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Want More Efficient Muscles? Eat Your Spinach

ScienceDaily (Feb. 4, 2011) ó After taking a small dose of inorganic nitrate for three days, healthy people consume less oxygen while riding an exercise bike. A new study in the February issue of Cell Metabolism traces that improved performance to increased efficiency of the mitochondria that power our cells.

The researchers aren't recommending anyone begin taking inorganic nitrate supplements based on the new findings. Rather, they say that the results may offer one explanation for the well-known health benefits of fruits and vegetables, and leafy green vegetables in particular.

"We're talking about an amount of nitrate equivalent to what is found in two or three red beetsor a plate of spinach," said Eddie Weitzberg of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden. "We know that diets rich in fruits and vegetables can help prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes but the active nutrients haven't been clear. This shows inorganic nitrate as a candidate to explain those benefits."

In fact, up until recently nitrate wasn't thought to have any nutritional value at all. It has even been suggested that this component of vegetables might be toxic. But Weitzberg and his colleague Jon Lundberg earlier showed that dietary nitrate feeds into a pathway that produces nitric oxide with the help of friendly bacteria found in our mouths. Nitric oxide has been known for two decades as a physiologically important molecule. It opens up our blood vessels to lower blood pressure, for instance.

The new study offers yet another benefit of nitrate and the nitric oxides that stem from them. It appears that the increased mitochondrial efficiency is owed to lower levels of proteins that normally make the cellular powerhouses leaky. "Mitochondria normally aren't fully efficient," Weitzberg explained. "No machine is."

Questions do remain. The new results show that increased dietary nitrate can have a rather immediate effect. But it's not yet clear what might happen in people who consume higher levels of inorganic nitrate over longer periods of time. Weitzberg says it will be a natural next step to repeat the experiment in people with conditions linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease, to see if they too enjoy the benefits of nitrates.

"Among the more consistent findings from nutritional research are the beneficial effects of a high intake of fruit and vegetables in protection against major disorders such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes," the researchers concluded. "However, the underlying mechanism(s) responsible for these effects is still unclear, and trials with single nutrients have generally failed. It is tempting to speculate that boosting of the nitrate-nitrite-NO pathway may be one mechanism by which vegetables exert their protective effects."

As an interesting aside, Weitzberg says that the benefits of dietary nitrates suggest that powerful mouthwashes may have a downside. "We need oral bacteria for the first step in nitrate reduction," he says. "You could block the effects of inorganic nitrate if you use a strong mouthwash or spit [instead of swallowing your saliva]. In our view, strong mouthwashes are not good if you want this system to work."


Story Source:http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110201122226.htm

Journal Reference:

  1. Filip J. Larsen, Tomas A. Schiffer, Sara Borniquel, Kent Sahlin, BjŲrn Ekblom, Jon O. Lundberg, Eddie Weitzberg.Dietary Inorganic Nitrate Improves Mitochondrial Efficiency in Humans. Cell Metabolism, 2011; 13 (2): 149-159 DOI: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.01.004

 Dr. Walker's juice combination for blood disorders is carrot/spinach



Whatís the BUZZ about Nitric Oxide?

by Gayle Eversole, from herbalYODA Says!  Volume 6, Number 6, November 2010


Several months ago I was reading up on an old study that involved a doctor who decided that he would try to see what health benefits he would gain if he took arginine.


This doctor was followed by a fellow physician who, over many years, dutifully monitored his cardiovascular status.  The outcome was that year after year the doctor taking arginine had whistle-clean arteries.


Much has been said about using arginine in cases of ED (erectile dysfunction) and to increase growth hormone release.


Exercise is a better and supplement free way to increase growth hormone levels.  In exercise and athletics arginine has been found to enhance the production of nitric oxide in the body which may boost stamina during high-intensity exercise.  This report was based on a study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.  Findings of the study suggest that the supplement can help athletes to exercise up to 20 percent longer.  For quite a few years, performance athletes have favored nitric oxide supplementation.


Arginine helps clear out ammonia build up and is part of what makes creatine, L-glutamate, and L-proline.  It can be converted to glucose and glycogen if needed in physiological emergencies.

Citrulline, another natural amino acid, creates arginine in the urea cycle, which then creates Nitric Oxide.

Some practitioners use arginine to help with atherosclerosis.  It was just this reason that instigated the study between the two doctors.

Nitric Oxide is important for longevity.  It is a molecule produced in the body that helps blood vessels relax and expand. It carries oxygen to the tissues and your cells.  Because it is produced when you relax, this may explain why you feel your hands getting warm when you practice relaxation or meditation.  This process also helps reduce stress and may lead to a better supply of oxygen because of a more relaxed state and deeper breathing.  Lower blood pressure often results from relaxed states.

Dr Matthias Rath is well known for his use of arginine and other amino acids like proline and lysine for cardiovascular health. More from Dr Rath may be found here- Dr Rath Foundation, and his research organization.

Recently, TVís Dr. Oz suggested it may be useful in reducing hormone-driven fat build up in the belly of menopausal women.

Intermittent claudication, a condition related with muscle pain (ache, cramp, numbness or fatigue) in the calf, occurs during exercise and is usually relieved by short rest periods.  It (IC) also may cause night time leg cramps Nitric oxide and arginine supplements have been used for these conditions.

Wondering if you have low arginine levels? You may have if you show poor wound healing, hair loss, skin rash, constipation, and fatty liver.  Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid because its normally synthesized in sufficient amounts by the body.  Supplementation is sometimes used for inborn errors of urea synthesis, protein malnutrition, excessive lysine intake, burns, peritoneal dialysis, and rapid growth. 

Arginine is generally not suggested for use in people who have suffered a heart attack.

Diet and Lifestyle helps you maintain nitric oxide levels.

Iíve mentioned exercise, but these foods can help too. 

According to a report published in Science of Food and Agriculture the best foods to increase nitric oxide are celery, watercress, chervil, lettuce, red beets, spinach and arugula.

Good foods are parsley, leek, kohlrabi, fennel, endive, Chinese cabbage, and celery root.

You can get some nitric oxide from cabbage, dill, turnip, Savoy cabbage, broccoli, carrot, cauliflower, cucumber, pumpkin, chicory, artichoke, asparagus, broad beans, eggplant, garlic, onion, green beans, mushrooms, peas, peppers, potato, summer squash, sweet potato, tomato, and watermelon.

Aging reduces the availability of nitric oxide.  If this is a health concern of yours you may want to change your exercise plan, add some of the above referenced foods to your food plan, or use a supplement like NEO40 from Neogenis Lab. 

In discussions I have had with a representative of Neogenis Labs I learned that the NEO40 daily lozenges contain several nitric oxide generating ingredients.  Their formula contains vitamin C, vitamin B12, Magnesium, Citrulline, a proprietary blend of Hawthorn and beetroot, and Xylitol.

Because this product also contains sodium nitrite, the company states:

Scientific and medical literature supports that nitrite, under conditions that promote Nitric Oxide formation, is healthy and beneficial. Under conditions that promote nitrosation, there is equivocal evidence that may be associated with some cancers, at very high doses. Interestingly, there have been published reports that show that low concentrations of nitrite that can be found in biological tissues can actually kill cancer cells.  

Neo40 Daily was formulated to promote Nitric Oxide formation from nitrite. Neogenis Labs has used natural sources of nitrate and botanicals that have a robust nitrite reductase activity along with the most potent nitrosation inhibitors. This creates a formulation that promotes Nitric Oxide formation without any nitrosation reactions taking place.  As with anything, we have to define the context for risk vs. benefit. The formulation of Neo40 Daily has taken into account that context and as a result, the product is extremely safe, effective and the only one of its kind to restore Nitric Oxide homeostasis in humans.

You can get test strips from this company to test for your level of Nitric Oxide.

Whatever choice you make, nitric oxide and its pals seem worthy of considering for your good health.

Make sure you consult with your health care provider of choice to discuss your selection of nutritional supplements or herbs.  And remember we are offering this newsletter as an educational resource only.

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