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Five Reasons Why Nitric Oxide Is Good for You - And How To Increase It

Five Reasons Why Nitric Oxide Is Good for You - And How To Increase It

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Nitric oxide (NO) may not be a compound you've given much thought to, but it plays a critical role in various physiological processes. Known primarily as a signaling molecule, nitric oxide is essential for vascular dilation, which improves blood flow and oxygen distribution throughout the body. 

Improved circulation can bring about a host of health benefits, from enhancing athletic performance to supporting cognitive function. In this blog, we’ll delve into the benefits of nitric oxide, and how you can naturally increase its levels to improve your overall health.


The Benefits of Nitric Oxide and How To Boost Its Levels Naturally

What Is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide is a gaseous molecule produced by the endothelial cells lining the inner walls of your blood vessels. It acts as a vasodilator, meaning it expands the blood vessels to allow for increased blood flow. This process is incredibly crucial for your cardiovascular system, muscle function, and even your brain health.

Health Benefits of Nitric Oxide

  1. Cardiovascular Health: Nitric oxide is crucial for maintaining the elasticity of your arteries and controlling blood pressure. It helps to prevent the buildup of arterial plaque, reducing the risk of heart disease, strokes, and heart attacks.
  2. Improved Exercise Performance: Increased blood flow is beneficial for athletes and exercise enthusiasts. Enhanced oxygen delivery to the muscles allows for better endurance and performance, along with quicker recovery post-exercise.
  3. Cognitive Function: Improved blood flow also affects the brain positively. It enhances cognitive function by ensuring a consistent supply of oxygen and nutrients, which may reduce the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
  4. Immune System Benefits: Nitric oxide possesses antimicrobial and antiviral properties, contributing to a strong immune system. It helps the body fight off infections and diseases effectively.
  5. Erectile Function: In men, nitric oxide plays a vital role in achieving and maintaining erections. A lack of it is often implicated in cases of erectile dysfunction.

How To Boost Nitric Oxide Levels Naturally

  • Dietary Changes: Certain foods are rich in nitrates and nitrites, which your body converts into nitric oxide. Beets, spinach, celery, and arugula are excellent choices for boosting nitric oxide naturally.
  • Exercise Regularly: Physical activity is another effective way to increase nitric oxide production. Cardiovascular exercises, in particular, stimulate the release of nitric oxide to widen blood vessels and improve blood flow.
  • Supplements: L-Arginine and L-Citrulline are amino acids that your body converts into nitric oxide. These supplements are widely available and can support the natural production of this crucial molecule. Always consult with a healthcare provider before starting any new supplements. 
  • Antioxidant-Rich Foods: Fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and oranges are rich in antioxidants that help stabilize nitric oxide levels. Antioxidants prevent the degradation of nitric oxide, making it more available in your system.
  • Sun Exposure: Ultraviolet rays from the sun stimulate the skin to produce nitric oxide. While excessive sun exposure has its risks, moderate amounts can be beneficial.

The Connection Between Tongue Thrust and Nitric Oxide

Tongue thrust, a condition where the tongue moves forward in an exaggerated manner during swallowing, speech, and even while at rest, can cause a variety of dental and health issues. One consequence that is often overlooked is the habit of mouth breathing that often accompanies tongue thrust. 

By addressing tongue thrust and reconditioning the tongue's posture, it's possible to encourage nose breathing. This, in turn, has been linked to increased levels of nitric oxide in the body, providing a myriad of health benefits. Let’s explore this interconnected relationship in detail.

1. Tongue Thrust and Mouth Breathing

Tongue thrust often pushes the teeth out of alignment, leading to orthodontic issues. But it also changes the natural mechanics of swallowing and breathing. When the tongue occupies the wrong position, it becomes difficult to maintain a closed mouth, which frequently leads to mouth breathing. 

Mouth breathing bypasses the body’s natural filtration system in the nasal passages, leading to decreased air quality and a lack of humidity in the airways.

2. The Importance of Nasal Breathing

Breathing through your nose is more than just a sign of good manners; it has important physiological benefits. The nasal passages are designed to filter, humidify, and warm incoming air, providing a quality supply to the lungs. 

More importantly, nasal breathing increases the production of nitric oxide, a gas that, as we have already seen, has multiple benefits for cardiovascular health, cognitive function, and more.

3. Nitric Oxide and Nasal Breathing

The nasal sinuses are one of the primary sites for nitric oxide production. When you breathe through your nose, the air picks up this nitric oxide, transporting it to your lungs and subsequently to the rest of your body. Higher levels of nitric oxide contribute to vasodilation, improved oxygenation of tissues, enhanced cognitive function, and overall better health.

Correcting Tongue Thrust To Facilitate Nasal Breathing

Several techniques can correct tongue thrust, most notably orofacial myofunctional therapy. This therapy uses exercises to retrain the muscles of the mouth and face, promoting a more natural tongue position and swallowing pattern. As the tongue learns to rest in the correct position against the palate, it becomes easier to keep the mouth closed and breathe through the nose.

Correct Tongue Thrust With Our Seven-Week Program

IJustWantTo® Correct My Tongue Thrust is a program that can help retrain your tongue’s position in your mouth,  leading to improved nasal breathing and increased nitric oxide. This is a step-by-step program that leads you through tongue exercises explained in written words and videos to correct your tongue thrust in only SEVEN WEEKS.

If you would like to start benefiting from corrected tongue thrust, reach out to us today or find out more about our program on our FAQ page!

Janet M. Bennett

Written by:

Janet Bennett, M.Ed., CCC-SLP, is a Speech Pathologist in private practice in Asheville, NC, since 1977. She specializes in treating tongue thrust, a swallowing disorder that can result in buckteeth, an open bite, a lisp, snoring, and other problems that have not yet been made known to most people.