The Benefits of Healthy Blood Vessels
When it’s at rest, your heart beats more than 100,000 times per day. Each beat sends blood coursing through the blood vessels, which dilate as the blood passes and then contract back to their relaxed state – more than 100,000 times a day.
When our tissues need additional blood supply, like during exercise, or when we’re stressed, or during sexual activity, our blood vessels need to be dilating at their most efficient. If blood vessels are not as elastic as they should be, then our health can suffer.
The body’s mechanism for the dilation of its blood vessels is dependent on the vascular endothelium, the one-cell thick lining of the inside of the blood vessels. In the vascular endothelial cells an enzyme called eNOS converts the amino acid L-arginine into nitric oxide, which causes the blood vessels to dilate.*
Nitric oxide is a very simple molecule – it’s one atom of nitrogen and one atom of oxygen – and it’s abbreviated NO. The healthy production of NO in blood vessels will also make blood platelets less sticky and less likely to attach to the inside of the blood vessel, which is good for cardiovascular health.*
NO also makes immune cells less likely to stick to the inside of blood vessels, and it helps maintain normal blood pressure by making blood vessels more elastic.*
BENEFITS OF PRODUCING ENOUGH NITRIC OXIDE
When an adequate amount of NO is produced in blood vessels:
- Blood vessels are more elastic*
- Normal blood pressure can be maintained*
- Sexual arousal and erections can occur normally*
- Cardiovascular health is promoted*
So, as you can see, NO is very important to blood vessel health.* It’s so important that, in 1998, three researchers were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology/Medicine for the research that discovered the importance of NO to blood vessel health.
How can individuals support the body’s production of NO to support blood vessel health?
L-arginine – the amino acid L-arginine is the rate-limiting factor in the production of adequate levels of NO in the blood vessels.* L-arginine is obtained from dietary protein or from supplementation.
Remember eNOS, the enzyme that creates NO from L-arginine? eNOS needs specific nutrient cofactors for it to work properly, including 5-MTHF (the active form of folate) and antioxidants such as vitamin C.*
Research has shown that other nutrients enable eNOS to work more efficiently and thus create more nitric oxide, including:
- Green tea*
- Lipoic acid*
- Omega-3 fatty acids from fish oil*
Cholesterol levels should be kept in check, because high cholesterol can reduce the production of NO in the blood vessels.
Regular exercise has been demonstrated to increase eNOS activity and promote more elastic blood vessels.
An individual should make sure to eat enough protein (especially if you work out or engage in other strenuous activity), eat fish 2-3 times a week, and eat lots of antioxidant-rich fruits and vegetables.
Targeted supplementation of L-arginine and the other nutrients mentioned above will also help support your blood vessel health.*
- Sustained-release L-arginine plus nutritional and botanical cofactors for optimal blood vessel health*
- Time-release L-arginine for nitric oxide production in the arteries – which relaxes blood vessels and helps maintain healthy blood flow*
- 5-MTHF (active folate) and vitamin C to support nitric oxide production*
- R-lipoic acid, resveratrol, green tea phytosome – to promote blood vessel health*