Nitric Oxide: The New Hero of Human Biology

As it turns out, additional exercise has more benefits than just getting you into shape quicker. While a few more lifts or another push-up or two might get you that satisfying burning feeling of obliterating those pesky calories, recent studies show that intense training significantly increase the body’s natural secretion of Nitric Oxide, a gaseous signaling molecule that is generated naturally in most mammals, humans included, but at low quantities. Nitric Oxide is a very versatile substance, and is key in numerous crucial bodily functions. Nitric Oxide also has countless health benefits, both on the long and short term. One of the substance’s main spheres of influence is the circulatory system, as Nitric Oxide has significant cardiovascular functions. One of these, if not the most important, is its contribution to the prevention of heart diseases.

Nitric Oxide: The New Hero of Human Biology | Psychology TodayA researcher from a notable university shared his team’s findings, which indicate that Nitric Oxide’s presence, or absence, can have very long-reaching effects. Nitric Oxide is an antiatherogenic, but only slightly. Despite this, it is important for the health of our circulatory system because, as it is naturally secreted, it is present constantly, and therefore its effects are significant. Your diet, exercise regiment and general amount of stress all contribute to a fourty year process, of which Nitric Oxide is a key element. Increased amount and intensity of exercise can significantly increase your body’s capacity to generate Nitric Oxide, by increasing the amount of the substance’s respective synthase enzyme, which is responsible for converting the amino acid L-arginine into the precious sought after Nitric Oxide.

The researchers have determined in their preliminary report that the beneficial and preventative effects of Nitric Oxide can be best seen in individuals classified as “at-risk”, meaning they are more susceptible to heart disease than others. This was proven by the increased reactivity in brachial arteries shown in blood tests done after a work out session. This increase, in some cases, could almost reach a doubling. This proved that those closer to developing heart disease will derive more benefits from additional exercise, though it is still very helpful for everyone.

healthy_heartTo help you to better understand how exactly Nitric Oxide helps in the prevention of heart disease, let us explain. Additional training of increased intensity will significantly boost Nitric Oxide amounts in what is called the endothelium, which is what lines the walls of your arteries. A pre-symptom of heart disease in many cases is damage to this lining. Nitric Oxide, when introduced to the blood, keeps red blood cells apart, preventing them from aggregating, which stops them from getting stuck on the walls of the vessel. Another function of Nitric Oxide is the control of vascular tone, which enables the relaxed arteries to remain clean.

Since this plethora of beneficial effects has been discovered, Nitric Oxide is looked upon as something of a “hero” in the medical world. While it wasn’t always so, the true benefits of Nitric Oxide were a discovery so substantial, that it won the scientists a Nobel Prize.