods such as leafy greens, roots, and root plants. Rather than list every food you can find naturally occurring nitrates, I will list off several leafy greens containing high amounts of nitrates the body uses to produce nitric oxide.


Leafy greens high in nitrates

A plethora of vegetables contains high levels of nitrates your body can convert into nitric oxide. However, with a few exceptions, leafy greens contain the highest concentrations of nitrates. This list is not in any specific order, but rather just contains the leafy greens with the highest concentrations of nitrates. You can choose the best ones for you to add to your diet if your goal is to increase your NO levels.


1. Arugula

This leafy green many consider packing the most punch in terms of nitrate concentrations. Arugula is a popular leafy green in Italian foods. You can eat arugula raw or cooked in various recipes. Arugula is a member of the cabbage and mustard green family, so it has a peppery taste to it. According to studies, arugula has a nitrate concentration of about 480mg per 100g.


2. Celery

This leafy green is a common low-calorie snack for many looking to lose weight. Celery is part of the same family as carrots and parsley. Most people eat the stalk of the celery, known for packing a hydrating crunch. Apart from its fiber content, celery has a high concentration of nitrates, coming in at about 250mg per 100g.


3. Cress

This leafy green comes packed with a peppery flavor since it is part of the cabbage family. Cress is low in calories and contains essential nutrients like vitamins A and C. While cress is associated with benefits such as immune system support, what we care about here is the nitrate concentration. Cress contains about 250mg per 100g, making it an excellent choice to boost nitric oxide levels.


4. Lettuce

Lettuce is one of the most widely consumed leafy greens in the world. This vegetable is low in calories and a good source of iron. Furthermore, lettuce is a good source of fiber and vitamin C. Lettuce also contains a high concentration of nitrate, coming in at around 200mg per 100g. Add this salad staple to your diet if you’ve been slacking on your leafy greens and let those nitric oxide levels soar.


5. Spinach

For anyone looking to eat healthier, adding spinach to their diet is a typical go-to move. Spinach is a staple leafy green for most because of its nutrient profile. Spinach is a great source of vitamin A, vitamin C, iron, folate, and potassium. To make it even more appealing for us, spinach contains over 250mg per 100g of nitrate. Adding this leafy green to your salads is a must to boost those NO levels.


6. Beet Greens

When it comes to a leafy green, chances are beet greens were not on your list. Many people just jump to the beetroot for nitric oxide boosting nitrates, and this is completely acceptable. However, the greens on top offer us plenty of health benefits as well. Beet greens contain high levels of antioxidants and phytonutrients. Furthermore, beet greens contain around 110mg per 100g of nitrate. Although this may not be as high as beetroots or other leafy greens, it is still plenty for boosting NO levels. So the next time you go to get beets from your grocery store or local farmer’s market, be sure not to discard the beet greens.


7. Chinese Cabbage

Chinese cabbage can be consumed raw, stewed, or mixed into a slaw. This cabbage is considered to be less pungent than other cabbages and has a sweeter taste. Chinese cabbage is low in calories and is a good source of vitamins, iron, calcium, and antioxidants. Chinese cabbage also contains around 161mg per 100g of nitrate. This makes it great for boosting NO levels in our bodies. So if you use Chinese cabbage as a lettuce wrap, do so with confidence knowing you’re making a good choice.


8. Bok Choy

Bok choy is technically a type of Chinese cabbage but has a different texture than other cabbages. This type of leafy green has a smaller bulbous bottom and has a mustard green-like cluster formation on its top. Bok choy is a good source of vitamin C and vitamin K. Furthermore, bok choy contains between 103-309mg per 100g of nitrates. If you are unfamiliar with bok choy, it’s worth looking into for boosting NO levels.


9. Swiss Chard

This leafy green has a bitter flavor when eaten raw, but becomes milder when cooked. Swiss chard is a great source of vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, and other antioxidants. Although you will reap more benefits from this plant by consuming it raw, it still contains roughly between 147-270mg per 100g of nitrates. This makes Swiss chard a solid choice for boosting nitric oxide levels.


10. Mustard Greens

Greens are a vegetable most southern folks will be accustomed to. People tend to enjoy these simmered, steamed, or sautéed. However, mustard greens can be eaten raw as well. Mustard greens have a slightly peppery and bitter taste but do become milder when cooked. These greens are a great source of vitamin B1 and B3. Furthermore, this leafy green contains up to 116mg per 100g of nitrates, making it good for boosting NO levels.


Eat those leafy greens for a nitric oxide boost

Keep in mind that this list is not exhaustive. There are of course plenty of other leafy greens that contain naturally occurring nitrates your body can use to produce nitric oxide. All you need to know is that these green listed carry the most bang for your buck and have many other health benefits associated with them as well. Eat your greens and reap the benefits!



10 vegetables to boost nitric oxide production

10 Vegetables That Spurs Nitric Oxide Production

Remember as a kid when you were told to eat your vegetables whether you liked them or not? Hopefully, I was not the only person who had to force-feed myself broccoli while my parents watched to make sure I ate them all. It would not be until I became an adult that I appreciated all the nights of being forced to eat my veggies. Many vegetables contain amino acids and dietary nitrates. These compounds are the building blocks of a molecule called nitric oxide (NO). As more research is conducted on nitric oxide, it is clear that nutrition is the most effective way to influence your nitric oxide production. In this article, we will go over why nitric oxide is essential for your health and outline the best vegetables to spur your nitric oxide production.


Nitric Oxide: Making Blood Flow Great Again

Before we get to the vegetables, let’s go over the basics of NO. Nitric oxide is one of the most important molecules your body naturally produces. It is vital to your health and a plethora of physiological functions. It impacts many essential processes that keep you alive and well. Most of the health benefits associated with nitric oxide come from the process of vasodilation. Vasodilation is the king of nitric oxide benefits. NO achieves vasodilation by helping the muscles within the inner lining of blood vessels widen and relax. As this happens, your blood is able to flow more freely. Better blood flow allows for the optimized delivery of oxygen and nutrients to be distributed throughout the body.

Since NO helps dilate blood vessels, it promotes healthy blood flow. Healthy blood flow influences health benefits such as lower blood pressure, improved brain health, and improved stamina. Unfortunately, NO levels begin to decline after age 40. Your nitric oxide production is at its peak in your twenties, but by the time you hit 50, it can be down by as much as 50%. The inability to produce enough NO leads to an increased risk for health problems such as hypertension, diabetes, or stroke.

One of the best ways to spur nitric oxide production is by consuming the right vegetables.


How do vegetables spur nitric oxide production?

The best nitric oxide foods to consume are ones that contain dietary nitrates, L-arginine, or L-citrulline. These nutrients are found in a variety of foods, but predominantly in fruits and vegetables. Your body uses these nutrients to produce nitric oxide. As a quick disclaimer, the dietary nitrates found in plants are converted differently in the body than the nitrates found in processed meats. When we eat vegetables, one or more of these nutrients gets converted in the body into nitric oxide. Since NO is a gas, we do not consume it directly. Each of these nutrients gets converted into NO via a chemical pathway. The process will look different for each nutrient, but the end result is the same:


  1. Eat a vegetable.
  2. Vegetable gets digested.
  3. Nutrients contained within vegetables are converted into NO.

This is very simplified but you get the point.


Nitric Oxide Health Benefits

We briefly touched on a few benefits earlier, but I would like to talk about a few more health benefits associated with nitric oxide. There have been tens of thousands of studies done on nitric oxide. What researchers have found is that NO provides a wide range of health benefits. These benefits include:


Nitric oxide helps with much more than listed here, but this list gives you a general idea of how essential it is to eat your vegetables and spur nitric oxide production.


Vegetables that will stimulate nitric oxide production

For those who are nervous about supplements and do not want to change too much of their lifestyle, there are several foods you can incorporate into your diet to start boosting your NO production. I have compiled a short list of some of the most popular choices for vegetables that will stimulate nitric oxide production.


1. Arugula

This leafy green has one of the highest concentrations of dietary nitrates in a plant – roughly 480mg per 100g. If you are a salad eater, consider adding this peppery green to your next meal.


2. Spinach

This leafy green is a popular and commonly eaten plant among health enthusiasts. This plant contains well over 250mg per 100g nitrates per serving, making it great for stimulating your NO production. Once again, if you like salads, this green is a great addition. You can even eat a couple of handfuls raw to reap some of the health benefits.


3. Beets

According to many sources, beets are the best single source of nitrates in the plant kingdom. Beetroot can be blended into smoothies, chopped up and added to salads, or steamed and added as a side dish to other meals. Beet juice is popular in the fitness industry as a pre-workout supplement.


4. Garlic

Garlic is often a component in cooking for its flavor profile. However, garlic is also capable of boosting NO production. Garlic boosts NO production by activating the nitric oxide synthase enzyme that aids in the conversion of nitric oxide from L-arginine. Because of this, garlic is also attributed to lowering blood pressure. Despite the scent of garlic being on the pungent side, it is a vegetable that is great for your health.


5. Carrots

Here is one vegetable that many people like to snack on. The good news is that carrots can boost NO production via nitrates. Carrots are great steamed, eaten raw, boiled in a stew, etc. Eating carrots has other health benefits as well, but be aware that they contain roughly 150mg per 100g or more of dietary nitrates.


6. Broccoli

Growing up, broccoli was the bane of my existence. I spent many nights fighting with my parents because I did not want to eat those stupid mini trees! Having grown up, I am thankful they made me eat them. Not only does broccoli come packed with vitamins and antioxidants your body needs, but it has some dietary nitrates your body can use to produce nitric oxide. While broccoli does not contain as high of a concentration compared to other greens, it is still sufficient when consumed on a regular basis. Furthermore, broccoli is one of those vegetables that can be prepared in various ways. Broccoli is great as a raw snack or cooked as part of a meal.


7. Spirulina

This vegetable is actually a type of algae that grows in the sea. Spirulina is often a component of smoothies or daily greens supplement powders. Why this alga is important to us is the nitric oxide precursor L-arginine. This is an amino acid the body uses to produce nitric oxide. One cup of spirulina contains about 4.6 grams of L-arginine, which is plenty to stimulate nitric oxide production. So whether you eat spirulina in its algae form, as a powder/capsule, or in a mix of some sort, do so with the knowledge you are boosting your NO production.


8. Cucumbers

This vegetable is commonly found in a salad. Cucumbers also make a great standalone snack. We are interested in cucumbers because of their L-citrulline content. L-citrulline is an amino acid the body uses by converting it into L-arginine. Then, L-arginine is converted into nitric oxide. Cucumbers contain around 0.146mg per 1g of L-citrulline. Cucumbers are low-calorie and hydrating. This makes cucumbers an ideal snack for those being calorie conscious but still looking to boost NO production.


9. Squash

Most types of squash contain L-citrulline, so work just like cucumbers as a precursor for nitric oxide production. These vegetables are technically fruits, but very few people would look at squash and call it a fruit. Therefore, we will lump it in with the rest of the vegetables.


10. Eggplant

Here is another vegetable with a decent nitrate concentration. Rounding out our list is eggplant. Packing a nitrate concentration between 25-42 mg per 100g serving, consuming eggplant is a great way to boost your NO production. This vegetable is usually the main dish rather than a side, but there are many ways to consume it. If you’re looking for a healthy meal that will improve your blood flow and more, eggplant is a solid choice.


The Bottom Line

There are many things we can do to boost our nitric oxide production. We can exercise more, spend more time outside in the sun, get more sleep, and so much more. However, the easiest thing we can do is add a couple of things to our meals in order to stay healthy and keep those NO levels optimal. As we age, nitric oxide levels will decline. Furthermore, NO is a gas that dissipates rapidly in the body, so it must be replenished just as rapidly.

There are plenty of other vegetables and other foods that could have been added to this list, but I chose to only add the most popular choices for most people on this list. Some honorable mentions that did not make the cut are kale, chard, bok choy, lettuce, and cabbage. Pick a couple of these vegetables that you can add easily to your diet and start enhancing your nitric oxide levels today!



Bad Habits that annihilate nitric oxide levels

5 Bad Habits That Annihilate Nitric Oxide Levels

Nitric oxide (NO) is a key molecule produced naturally in the body. Nitric oxide is involved in many important body functions and is important for many aspects of your health. The most important function of nitric oxide is vasodilation. Vasodilation serves as the foundation of many of the health benefits associated with nitric oxide. However, many bad habits in our day-to-day lives interfere with all the good work high nitric oxide levels do for us.


What Is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide is a neurotransmitter responsible for a plethora of body functions and cellular processes. Nitric oxide is vital for our overall health and quality of life. This is because nitric oxide allows blood, oxygen, and nutrients to be delivered throughout the body efficiently. Nitric oxide is also responsible for functions such as regulating blood pressure, supporting the immune system, supporting brain health, and supporting intracellular communication.

If nitric oxide levels are not adequate, a host of health problems can arise. Some of these problems include inflammation, cardiovascular problems, and obesity to name just a few. Nitric oxide levels naturally decline with age, but our lifestyle has an effect on NO levels too. Engaging in bad habits, both known and unknown will annihilate your nitric oxide levels.


Bad Habits To Stop Doing Now

Some of these bad habits are certainly worse when taken at face value than others. With this in mind, a bad habit here is referring specifically to the context of destroying nitric oxide levels. Some of these bad habits will be blatantly unhealthy, and others not so much. We are here to explore bad habits that destroy nitric oxide levels. Other health problems may come up but the primary goal is education for improving NO. With that out of the way, let’s explore bad habits that annihilate your nitric oxide levels.


1. Stressing Yourself Out Is A Bad Habit

A little bit of stress can be a good thing. Stress has a purpose in our lives. The stress response is an evolutionary trait that serves to keep us alert and alive. Modern humans are no longer using the stress response to stay alive in the wilderness, but it still serves a purpose. Stress is beneficial because it can give you a boost of energy and focus. Stress also serves as a motivator when you are under a time crunch. Moderate doses of stress infrequently are good for you. However, modern humans have a tendency to stress too much, and this is a bad habit that inhibits nitric oxide levels. It is when stress becomes chronic and enduring that problems arise.


Why Stress Is A Bad Habit That Annihilates Nitric Oxide Levels

Chronic stress leads to the engagement of the sympathetic nervous system (SNS), or your Fight or Flight Response. When this kicks in, your body releases a flood of hormones and chemicals designed to keep you alive. Adrenaline and cortisol are the chemicals most associated with stress. Adrenaline increases your heart rate, elevates your blood pressure, and gives you a surge of energy. Cortisol increases glucose levels in the bloodstream, increases glucose use in the brain, and increases the body’s overall glucose metabolism.

The effects of these chemicals in moderation are improved reaction time, more energy, and a higher pain threshold. When these chemicals become chronically available, you notice effects such as weight gain, lower nitric oxide levels, high blood pressure, fatigue, and more.

While there are things you cannot control in your life that create stress, some stress is within your control. You can take measures to reduce the stress you can control to decrease the SNS response in your body. With nitric oxide, eating a NO booster-rich diet and supplementing NO boosters can negate some of the damage from chronic stress on your nitric oxide levels.


2. Anxiety

This bad habit is similar to stress but comes about in various ways. Anxiety is an emotion first and foremost. Anxiety is a broad term that can be defined in various ways depending on who you ask. For our purposes, I will make it simple. Simply put, anxiety is a feeling of fear, dread, and general unease. Anxiety disorders are conditions brought about due to anxiety becoming chronic. With anxiety disorders, the feeling of anxiety is persistent and has long duration periods.

Anxiety can alter how you think and behave. It is because of this that anxiety manifests itself similar to stress. Symptoms of anxiety include:


  • feeling “on edge”
  • difficulty concentrating
  • sleep problems
  • persistent worry
  • feeling tired
  • increased heart rate
  • sweating
  • hyperventilation


Why Anxiety Is a Bad Habit That Annihilates Nitric Oxide Levels

There is a lot of carry-over from stress to anxiety, but there is a distinction. Stress is usually accompanied by a stressor. There is some sort of trigger that creates the stress response. Anxiety can occur without the presence of a stressor. This makes anxiety more difficult to deal with. However, just like stress, there are aspects of anxiety within our control. Some coping mechanisms to deal with anxiety that happens to increase nitric oxide levels are:


  • exercise
  • engaging in nose breathing and stress management techniques
  • eating healthy foods
  • cutting out vices such as smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol

Since Anxiety Disorders are one of the most common mental health disorders in the US, it is a prevalent cause of low NO. Furthermore, medications given to alleviate anxiety can also hinder NO production. Be mindful of anxiety so you can avoid unnecessary damage to your NO production.


3. Sedentary Lifestyle

One of the worst things you can do for your overall health is to lead a sedentary lifestyle. Being inactive gives rise to a plethora of health problems. However, many of those health problems are also brought on by low nitric oxide levels. When you don’t exercise regularly, your body will have more difficulty producing nitric oxide. This leads to health problems that further reduce NO production, such as diabetes, obesity, and heart problems. NO production helps improve exercise performance, increase energy and stamina, improve exercise recovery, and increase endurance. This means that if you start being more active, the NO produced will help you stay active longer.

This is a bad habit that we have plenty of control over. Most of us can choose to work out for a few minutes each day, go for a walk in our spare time, or do something active. Even some injuries can be worked around. The point here is that a sedentary lifestyle is one of the most easily corrected bad habits we can manipulate to improve our nitric oxide levels. The solution here is simple: just get up and move more. If you do not have time to do dedicated workouts, some suggestions include:


  • walk your pet more often/for longer if you have one
  • take the stairs when you can
  • park further from the door
  • take a walk during your lunch break
  • create a desk exercise routine

There are plenty of other creative ways to add more movement to your day, but this is a good starting point to urn this bad habit into a non-issue.


4. Poor Sleep Routine

You probably did not think your sleep affects your nitric oxide levels, but it can. Here we are talking about the things you do prior to going to bed that affect the quality of sleep you get. Sometimes you cannot control your sleep, but steps can be taken. Sleep has been found in some studies to be impacted by nitric oxide levels. Low NO levels have been linked to insomnia, poor recovery sleep, and other sleep problems.

With this in mind, what can we do to sleep better? We can reduce some of our bad habits prior to bed such as excessive screen time, eating right before bed, being too active, etc. Measures we can take to improve our sleep are:


  • choose a consistent bedtime and stick to it as best you can
  • remove screens from your bedroom to avoid use before bed
  • avoid caffeine and large meals too close to bed
  • limit blue light exposure within a couple of hours of bedtime or invest in a pair of blue light glasses if blue light limiting is improbable for you
  • exercise during the day (directly increases NO production)
  • engage in nose breathing exercises before bed (directly increases NO production)


5. Poor Diet

This is another bad habit that we can easily control. There are many foods we can consume that are high in precursors needed to prompt nitric oxide production in the body. Today’s society pushes fast and convenient food options. Unfortunately, most of these are terrible for your overall health. For example, many types of processed meat such as bacon, pepperoni, and salami contain bad nitrates that can cause diseases such as obesity and cancer.

Excessive consumption of processed foods can even damage the endothelial cells that produce nitric oxide, leading to dropped nitric oxide levels. What do we do to combat this bad habit and increase our nitric oxide levels? Here are a few suggestions.


  • eat more foods such as red meat, fish, nuts, and seeds that contain high levels of the amino acid L-arginine (precursor to NO)
  • eat more foods such as watermelon, pumpkin seeds, chickpeas, and cucumbers that contain high levels of the amino acid L-citrulline (precursor to NO)
  • eat foods such as beetroots, kale, spinach, and arugula that contain high levels of healthy nitrates (sparks NO production)



Being Mindful Of The Bad Habits That Annihilate Nitric Oxide Levels

Simply put, some bad habits are detrimental to our NO production. This list is far from exhaustive, but some of those bad habits are poor sleep routines, being inactive, poor diet choices, and chronic stress. Adding more exercise, adding healthy food choices, and managing stress can all counteract these bad habits and improve nitric oxide levels.

It is important you are mindful of these bad habits, and avoid them whenever possible to ensure optimal nitric oxide levels and optimal overall health.


Nitric oxide deficiencies

Nitric Oxide Deficiency Symptoms To Watch For

Nitric Oxide (NO) is a molecule produced by nearly every cell in the human body. It is vital to numerous functions such as circulation, digestion, and energy production. NO is also responsible for intracellular communication, which is essential for cellular processes to be successful. A commonly accepted fact is that nitric oxide production naturally declines as we get older. Furthermore, many people are still unfamiliar with all the health benefits associated with NO. So if you are reading this, you’re off to a good start! We want to be mindful of nitric oxide deficiency so we can implement measures to bring them back up as needed. Plenty of research shows that nitric oxide deficiency is linked to numerous health problems. Therefore, you need to know how to combat this deficiency when it occurs.


What Is NO Exactly?

Nitric oxide is a gas produced in blood vessel linings. Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, meaning it relaxes and widens the blood vessels. This allows more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered more efficiently throughout the body. This vasodilation also lowers your blood pressure, decreasing the risk of cardiovascular issues, hypertension, and heart disease. NO is so important to the body because it serves a role in so many functions.

Nitric oxide levels affect muscle soreness, digestion, cognitive health, vision, sexual health, and help cells communicate with one another. Because it is so vital to so many body functions, things can go wrong rapidly when nitric oxide levels get too low.


Causes of Nitric Oxide Deficiency

Like I already said, age causes the decline of nitric oxide production naturally. However, other factors can speed up nitric oxide deficiency as well. Some of these other factors are:


  • A sub-optimal diet with low amounts of nitrates and other nitric oxide precursors.
  • Vices such as excessive smoking.
  • A sedentary lifestyle.
  • Consumption of foods and medications that inhibit NO production.
  • The use of items such as mouthwash and hand washes that kill bacteria that aid in nitric oxide production.

As nitric oxide deficiency becomes more apparent, health problems will be more noticeable. Heart disease and other cardiovascular problems can begin as NO production decreases. Blood flow regulation is immensely important for our bodies to function optimally, so NO is vital to our health.


Nitric Oxide Deficiency Symptoms To Look For

Now that we have a small understanding of what we have to lose when NO production falls, let’s look at some of the symptoms associated with low nitric oxide levels so we can know when to take action.


1. Frequent Stress

In today’s world, stress is inevitable to a degree. The problem comes when it occurs too frequently and we do nothing to combat it. As stress sets in, you may notice an elevated heart rate, constricted blood vessels, mood swings, low energy, changes in appetite, and more. This chronic stress also leads to the activation of your sympathetic nervous system, or your Fight, Flight, or Freeze Response. When this occurs, your body releases a cocktail of hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Prolonged durations in this state are not good for the body.

While many factors can contribute to chronic stress, a little-known factor is nitric oxide deficiency. So when stress occurs, something we can control is how we respond. Here are a few activities you can do when stressed that will boost your nitric oxide levels:


  • Eating some foods rich in NO boosters like nitrates, L-arginine, and L-citrulline
  • Exercising
  • Practicing nose breathing techniques
  • Meditation


2. Poor Sleep

This problem is not fully researched yet, but there was a 2006 study that linked nitric oxide as a sleep facilitator. Reduced NO levels were found to impact insomnia and other sleep problems. Furthermore, recovery sleep was also seen to be reduced when NO levels were low. While more research is needed, there is evidence showing NO production is linked to sleep problems.

With this in mind, a few things we can do to boost our NO levels before bed:


  • Taking an NO booster supplement before bed
  • Nose breathing and other deep breathing exercises before bed


3. Vision Problems

Struggling to see things too close or too far away? A nitric oxide deficiency might be to blame. It should be stated that vision problems do not immediately mean you have a NO deficiency. Vision does naturally decline as we age so if you are older, there could be something else at work. However, there is no harm in boosting your NO levels if you are experiencing vision problems as a precaution.

Nitric oxide can help vision problems because NO helps regulate intraocular pressure. NO does this by helping regulate the flow of eye fluid. It is this flow of eye fluid that affects the intraocular pressure. A nitric oxide deficiency can make this eye flow less effective. This ineffectiveness can lead to developing poor vision and other eye problems. Consuming a nitrate or other NO precursor-rich diet as well as finding a high-quality NO boosting supplement can help keep your intraocular pressure in check.


4. Memory Loss

Do you frequently misplace your keys and cannot remember where you last had them? Constantly forgetting items on that to-do list you’ve looked at a billion times? We are all a little forgetful at times, but when memory loss becomes more frequent and severe, a nitric oxide deficiency might have something to do with it. Nitric oxide deficiency is linked to cognitive problems such as dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases. Yes, memory can dull with age, but if you or those close to you notice more memory loss, it will not hurt to boost your NO levels to be safe.


5. Lower Endurance and Stamina

Some of the health benefits associated with nitric oxide include improved exercise performance and increased stamina and endurance. With this in mind, if you are noticing a drop in endurance, it could be a nitric oxide deficiency. Studies link NO levels to exercise stamina. Lower NO has been linked to getting winded during a workout as well as increasing recovery time post-workout. While stress and other factors are certainly at play, you would do well to increase nitric oxide levels via diet and supplementation.


6. Fatigue and Low Energy

Have you ever had a day where you woke up after a solid 7-8 hours of sleep, and you still feel tired? You got up, got dressed, started moving around, got your cup of coffee, and still feel like you have no energy to get through the day? Don’t fret, it happens to the best of us. Low energy feels like you’re constantly sleepy or experiencing something similar to jet lag. Turns out, that low energy is linked to a nitric oxide deficiency.

As we age, we become more prone to fatigue, so it is important that we boost our nitric oxide levels when we experience fatigue and low energy just in case. Diet, exercise, and supplementation can also help improve energy levels.


7. Running Hotter Than Normal

Are you feeling a little hot? It could be a fever, or it could be your nitric oxide levels. When your nitric oxide levels are too low, you can experience a rise in your body’s baseline temperature. This is because when NO is low, the NO synthase inhibition present in the central nervous system causes your body temperature to rise. The intensity of this rise and fall in temperature from fluctuating nitric oxide levels will vary from person to person and the effects will be felt to varying degrees. So if you experience any feelings of being warmer than you think you should be, check your temp and then consume some nitric oxide boosters.


8. Stiffness

Have you noticed yourself feeling achy and stiff more often than usual despite no changes in your daily activity? If so, it could be a sign of low nitric oxide. A little soreness after a tough workout can be normal, but excessive soreness even days after a workout, or general lack of mobility and excessive body aches can be due to low NO. A healthy and functional body should rarely ache. To combat this, we want to improve blood flow so free radicals and lactic acid can be pushed out while oxygen and nutrients get pushed in.

Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, meaning it excels at widening blood vessels and enhancing blood flow efficiency. If you are noticing decreased movement capacity outside of an injury or explanation and excessive aches and pains, consider amping up your NO levels with a nitric oxide boosting meal or supplement to get those muscles some help.


Final Thoughts on Nitric Oxide Deficiency

Most of these nitric oxide deficiency symptoms are easy to spot and deal with. However, if you are uneducated on what nitric oxide is and how it affects the body, you might not even realize you are deficient in it. Low NO levels are something you can easily do something about on your own quickly. Making lifestyle changes through diet and exercise and engaging in NO boosting activities such as nose breathing will all help improve the symptoms of low nitric oxide levels. Knowing the signs will make it easier for you to take action, and every action taken positively impacts your health and quality of life. The list of symptoms above is far from exhaustive, but it gives you plenty of symptoms to be aware of.

If you notice any of these symptoms, implement the suggestions above and your nitric oxide levels can be restored. Nitric oxide deteriorates quickly, so consistent replacement is a must. If you have already optimized your diet and lifestyle to maximize your nitric oxide production, then look to supplementation.



Nose breathing is superior to mouth breathing

Nose Breathing: A Nitric Oxide Boosting Hack

Breathing is something we all do with little to no thought involved. We do not have to remind ourselves to breathe; we just do it. For most of our day-to-day lives, breathing requires no conscious effort. Be that as it may, paying attention to how you breathe is still important. This means paying attention to which method of breathing you use more: nose breathing or mouth breathing.

It is better for you to breathe through your nose rather than your mouth. Nose breathing is more natural and allows air inhaled to be used more efficiently. Even with this information easily accessible thanks to the internet, as many as half of all adults breathe through their mouths. This tendency to prefer mouth breathing leads to problems such as bad breath, dry mouth, and sub-optimal air utilization. Furthermore, mouth breathing can lead to sleeping problems. If you are at all concerned about your health, you know quality sleep is essential.

If you notice you favor mouth breathing over nose breathing, it might be time to go see your doctor and get to the root of the problem. By learning about and eliminating the cause of mouth breathing, you can learn to focus on nose breathing and reap those benefits.


How do nose breathing and mouth breathing differ?

As humans, we only have two methods for breathing available to us. The nose and the mouth are how we breathe. Both are connected to the throat, which is connected to our lungs. Even though both pathways lead to the same destination, there are still differences. Like with any fork in the road, the journey will look a little different depending on the path you take. Let’s explore more of what differences there are between nose breathing and mouth breathing.


What is mouth breathing?

The mouth is a very multi-functional tool. We use it to eat, drink, talk, spit, cough, whistle, and so much more. While we can use our mouths to breathe, it is not as optimized for breathing as the nose is. Mouth breathing does have its purpose, but usually due to some obstruction in the nasal pathway. Some reasons mouth breathing would be necessary include:


  • nasal congestion
  • deviated septum

Even if you have a good reason for breathing through your mouth, there are health risks involved. As you breathe through your mouth, your mouth becomes dry. This dry mouth can increase your risk of developing:


  • asthma
  • bad breath
  • tooth decay
  • dental issues such as gingivitis
  • sleeping disorders
  • poor concentration
  • teeth and jaw abnormalities

Mouth breathing has its place but should be used sparingly and only when necessary.


What is nose breathing?

The nose is specifically designed for breathing, so has many advantages over mouth breathing. Nose breathing can do things such as:


  • filter foreign substances
  • humidify inhaled air
  • increase oxygen uptake
  • improve lung capacity
  • slow down breathing
  • strengthen the diaphragm

These benefits are not all the benefits you can acquire through nose breathing but does serve to give you a general idea of nose breathing benefits.


How is nose breathing better than mouth breathing?

The nose is designed to improve the quality of air we inhale. The nose helps us breathe safely and efficiently. Our noses have a few key attributes that make them superior for breathing when compared to the mouth. Let’s take a look at some of these advantages the nose has over the mouth.


Humidifies inhaled air.

When we breathe in through our noses, the nose warms and moisturizes the air. This makes sure the air we take into our lungs is body temperature. This in turn makes the air easier for the lungs to use.


Filters out unwanted particles.

Our nose hairs act as a built-in filter. These hairs trap pollen, dust, allergens, and other unwanted particles and keep them from entering the lungs. Nose hairs can do this because they are coated with a thin layer of sticky mucus. Over time, you will sneeze out or swallow what was trapped in the nose. The nose also has cilia in it, which are microscopic hairs that keep particles away from the lungs.


Produces nitric oxide (NO).

This is the benefit I wanted to highlight. Nose breathing can help promote the production of nitric oxide in our bodies. During nasal breathing, the nose will release nitric oxide. Another benefit of breathing through the nose is that doing so allows us to breathe in slowly and deeply. This allows for more oxygen to be taken in deliberately when compared to the big gulps of the air we intake when we breathe through the mouth. Since we take in more air when we nose breathe, we increase the nitric oxide production potential when we nose breathe.

Nitric oxide is a vasodilator, which means it widens blood vessels when produced. Nose breathing allows more oxygen to be inhaled, and nitric oxide widens blood vessels. Put these together, and you have a recipe for promoting improved oxygen delivery and utilization throughout the body. Furthermore, nose breathing is something you can do today to improve your nitric oxide production without needing to add anything to your daily life like a new food or a new supplement.


How do we stop mouth breathing?

Remember, mouth breathing does have some benefits. Mouth breathing can be necessary when the nose is congested or injured. We also need to breathe through our mouths more when we are sick. Mouth breathing can also come in handy during strenuous work when our muscles need rapid bursts of oxygen. Nose breathing is more difficult during exercise, so mouth breathing is used to increase ventilation volume for increased oxygen levels.

However, mouth breathing is still inferior overall to nose breathing and there are multiple ways to decrease your mouth breathing. To promote more nasal breathing, figuring out why you mouth breathe is the necessary first step. For some, a visit to a sleep or breathing specialist might be needed. However, you can go through the following list of suspects and try to eliminate these common issues to improve your nose breathing.


Clear your nostrils.

This one is going to be helpful to the vast majority of readers. Obstructed airways are a major cause of mouth breathing. Cleaning out your nasal passages can help make nose breathing easier. Nasal irrigation via a neti pot is great for cleaning out the nasal passageways. A neti pot will flush out any trapped particles, thin out some mucus, and relieve congestion. All of these will make nose breathing easier. Neti pots are also useful for relieving symptoms of sinus infections, colds, and other illnesses associated with congestion.

Some other remedies for obstructed nostrils are eucalyptus oil and vapor rub. Both will help open up your airways and loosen up mucus. Rubbing vapor rub on your chest and/or adding eucalyptus oil to steaming water and breathing it in will both improve nasal breathing capacity.


Practice nose breathing.

If mouth breathing is more of a habit than a necessity, you just need to practice nose breathing to break that habit. You do this by being more mindful of your breathing patterns throughout the day.

Pay attention to how you are breathing. If you notice you are mouth breathing, redirect your breathing on the spot. Some nasal breathing exercises can also help improve nose breathing, and we will talk more about that soon.


Change how you sleep.

Some sleeping positions are better than others. Because of this, changing your sleeping position can improve both how you sleep and how you breathe. For many, the big culprit is sleeping on your back.

Sleeping on your back can cause mouth breathing because it causes upper airway resistance. This forces you to take heavier breaths. When you stop sleeping on your back, you can also reduce sleep apnea.

If you need to change your sleeping position, look into elevating your head above the rest of your body, or sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs to maintain a neutral spine. If you have the money to spare, an adjustable mattress would be a great investment as well. All of these sleep changes can make nose breathing easier.


How do we improve nose breathing?

If you have implemented the tactics above to decrease mouth breathing, you can still improve nose breathing using a variety of nose breathing exercises. Breathing exercises can improve not only your nose breathing but also your lung function and respiratory strength. Furthermore breathing exercises can reduce stress and anxiety. This requires practice and will take some time to feel natural, but if you stick to it you can vastly improve your nose breathing.

Let’s check out a couple of common breathing exercises you can start practicing even while you read this article.


Timed breathing.

This one is fantastic for slowing down your breathing and focuses on the proper technique of inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. Here is how it works:


  1. Inhale for 7 seconds through your nose at a steady pace.
  2. Hold your breath for 3 seconds.
  3. Exhale through your mouth for 4 seconds.

You can add time or decrease times spent inhaling, holding your breath, or exhaling as needed based on your current capacity. This exercise not only improves nose breathing but also works to improve your lung capacity as a whole. This exercise is my personal favorite because you can progress or scale the exercise as needed to start at a level suited for your capabilities and track improvements over time.


Belly breathing.

Abdominal breathing and diaphragmatic breathing are other terms for belly breathing. This involves taking slow and deep breaths through your nose. This exercise, like most breathing exercises, can be performed anywhere at any time. You can do this one lying down or seated, so get comfortable and give it a go. Here’s how to do it:


  1. Close your mouth. Put one hand on your belly and one on your chest.
  2. Breathe in slowly through your nose, letting the belly expand. Your chest should not move at all.
  3. Exhale slowly through the mouth and repeat.


The Takeaway

What you need to know is that nose breathing is better for you than mouth breathing. Nose breathing is healthier, safer, and more efficient for your body. Breathing through your nose can filter out unwanted particles, can boost your nitric oxide production, boost oxygen uptake, and humidity the air you breathe. Practice the techniques above and implement this little-known nitric oxide boosting hack today!



Take nitric oxide everyday

Can You Take Nitric Oxide Every Day?

Your nitric oxide (NO) levels are a determining factor for health you should not ignore. Nitric oxide is a neurotransmitting molecule that the body produces in various ways. However, NO is used just as rapidly as it is produced. So the answer to the question, “can you take nitric oxide every day?” is a loaded question. Yes, you certainly can, and probably should depending on a multitude of factors. We will explore why you should take nitric oxide each day. We will also explore the best times to boost NO production to optimize your well-being. So while the answer is yes, I implore you to read on to learn why you can and should take NO every day.


What is nitric oxide?

Nitric oxide is a molecule produced by almost every cell in the body. Common precursors used by the body to create nitric oxide are the amino acids L-citrulline and L-arginine, and nitrates. Nitric oxide is one of the most important molecules for our health. This is due to NO being a vasodilator, responsible for widening the blood vessels. This benefit allows for many of the other health benefits nitric oxide offers to take effect. NO has a hand in cognitive function, sexual health, heart health, muscle growth, and more. The accolades bestowed upon nitric oxide are well-deserved.


When should you take nitric oxide?

NO can be boosted in many ways. Exercise, exposure to sunlight, and nasal breathing are all helpful in promoting NO production. While there is hardly ever a bad time to boost your NO levels, some instances would be a higher priority over others. Some of these include:


  • Before exercising
  • After exercising
  • Any point when you need an energy boost
  • When experiencing high blood pressure
  • When experiencing certain heart problems
  • When recovery is needed rapidly

This list is not the end-all-be-all of circumstances where boosting NO would be beneficial, but it’s a good starting point. For many people, it will depend on what kind of individual you are. Are you an average joe? Are you an athlete? Perhaps you’re someone trying to combat hypertension? We will look at specific populations of people and determine when the best time to take nitric oxide is for them.


When should you take nitric oxide if you want to improve athletic performance?

For athletes or anyone looking to enhance their performance, boosting your NO with something like beetroot juice will improve your endurance and stamina. This will help you push through more intense workouts for longer. This will also improve strength training efforts and help out with muscle recovery after the workout. These benefits occur because NO helps make blood flow more efficient. This in turn allows more oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to the muscles.

If you want to boost your NO levels before a workout, the timetable will look different depending on your method. If you want to drink beetroot juice, you want to drink up around 2-3 hours before the workout to maximize the benefits. However, if you’re going to use a more natural supplement like eating specific fruits and vegetables, you should do so within 90 minutes of your workout.

Furthermore, increasing your NO consumption overall will improve your endurance over time. So if you are a cyclist, runner, or swimmer, chances are you will reap the most benefits from the endurance-enhancement NO consumption provides.


When should you take nitric oxide to reduce muscle soreness?

It’s pretty normal to feel sore and fatigued after a grueling workout session. This is just a normal response to inflammation in the muscles. The body is working to repair itself from the tearing of muscle fibers that occurs when you work out. To repair itself, the body sends blood, oxygen, and nutrients to the muscles so they can replenish their levels and recover the energy expended.


When should you take nitric oxide to boost energy?

Make no mistake, plenty of other factors influence your energy levels. A balanced diet and 7-8 hours of quality sleep are the most important things you can look at for enhancing your energy. If you have already optimized these factors, then you can see what NO has to offer for energy.

NO levels fluctuate based on the 24-hour light/dark cycle. Because of this, humans have adapted to this cycle with the help of neuromodulators. These neuromodulators are messengers released from a neuron that affects the transmission of the signals between neurons. Neuromodulators essentially respond to variation in the environment by sending signals between neurons. NO happens to be a neuromodulator tasked with helping our cells optimize energy usage based on the light cycle.

Nitric oxide levels are lowest first thing in the morning, so this is the best time to take a booster. Consuming NO boosters in the morning can improve energy levels throughout the day, and can help improve your circadian clock. This makes sleeping easier.


Other reasons to take nitric oxide

Nitric oxide has been linked to other benefits such as stress relief, lowering blood pressure, easing anxiety, and improving overall health. Let’s take a look at some of these other benefits and see when the best time to take NO is for them.


Stress relief

NO boosting activities can be used to reduce stress. This requires you to do more than just drink a juice or take a capsule. This requires you to engage in exercises such as nose breathing. This works because nose breathing stimulates the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is responsible for activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for making you calm and restful. As the parasympathetic nervous system is activated, your stress levels will drop. As a bonus, nose breathing boosts NO production via paranasal sinuses as you inhale.

How do we do this? Listed below are two common nose breathing practices you can use to reduce stress.


  1. Timed Breathing. For this, start by inhaling through your nose for seven seconds at a steady pace. Hold your breath for about three seconds, and exhale through your mouth for four seconds. Repeat this for a few minutes. This exercise will boost your nitric oxide as well as relieve stress by slowing down your breathing rate.
  2. Belly Breathing. For this, start by placing one hand on your belly and one hand on your chest. Breathe in deeply through your nose into your belly until it cannot expand anymore. Then exhale through your mouth. Your chest should not move during this exercise.

Both of these exercises encourage nose breathing, so will boost your NO levels as well as ease your stress if you do them for a few minutes each day.


Anxiety symptom relief

As some of you might know, anxiety is a broad term with many symptoms associated with it. Some that are prevalent include elevated heart rate, rapid breathing, and overall feelings of stress and tension. Similar to the stress exercises above, nose breathing exercises can minimize some of these anxiety symptoms. Here are a couple of things you can do that will boost your nitric oxide levels and ease your anxiety symptoms:


  1. Each day, set aside a few minutes each morning to practice deep breathing (inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth). This engages the parasympathetic nervous system and boosts NO levels. You can use the exercises above or Google a few other options as well.
  2. Walk around outside for roughly 20 minutes. Exposure to sunlight helps to boost our body’s ability to produce nitric oxide. Furthermore, exposure to sunlight increases vitamin D production and releases serotonin. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects mood and other processes. Low serotonin levels have been linked to increased anxiety.

As a note, do not forget that quality sleep, a balanced diet, and exercise can also have a positive impact on both stress and anxiety.


Improving overall health

To improve your overall health, you can maximize your NO levels. You can do this by adding in activities and supplements throughout the day that can optimize your nitric oxide and provide you with consistent levels throughout the day. Consistent NO levels will maximize all the benefits NO provides our bodies. Below will be the best times of the day to engage in NO boosting and how you can do it.


First thing in the morning


  • nose breathing exercises
  • exercise
  • NO booster supplement




  • Sunlight exposure
  • exercise
  • NO boosting lunch (leafy greens, beets, fruits, etc.)
  • NO boosting supplement




  • NO rich dinner
  • nose breathing exercises
  • NO boosting supplement before bed


The Takeaway

With so many nitric oxide boosters and activities at our disposal, it is easier than ever to reach and maintain optimal NO levels. To keep those levels high, daily boosting is encouraged. How you do so will be individually goal-based. You engage in the boosters and activities that you will enjoy and stick to consistently. So with all the benefits we know nitric oxide provides, we can definitely say you can take nitric oxide every day.