What are the symptoms of low nitric oxide?
If your nitric oxide levels are low, you might experience one or more of the following signs (5,6,7,8):
- High blood pressure or hypertension
- Chronic fatigue
- Erectile dysfunction (if you are a male)
- Insomnia and sleep issues
- Reduced endurance and stamina
Additionally, if you have a diet that is low in nutrients and protein, or frequently take antacids or proton-pump inhibitors, you may be more likely to have low nitric oxide production.
Nitric oxide is still a relatively new addition to the heart health conversation, and there are no tests that directly measure nitric oxide levels. Testing for overall endothelial function may provide some estimate of your nitric oxide production capability.
Explore cardiovascular testing with CentreSpringMD.
How to increase nitric oxide naturally – 4 easy ways
Eat foods with high nitric oxide
Some plant foods contain nitrates which are then efficiently converted to nitric oxide in the body.
One review concluded that since beetroot is so accessible and inexpensive and could greatly decrease the risk of cardiovascular events, that “beetroot juice supplementation should be promoted as a key component of a healthy lifestyle to control blood pressure in healthy and hypertensive individuals”(9) Other foods that contain nitrates are celery, spinach, and arugula.
Get more vitamin C
Antioxidants like vitamin C help to extend the life of nitric oxide in the bloodstream. Because nitric oxide is actually an unstable molecule, it degrades quickly, so it must be constantly recharged.
One way to slow its breakdown is by consuming antioxidants like vitamins A, C, & E, selenium, and polyphenols from fruits & vegetables.
Take supplements that boost nitric oxide production
Nitric oxide boosting supplements don’t contain nitric oxide itself, but precursors that increase your body’s production of nitric oxide. These include:
- Beetroot powder
- The amino acids l-citrulline and l-arginine
Exercise keeps your endothelial cells and blood vessels healthy by increasing your body’s natural ability to produce nitric oxide.
Get heart healthy with functional medicine
A heart-healthy diet & lifestyle helps maximize nitric oxide production and supports optimal cardiovascular health. For more in depth testing and evaluation to be proactive about long-term cardiovascular function, your CentreSpringMD provider may also recommend:
- Genetic testing (CIMT, MTHFR)
- Inflammation markers like hs-CRP
- Cholesterol testing
- Diet & lifestyle evaluation
- Gut & liver function analysis
Contact a patient care coordinator to discuss testing options.
To protect your cardiovascular health, your practitioner will look at potential genetic factors, as well as lifestyle, dietary, and environmental factors that may be contributing to your overall risk for heart disease, stroke, and high cholesterol.