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Nitric Oxide & Cholesterol
Jul 20, 2011 | By Angela Ogunjimi
Nitric Oxide NO Benefits
Nitric oxide is a naturally occurring molecule that helps to relax your arteries, providing protection against conditions that threaten heart health. High levels of cholesterol act as a natural antagonist that reverses the work of nitric oxide and shuts down production of the chemical. The power to improve nitric oxide and keep your cholesterol down is in your hands; the keys are regular cholesterol checkups by your doctor, a heart-healthy diet, weight control and the amino acid called L-arginine.
Nitric Oxide Beneficial to Blood Pressure
Nitric oxide is a substance, composed of one atom each of nitrogen and oxygen, that sends signals to dilate your blood vessels. When properly harnessed, it is a powerful protector of heart health because it is beneficial to blood pressure, prevents artery hardening and improves blood flow to organs. Nitric oxide is produced in the endothelium, the lining of your blood vessels. Nobel-prizewinning pharmacologist Louis Ignarro told USC News that nitric oxide is your body's natural way to prevent stroke and heart attack -- as long as you make enough of it. When the nitric oxide level is deficient, the protective mechanisms diminish, and your risk of a heart-related issue increases.
Cholesterol HDL & LDL
Your body naturally produces cholesterol, but you also ingest dietary cholesterol and help your body to make more of it when you consume saturated fat and trans fats. Cholesterol is fat-like, waxy substance manufactured by the liver. Most healthy adults make 800 to 1,500 mg of cholesterol daily. It helps protect the integrity of your cell membranes, works in synthesizing hormones and aids in digestion by helping produce bile salts.
Your doctor measures your cholesterol by testing the special carriers, called lipoproteins, that help cholesterol to get around in the body. High-density lipoprotein, or HDL, is called "good" cholesterol because it is protective against heart disease. Low-density lipoprotein, or LDL, is called "bad" cholesterol because public health authorities, such as those with the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, say that it raises your risk of heart disease. LDL tends to build up in your blood vessels, forming plaques that stiffen arteries and make it hard for blood to flow past.
Nitric Oxide, Cholesterol and Heart Health
LDL cholesterol is a vasoconstrictor; it acts in almost the opposite fashion of nitric oxide. When cholesterol builds up, it damages the endothelium and diminishes the effect of nitric oxide. In fact, this action of cholesterol is a precursor to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which may eventually lead to stroke or heart attack. Statins, a class of drugs used to treat high cholesterol, appear to help produce nitric oxide, reinforcing some in the medical community who believe that statins should be taken as a defense strategy.
Natural and Dietary Methods
Administration of the amino acid L-arginine, which makes nitric oxide in your body, is a way to reverse atherosclerosis. You can supply L-arginine naturally by eating foods such as meats, seafood, almonds and soy protein. Consult your doctor about the proper a amount of dietary L-arginine that you should be getting. Lower your risk of high cholesterol by cutting unhealthy fats from your diet; in their place, add heart-healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Keep your weight under control, engage in lots of physical activity and do not smoke.
• USC News; How Nitric Oxide Maintains Health; February 18, 2009
• "Reader's Digest"; Heart Disease Risk Factor #1: Nitric Oxide
• "Nutrition Reviews"; Cholesterol-Dependent Regulation of Nitric Oxide Production: Potential Role in Atherosclerosis; Ruth Jameson Coppinger and Charles L. Baum; September 1999
• University of California, San Diego; "Atherosclerosis -- A Story of Cells, Cholesterol, and Clots"; John R. Guyton
• "Journal of Human Hypertension"; Effects of LDL Cholesterol on Vascular Function; C. Rosendorff; March 2002
• "British Journal of Anaesthesia"; Statins for All: The New Premed?; Z.L.S. Brookes, et al.; June 5, 2009
Article reviewed by Joseph Coda Last updated on: Jul 20, 2011
Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/497442-nitric-oxide-cholesterol/#ixzz26aylAd5M
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