5 Ways to Naturally Enhance Nitric Oxide


Nitric oxide is boosted by consuming vegetables high in nitrates, foods rich in antioxidants, and nitric oxide supplements. Limiting the use of mouthwash and increasing exercise can also enhance nitric oxide levels.

Nitric oxide is a chemical compound that the body naturally synthesizes due to a chemical reaction taking dietary nitrate to turn them into a useful chemical in the body. Some people resort to supplements to get this vital chemical; however, it is easily acquired by consuming certain foods used as its building block in the proper diet. Nitric oxide is useful due to its function in vasodilation as it relaxes blood vessels and widens them to increase blood flow and circulation. Since it enhances smooth and efficient blood flow to all parts of the body, it helps transport oxygen and nutrients to these parts for health purposes. Studies have shown that a limited supply of nitric oxide in the body could cause erectile dysfunction, diabetes, and heart complications. Fortunately, there are many simple ways to accelerate nitric oxide production in the body, thus enhancing blood circulation.

Consume vegetables that are high in nitrates

Vegetables are often considered healthy, with many dietitians recommending their inclusion in the regular diet. The presence of nitrate in some of the vegetables is one of the reasons for this recommendation. Vegetables rich in nitrate include cress, chervil, celery, lettuce, spinach, beetroot, and arugula. The nitrate in these foods is then converted into nitric oxide that the body needs to optimize its function during exercise and for the heart’s general health.

Several studies show that nitrate-rich vegetables could reduce blood pressure like blood pressure medication. Additional findings show that nitrate-rich vegetables such as beetroot can potentially increase body performance during exercise. However, some people avoid nitrate-rich vegetables, fearing that they contribute to the growth of cancer cells. The thinking that nitrate causes cancer comes from the reason that sodium nitrate, a compound of nitrate, is often used as a preservative of certain hot dogs, and eating these foods has been linked to bowel cancer. The nitrate in these foods is thought to be the reason they cause cancer. N-nitroso compounds formed by nitrate are capable of causing cancer; however, nitrate-rich vegetables are also rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C, which can prevent N-nitroso compounds from forming. Therefore, consuming nitrate from vegetables is safe, while nitrate from processed meat could pose a potential health problem over time.

Increase your consumption of antioxidants

Nitric oxide requires constant supply in the body as it is quickly absorbed in the bloodstream; therefore, one way to ensure its stability and slow down its breakdown is by consuming antioxidants. The antioxidants improve nitric oxide life by neutralizing free radicals, which often damage nitric oxide. Regular consumption of vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds will improve the supply of antioxidants needed in the body. Some important antioxidants include:

Vitamin C

Vitamin C is an antioxidant responsible for forming connective tissues, such as tendons, bones, cartilage, and skin. It is also required in the production of brain chemicals to help nerve cells communicate effectively.

Vitamin E

This antioxidant is known for its ability to offer cell protection from damages of free radicals. Free radicals are major contributors to early aging and diseases, meaning vitamin E can boost one’s immune system.


Polyphenols are antioxidants having a range of health benefits, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer. It is also known as an anti-aging antioxidant.

It is known as the grandmaster of all antioxidants and is responsible for detoxification for all cells in the body.

Studies have discovered that consuming antioxidants coupled with nitric oxide precursors like citrulline will stabilize nitric oxide in the body by slowing down its breakdown process.

Use supplements that boost Nitric oxide

The supplement market has nitric oxide booster, which does not have nitric oxide themselves but has ingredients that the body will utilize to make the required nitric oxide. Nitric oxide supplements often contain two ingredients useful for the production of nitric oxide.


L-Arginine is an essential amino acid that can only be acquired from consuming a certain diet in certain conditions, though healthy adults make plenty of it. This ingredient produces nitric oxide through a process called the L-arginine-NO pathway to improve blood flow in certain populations. Pregnant women can use it to lower their blood pressure taken on a dosage of 20 grams a day, but it can result in digestive symptoms.


Unlike L-Arginine, L-Citrulline is a dispensable amino acid, which means the body can easily synthesize it. It is produced as a by-product which means it can be recycled to form L-arginine, increasing its ability to produce nitric oxide. Research shows that the intake of L-citrulline can increase L-arginine levels in the body more than L-arginine supplements. It is considered relatively safe with no side effects even when consumed in high dosage.

Reduce your use of mouthwash

Though mouthwash helps kill all the harmful bacteria that can contribute to cavities and tooth decay, it also eliminates the good bacteria responsible for the production of nitric oxide. The bacteria in the mouth convert nitrate to nitric oxide absorbed into the bloodstream for better health. Studies suggest that mouth wash kills good bacteria in the mouth to produce nitric oxide for 12 hours. Mouthwash can then lead to high blood pressure and diabetes if it results in nitric oxide deficiency. Nitric oxide is also used in regulating the production and the proper working of insulin, meaning it can reduce the risk of diabetes. One study even indicated that individuals who use mouthwash are 65% more prone to developing diabetes than individuals who never use mouthwash. It is advisable to use mouthwash sparingly for more nitric oxide in the body.

Exercise more to enhance blood flow

Exercise increases heart rate and general blood flow because it increases endothelial function. The cells’ thin layer lining the blood vessel is called the endothelium, and it produces nitric oxide, keeping the blood vessels healthy. Lack of nitric oxide in the body could result in endothelium dysfunction, thus contributing to atherosclerosis and other heart-related diseases. Exercise ensures that your blood vessels and endothelial are healthy since they enhance the body’s ability to produce nitric oxide naturally. Exercise also increased the vasodilation of endothelial and increased antioxidant activity to promote reduced blood pressure in people with high blood pressure and healthy individuals. Exercising for ten weeks for 30 minutes three times a week is enough to start seeing the result.

The bottom line

Nitric oxide is a great vasodilator that helps improve heart health by making blood vessels expand for efficient blood flow and circulation. Such free flow of blood is an excellent distribution of nutrients and oxygen to all the body parts. Since it is an important compound, it is vital to maintain its optimal levels through consumption of nitrate-rich vegetables, supplements and exercising.

Elena Ognivtseva
Latest posts by Elena Ognivtseva (see all)

Nutritionist, Cornell University, MS

I believe that nutrition science is a wonderful helper both for the preventive improvement of health and adjunctive therapy in treatment. My goal is to help people improve their health and well-being without torturing themselves with unnecessary dietary restrictions. I am a supporter of a healthy lifestyle – I play sports, cycle, and swim in the lake all year round. With my work, I have been featured in Vice, Country Living, Harrods magazine, Daily Telegraph, Grazia, Women's Health, and other media outlets.

Latest from Health