We have all heard stories of someone seemingly perfectly healthy suddenly suffering a heart attack out of the blue whilst jogging or working out. The truth is, even though someone may appear to be fit and healthy, cardiovascular issues can take years to develop in the body, before the final devastating outcome. Many core problems of “heart disease” do not lie in the heart itself but stem from the lack of blood flow to the heart. This is also the case with strokes, that stem from insufficient blood flow to the brain tissue.
The most common blood circulation problem is a gradual thickening and hardening of the arterial walls and the consequences are very serious because blood carries oxygen and nutrients to every cell of the body. There are many ways to improve blood flow and increased oxygen throughout the body, one of which is to eat a 60 – 70% alkaline diet with at least 30% of that as green leafy raw vegetables as green foods contain chlorophyll and therefore natural oxygen content. Recent advances in cardiovascular research however have revealed new evidence for a ‘magic cure’ to improve blood flow no matter what your diet. Scientists started to make a connection between an amino acid called L-arginine, Nitric Oxide and arterial and heart health. Originally thought to be damaging to the body, further research revealed Nitric Oxide (NO) to be vital, and in 1992 “NO” was named molecule of the year and the American researchers who identified its “miracle role” were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1998.
Nitric Oxide is neither a mineral nor a vitamin, but a gas produced when a group of enzymes in the body break down the amino acid Arginine. Nitric Oxide is mainly involved in intra-cellular communication, being a key signalling molecule in human health, acting in many tissues to regulate a diverse range of physiological and cellular processes. A deficiency of NO is now associated with cardiovascular disease, inflammatory disease, male erectile dysfunction, extreme fatigue and physical weakness, to name a few. For cells to produce enough NO, it is vital to supplement with l-arginine rich foods, like nuts, although as we age, Nitric Oxide production can still go into steep decline and almost stops once we are over 50. Experts recommend taking L-arginine every day, and symptoms of L-arginine deficiency include poor wound healing, hair loss, skin rash, constipation and a fatty liver. L-arginine and Nitric Oxide supplements can act as a powerful antioxidant, which protects against heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes and slowing down the ageing process. They can also keep arteries relaxed and supple for normal blood pressure, help with memory functions, enhance communication of messenger cells between nerves and brain, improve immune function and much more.
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