Nitric Oxide

Nitric Oxide is a simple molecule, made up of one part nitrogen and one part oxygen. Scientists and researchers around the globe have been astonished by the seemingly limitless list of the functions of Nitric Oxide in the body. “In my 25 years of research, I have never seen a molecule that so pervasively influences normal and abnormal body functions,” said Dr. Solomon Snyder, the director of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins Medical School.

Despite the significance of this molecule, Nitric Oxide is relatively unknown outside the medical research community. Nitric Oxide is a highly reactive gas that is naturally produced in the human body. Nitric Oxide is the most important signaling molecule in the body. It affects a wide range of physiological functions including circulation, inflammation, learning and memory, digestion, penile erection, and oxygen release in tissues from red blood cells. It plays a significant role in many important chemical reactions. Sadly, most people are deficient in the natural production of Nitric Oxide required to maintain optimal health. With today’s fast-paced lifestyle and factors like lack of exercise, poor diet, soil mineral depletion, cigarette smoke, and other air pollutants, the need for higher levels of Nitric Oxide in humans is of critical importance.

Scientifically speaking, Nitric Oxide can be produced in the body through the process of converting L-arginine (one of the 20 amino acids) into citrulline. However, more and more research suggests that L-arginine has potentially negative side effects. Additionally, many co-factors are required to convert L-arginine into Nitric Oxide. Alternatively, Nitric Oxide can be produced more efficiently from substances know as nitrates and nitrites found in plants like Morinda Citrofolia (noni).

During 1999 and 2000, Dr. Thomas Burke and his researchers at Integrated Systems Physiology, an independent lab in Denver, Colorado, conducted in vitro experiments. They tested diluted noni juice on endothelial cells, the cells that line the inner surface of blood vessels proving that noni fruit juice created Nitric Oxide! Their findings suddenly helped to explain the enormous benefits people were seeing from their consumption of noni juice.

In my 25 years of research, I have never seen a molecule [like Nitric Oxide] that so pervasively influences normal and abnormal body functions.” -Dr. Solomon Snyder, Director of Neuroscience, John Hopkins Medical School

Additional Benefits of Nitric Oxide

Nitric Oxide positively affects nearly every system in the body, promoting better health and wellness. Well-documented as a vasodilator, Nitric Oxide expands the blood vessels, resulting in improved cardiovascular heath. But that’s just the beginning. Look at how many more ways Nitric Oxide can benefit the human body…

  • Help cells burn more fat
  • Promotes wound healing
  • Reduces pain
  • Encourages lung health
  • Inhibits viruses and bacteria
  • Improves digestive function
  • Provides restful sleep
  • Maintains healthy blood sugar levels

Fact: If you cut off the oxygen to the heart, the heart will suffer irreversible damage or cell death in 5-7 minutes. If you terminate nitric oxide, it takes only 10-15 seconds.

Studies on Nitric Oxide

McKnight, et al. “Chemical Synthesis of Nitric Oxide in the stomach from dietary nitrate in humans.” Gut. 1997 Feb; 40 (2):211-4.

GUO, et al. “Identification of a plant Nitric Oxide synthase gene involved in hormonal signaling.” Science, 2003 Oct 3; 302(5642):100-3.

Del Rio, L., Corpas, F. and Barrosos, J. “Nitric Oxide and Nitric Oxide synthase activity in plants.” Phytochemistry 2004 Apr; 65(7):783-92

Schaffer, et al. “Nitric Oxide regulates wound healing.” J Surg Res. 1996; 63: 237-240

Taubert, et al. “Aspirin induces Nitric Oxide release from vascular endothelium: a novel mechanism of action.” British Journal of Pharmacology 2004; 143: 159-165.

Hancock, C. and Riegger-Krugh, C. “Modulation of pain in osteoarthritis: the role of nitric oxide.” Clin J Pain. 2008 May;24(4):353-65.

Jeschonneck, et al. “Abnormal microcirculation and temperature in skin above tender points in patients with fibromyalgia.” Rheumatology (Oxford). 2000; 39:917-921

Akerstrom, et al.,“Nitric Oxide inhibits the replication cycle of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus.” Center for Microbiological Preparedness, Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control. J Virol. 2005 Feb;79(3):1966-9.

Nitric oxide: From menace to marvel of the decade

Reproductive and Cardiovascular Disease Research Group

Arthritis Research & Therapy

UC Irvine researchers reveal structure of molecule that regulates blood pressure

The Building Blocks of Erection: Nitric Oxide . . . and More Nitric Oxide

Spiraling high blood pressure linked to Nitric Oxide deficiency

Nitric Oxide prevents blood vessel inflammation

Nitric oxide links bulk of sporadic and familial Parkinson's Disease

Study Points to Role of Nitric Oxide in New Treatments for Sickle Cell Anemia

Cortical feedback to the thalamus is selectively enhanced by nitric oxide.

Nitric Oxide Deficiency Raises Cardiovascular Disease Risk in African Americans

Study: Nitric Oxide Key to Brain 'Booting Up'

Heart Disease Risk Factor #1: Nitric Oxide

Nitric Oxide Converted in the Stomach
McKnight, G.M., et al., "Chemical synthesis of Nitric Oxide in the stomach from dietary nitrate in humans." Gut. 1997; 40: 211-4.

Nitric Oxide and the Blood
"Duke researchers discover central role of Nitric Oxide in hemoglobin action." Duke Medicine News and Communication. 3 Nov. 2004.

Gladwin, M., et al. “Role of circulating nitrite and S-nitrosohemoglobin in the regulation of regional blood flow in humans.” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2000 Oct. 10; 97(21): 11482-7.

Blood flow and Alzheimer’s
Mazza, M., et al., “Primary cerebral blood flow deficiency and Alzheimer's disease: shadows and lights.” J Alzheimers Dis. 2011 Jan 1;23(3):375-89.

Bone Health
Health News Report “Exercise and Vitamin D Help Prevent Falls in Seniors.” 2010 Dec 23.

Nazrun, A.S., M. Norazlina, M. Norliza and S.I. Nirwana, 2011. Tocotrienols as an anti-osteoporotic agent: The progress so far. Int. J. Osteoporosis Metab. Disorders, 1: 1-14.

"Nitric oxide: novel therapy for osteoporosis." Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2008 Dec;9(17):3025-44.

Nitric Oxide and Recovery
Diwan, A., et al.“Nitric Oxide modulates fracture healing.” J Bone Miner Res. 2000 Feb;15(2):342-51.