Nitric Oxide Deficiency | What Is Nitric Oxide?

What Is Nitric Oxide?

Nitric oxide deficiencyA Nitric Oxide Deficiency can affect you in so many ways. Nitric oxide is a gas that is produced in every tissue and organ of your body, from your muscles to your brain.  This chemical tells arteries to relax which allows more oxygen into tissues by increasing blood flow.  Because it opens arteries, it also lowers blood pressure.  Nitric oxide is used to modulate pain and excite nerves in the brain.  Sexual function can suffer due to Nitric Oxide Deficiency in both men and women. Most men have probably heard of Nitric oxide in correlation with achieving an erection.  Nitric oxide is the sole chemical that creates an erection.  Medications like Viagra and Cialis help Nitric Oxide Deficiency by working on an enzyme that forces more Nitric oxide to be produced in the penis thus achieving a more powerful erection.

The Nitric oxide molecule is one nitrogen atom bound to one oxygen atom.  The chemical formula is N-O.  Research on Nitric oxide in the human body first began in the 1970s, and in 1992 the journal Science proclaimed it “The Molecule of the Year.” By 1998, three pharmacologists were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.  They discovered that Nitric oxide is a major signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. Nitric oxide was the first gas ever to be identified as a signaling molecule.  The Nitric oxide molecule carries messages at the microscopic cellular level. Although Nitric oxide is abundant in the body, it is unstable and short-lived.  Thus, it must be renewed continuously. A large and growing body of research points to Nitric oxide’s broad impact on health on all bodily systems.

Systems Affected by Nitric Oxide:

  • Cardiovascular System
    • Relaxing blood vessels (lowering blood pressure)
    • Healthy circulating blood cells
    • Heart Function
    • Nutrient exchange
  • Respiratory Tract
    • Increasing blood flow through the lungs
    • Relaxing airways (asthma)
  • Musculoskeletal System
    • Improved oxygenation of muscles
    • Increased energy
    • Higher levels of endurance
    • Decrease lactic acid production
  • Cellular Function
    • Reducing cell death or turnover
    • New blood vessel formation
  • Immune System
    • Regulates inflammation
    • Improves infection fighting ability
  • Nervous system
    • Promotion of natural “rest state”
    • Pain management
    • Memory improvement
  • Gastrointestinal Tract
    • Enhanced metabolism
    • Nutrient absorption
  • Sexual Health
    • Male Erection and Performance
    • Female Excitement and Performance

“The discovery of N-O and its function is one of the most important in the history of cardiovascular medicine.”

—Dr. Valentin Fuster

1998 President of the
American Heart Association

What are the symptoms of Nitric oxide deficiency?

Symptoms of Nitric Oxide Deficiency can be difficult to discern.  Most people feel fatigue, burnt out, or tired by 2-3pm.  These people are usually hard workers, and they have pushed themselves to exhaustion by utilizing all of their Nitric oxide stores.  Many people may not even realize they are experiencing the effects of Nitric oxide deficiency because it has dwindled slowly over time, and they think this is how they “usually feel.”  Some people think they are getting older and that they do not have energy like they used to.  If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, it is time to check your Nitric oxide levels:

  • Fatigue or low energy levels
    • Decreased workout potential
    • Less energy at the gym
    • Less stamina / endurance
    • Erectile dysfunction or Decreased libido
    • Poor Memory or Concentration
    • Irritability, Depression, or Anxiety
    • Insomnia or Difficulty sleeping
    • High blood pressure
    • Decreased heart function
    • Asthma or poor lung function
    • Thin bones

How do I increase my Nitric Oxide levels?

If you have a Nitric Oxide Deficiency, there are multiple ways to increase your Nitric oxide levels:

  • Take a Nitric oxide supplement (Neo40 daily, NOx Support, BeetElite)
  • Exercise (Cardio or Fat Burning Exercise)
  • Lose weight
  • Increase dietary nitrates and nitrites
    • Beets and dark green leafy vegetables
    • Avoid stomach acid reducers
    • Decrease use of mouthwash

Nitric Oxide Supplements
Neo40 Daily and Neo40 Professional

Not all Nitric oxide supplements are created equal.  Neo40 Daily bypasses the L-arginine pathways by using plant-based nitrates and nitrites.  Neo40 daily creates more usable Nitric oxide throughout your body.  Neo40 Professional is for someone who wants to restore their levels quickly and for older populations since it contains a higher concentration of Nitrates and Nitrites. The Neo40 product line is more effective than L-arginine in boosting Nitric oxide.

NOx Support

The NOx support canister is designed for maintenance of normal Nitric oxide levels although it can restore Nitric oxide levels.  Restoration of low or deficient Nitric oxide will take longer using NOx Support.  The canister contains a powder that can be added to protein drinks or a liquid of your choice.  It should be used once or twice daily depending on your dietary intake of nitrates and nitrites.  You can also use it right before workouts to get more energy and blood flow to your targeted muscles.

BeetElite Shots

These Nitric oxide boosters are high in nitrates and nitrites, and they are a pre-workout supplement.  You take this supplement 10-20 minutes before your workout, and you will get increased blood flow and improved endurance.  Ironmen and triathletes are using it to maintain their energy through hours of grueling activity.

For our current prices, please see our Supplement Page ( or call our office.

How should I replace my Nitric oxide levels?

If your levels are low or deficient by the Salivary Testing strips, we recommend the Neo40 product line twice per day for one month.  At the end of one month, you should get tested again to ensure that your levels are back to normal.  Once they are normal, then you can continue using the Nitric oxide supplements daily, multiple times per week, or as needed (depending on your symptoms).  You can also use the NOx Support daily to maintain your levels.  If you have ever been low or deficient, then chances are that you will become low again in the future.  It is important to periodically check your levels the rest of your life.  Remember:  the best time to check your Nitric oxide levels is first thing in the morning before eating, drinking, or brushing your teeth. 

How do I get tested for Nitric oxide deficiency?

If you are a patient at Austin Family Medicine Associates, the test is included with your office visit.  It is simple and painless.  We carry the salivary test strips in our office.  The test includes gathering saliva in your mouth, collecting the saliva (with your finger or a wooden tongue depressor), and placing it on the strip.  It takes about 10 seconds for the results.  The testing strip will indicate whether you are deficient, low, or normal.  Note that the most accurate sample is to be done in the morning before drinking, eating, or brushing your teeth.  If you choose to test yourself at home, you can purchase test strips at our office.  The test strips are also useful for monitoring your levels over time.  After 1 month of supplementation, it is important to be rested in order to ensure that your levels are back up to normal.  Each person will require different amounts of dietary nitrates, supplements, and exercise.  You should be sure to monitor your levels, especially if symptoms return or any of the signs mentioned above begin to occur (high blood pressure, poor heart function, erectile dysfunction, etc).

Why Do Nitric Oxide Levels Fall?

There are multiple reasons for Nitric oxide levels to fall.  Some of them are controllable, but the most important one is something that we all suffer from:  Age.

Reasons for decreased Nitric oxide include:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • Overworking / Stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle (couch potato)
  • Diet low in Nitrates and Nitrites
  • Medications (Antacids like Prilosec)
  • Mouthwash (Listerine)

As we age, the body becomes less efficient at producing Nitric oxide.  By the age of 40, studies show that you make 50% less Nitric oxide than you did as a teenager.  Women are also affected.  A female at age 50 has about 35% of Nitric oxide production compared to women in their teens and twenties.  Being sedentary leads to less Nitric oxide production because your body is not stimulating its production; production is stimulated during exercise.  Eating foods that are low in nitrates and nitrites also leads to decreased Nitric oxide production.  Your body can only create Nitric oxide if it has the necessary precursors or building blocks.  Foods that are high in nitrates and nitrites include dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale) and beets.  The Proton Pump Inhibitors, aka PPIs, are notorious for lowering Nitric oxide levels. Prilosec, Nexium, and Dexilant are just a few examples of PPIs.  These medications help heartburn, but they greatly suppress the body’s ability to produce Nitric oxide.  Overuse of mouthwash can also reduce your Nitric oxide levels.  Mouthwash kills off odor-producing bacteria, but it also destroys the friendly Nitric oxide producing bacteria.  These bacteria aid in converting nitrate into Nitric oxide right in your mouth!

Can I take L-arginine to boost my Nitric Oxide?

L-arginine is an essential precursor in Nitric oxide production.  However, as a person gets older, the conversion of extracellular arginine into Nitric oxide does not work as well.  Therefore, you must concentrate on increasing your levels of nitrates and nitrites directly as you age.  All of our products bypass the L-arginine pathway and directly provide Nitric oxide.

Suggested Reading:

The Nitric Oxide (NO) Solution by Nathan Bryan, PhD and Janet Zand, OMD