Nitric Oxide – Which is Best, Food or Supplements?
Dr. Rainer Boger, M.D.
(Arginine researcher for over 28 years.)
Dr. Boger, M.D. gives us the science and facts on Nitric Oxide production from the Food We Eat VS Cardio Wellness for the treatment of Cardiovascular Disease and the Endothelium.

It’s correct that (animal protein and oils) hurts the inner lining of the blood vessels – the vascular endothelium. Every time we eat this food, the normal function of the endothelium is destroyed. It recovers within several hours at the beginning, but through the years this recovery is not completely back to a healthy function any longer, and over time there is an almost complete loss of function.

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The major function of the endothelium is to promote VASODILATION (the widening of the blood vessels to let more blood pass through to the organs and tissues). Researchers have shown that many patients with heart disease do not respond by vasodilation when the endothelium is activated, but by vasoconstriction – an even further narrowing of the arteries that may lead to angina pectoris or even heart attack. This is the consequence of years and decades of eating animal protein, smoking, and having high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol.

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In a controlled study, researchers from Germany have tested what a single regular McDonald’s fast food meal can do to the endothelium.

They found a reduction by one third of normal endothelial function even after one single meal.

Now, consider eating this type of food once or several times daily, year in, year out … Interestingly, even a vegetarian McDonald’s burger meal with orange juice instead of soft drink caused a 22% reduction of endothelial function.

Why does this problem of reduced ability of the vascular endothelium to widen our arteries exist?

This is a process that has many reasons: Smoking, high cholesterol, high blood pressure are just the most obvious risk factors that damage our blood vessel endothelium.

Other factors are. . .

Bad dietary habits with too much animal protein, overweight, lack of exercise, mental stress, and so on. All of these factors accumulate over the years to cause one unifying pathology: endothelial dysfunction. And this endothelial dysfunction is being recognized now in cardiology as the major cause of heart disease.

Quite obviously after years of exposure to risk factors and wrong dietary habits, it is especially prevalent in people at an advanced age that show impaired capacity of the endothelium to perform vasodilation.

In a clinical study with people at the age of over 70 years, the ability of the endothelium to widen the arteries was massively reduced as compared to young individuals. Interestingly and very clearly, this deficit was based on a lack of L-Arginine. The older people had high levels of ADMA (the destructive molecule that causes cardiovascular disease) and quite low levels of L-Arginine. When they received a dietary supplement with L-Arginine, vasodilation was rapidly restored.

This scientific finding contradicts, the ridicules rumors spread on the internet that L-Arginine might not work in people of advanced age.

This is wrong! To the contrary, lack of L-Arginine is the one reason for endothelial dysfunction in elderly people!

The body loses its ability to build Nitric Oxide from L-Arginine with advancing age. The problem is not that the body cannot convert L-Arginine into Nitric Oxide anymore, as many self-declared “experts” believe – those who really performed the studies and gathered the scientific facts know that people at advanced age tend to have a lack of L-Arginine or too much of ADMA – which blocks L-Arginine from being converted to Nitric Oxide. Both too little L-Arginine and too much ADMA therefore have the same biological effects on the body’s endothelial dysfunction and vascular narrowing. And this can be overcome by L-Arginine in the most specific way.

Some people claim that you can supply your body with enough L-Arginine by eating a vegetarian diet. We have gathered the information here on which foods have the highest L-Arginine content. This is publicly available information that everyone can check on the internet. However, we have gone one step further here: We have done the calculation how much of a specific food you would need to eat every day in order to ingest a reasonable dose of 6 g of L-Arginine. And further, we have also calculated how many calories this would bring along. Just remember that a normal healthy adult person is supposed to need about 2,000 calories per day. The following table shows the numbers:

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The above table shows you that there are indeed foods that contain a lot of L-Arginine, like different kinds of nuts, seafood, and beef. However, most of these foods also contain high amounts of calories, and if you eat enough of one of these foods to cover your daily optimum of 6g of L-Arginine, about half of your daily caloric allowance is already covered by this. In the case of edam cheese, you cannot eat anything else than 582 grams of edam cheese, because with this you can cover your daily arginine needs, but you are beyond your caloric limit already!

In short, it is impossible to eat enough regular foods to consume as much L-Arginine as you would with a dietary supplement like Arginine Miracle.

And, by the way, the recommended dose of 2 x 3 of Arginine Miracle per day contains just about 30 calories – it gives you the freedom to eat what you want.

Therefore, a dietary supplement like Arginine Miracle can be supported by a healthy diet in fact, a healthy diet is really the basis for healthy aging. But the supplement cannot be substituted for by just a vegetarian diet. It simply isn’t enough to supply your body with the amount of L-Arginine it needs at advanced age or any age.

Others aggressively promote dietary supplements containing beet root and other plant sources of nitrites.

The reason for this is that Swedish researchers have shown that nitrites can be converted by the saliva in the mouth to Nitric Oxide, and they therefore believe that nitrite-supplying plant products are a specific source of Nitric Oxide. Some even argue that beet root extract is much stronger than L-Arginine, because L-Arginine cannot be converted to Nitric Oxide in advanced age. Well, we and others have proven the opposite in our studies.

Further, no one can answer my question, why it is good to have a mouth full of Nitric Oxide? If I have a lack of Nitric Oxide in my arteries that has nothing to do with Nitric Oxide in my mouth! They never converge!

Nitric Oxide has an extremely short-lived existence in the body: Once built, it only lives for a few seconds until it is destroyed again. This is reasonable, because Nitric Oxide is a molecule by which the body can adjust blood flow extremely quickly – by increasing Nitric Oxide formation, and by quickly destroying it again.

IMPORTANT: Nitric Oxide does not live long enough to be carried from the mouth into the arteries. The only means of increasing Nitric Oxide formation where it is needed (i.e., in the arteries) is by increasing Nitric Oxide production in the endothelium itself. And this is by L-Arginine, no other way is possible.

In summary, there are arguments that favor a vegetarian diet (less cholesterol, more dietary fibers, etc.) for health. But regular food – be it vegetarian, meat, or seafood – is certainly not a means to cover the amount of L-Arginine that is required for heart health. And other alternatives that are being promoted in the internet and by the media, like nitrites and beet root, do not act specifically to increase Nitric Oxide in the arteries.

Remember, Nitric Oxide is a powerful molecule that may exert other, unwanted effects if released in places where it is not needed!

For example, sepsis is a severe condition in which many patients experience a drop-in blood pressure (shock) that is caused by too much Nitric Oxide in the wrong place. You do not want that – you want as much Nitric Oxide as a young, healthy person has in the right place, namely in your arteries! And a young, healthy person’s arteries make Nitric Oxide from L-Arginine in the endothelium. You can restore this by taking a science-based supplement that provides a long-term elevation of you blood L-Arginine levels, like Cardio Wellness, Heart Wellness, or Nitric Oxide Plus.

All of our products contain other natural ingredients that are specifically put together to optimize the production of Nitric Oxide from L-Arginine, in order to give you the fullest power of all Nitric Oxide supplements ever. This is what the scientific data shows, and this is what our products are based upon.

Dr. Rainer Boger, M.D.

Researcher and Professor, University of Hamburg, Germany

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