Nitric oxide is your new best friend as you go through the menopausal transition. This gas – which is produced by cells in the brain, blood, blood vessels and lungs– may prolong your life and fortify your body against environmental stress.
What Is Nitric Oxide?
Nitric oxide is a gas that is made by the body using two amino acids. The first is arginine, which can be found in fresh vegetables, garlic, green tea, meats, grains and fish. The second is citrulline, which can be found in watermelon, cucumbers and other melons.
This gas relaxes blood vessel walls, thus allowing more blood to move through them. “In the heart, nitric oxide is the body’s way of protecting against cardiovascular disease,” said Dr. Louis Ignarro, a professor of the UCLA Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology and a co-recipient of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Medicine. “The arteries make nitric oxide to lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to organs because it is a vaso-dialator, which means it widens or relaxes the arteries so that more blood can flow through, therefore lowering the pressure within the arterial system.”
Nitric oxide collaborates with anticoagulants to avoid the release of free radicals and to curb potentially serious conditions such as strokes, inflammation and tumors. New neural connections also are created through the release of this gas into the blood stream. Finally, this gas shifts your energy and results in relaxation.
However, it’s also possible to deplete nitric oxide through remaining angry, fearful or in grief, according to Dr. Christiane Northrup in her new book, “Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being.” Chronic levels of these stressful emotions actually hurt the lining of your blood vessels and disrupt their ability to create nitric oxide.
Pleasure = Nitric Oxide
And the best part – nitric oxide can be generated during pleasure. While you can take supplements of citrulline and arginine, there are other natural ways you can help your body produce nitric oxide. Here are some options:
- Exercise: “Physical activity is the most important way the body makes nitric oxide,” Dr. Ignarro said. “When you exercise, the heart beats faster and stronger, increasing blood flow through the arteries, which stimulates nitric oxide production.”
- Eating foods – especially fruits and vegetables – that are high in antioxidants.
Here’s to more pleasure in your life_Other Shareposts You Might Like:_
‘Counter Clockwise’ Offers Thought-Provoking View of Healthy Aging
Functional Exercise Can Help Make Aging Easier
The Key to Successful Aging
Primary Sources for This Sharepost:
Bezaitis, A. (2009). How Nitric Oxide Maintains Health. USC News.
Northrup, C. (2015). Goddesses Never Age: The Secret Prescription for Radiance, Vitality, and Well-Being. Hay House.
Science Daily. (2013). Nitric oxide: A little molecule’s remarkable feat – prolonging life, worm study shows.
Wolf, M. (2015). Foods Containing L-Citrulline. Livestrong.com.
Dorian Martin writes about various topics for HealthCentral, including Alzheimer’s disease, diet/exercise, menopause and lung cancer. Dorian is a health and caregiving advocate living in College Station, TX. She has a Ph.D. in educational human resource development. Dorian also founded I Start Wondering, which encourages people to embrace a life-long learning approach to aging. She teaches Sheng Zhen Gong, a form of Qigong. Follow Dorian on Twitter at @dorianmartin, Facebook or Instagram at @doriannmartin.