Wellness Wednesday - Increasing Circulation: A Look At Nitric Oxide



This week begins our new feature Wellness Wednesday where we will highlight information to benefit the performance of you horse!

Nitric Oxide is the master signaling molecule of the body. It regulates the muscle tone of blood vessels allowing them to dilate for improved blood flow to tissues, organs, muscles. By protecting the blood vessels' from harmful constriction, in essence widening the blood vessels, this allows more blood to circulate throughout the body. Nitric Oxide also inhibits vasoconstriction influences. This molecule helps maintain, defend, and repair every cell in the body, and regulate inflammation. It's anti inflammatory action includes inhibiting leukocyte adhesion to vascular endothelium (endothelium is the layer of cells that lines the interior surface of blood vessels). Endolthelium cells line the entire circulatory system from heart to the smallest capillary.

Nitric Oxide's recognition in the scientific community includes being named The Molecule of the Year by Science Magazine (1992), and it earned the Nobel Prize for Medicine (1998) for three American scientists (Louis Ignarro, Robert Furchgott and Ferid Murad).

Think of Nitric Oxide as the Big Kahuna of circulation in the body.

To produce nitric oxide the body uses the amino acid Arginine. While Arginine is found in various plants and foods, the common supplement forms of Arginine are made using a method called the Strecker synthesis which combines aldehyde, ammonia and hydrogen cyanide. Whole foods that provide substantial amounts of Arginine are pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, wheat germ, oranges, and brewer's yeast.

It is interesting that in Nature, Arginine does not exist without an essential amino acid: Lysine. Some foods are high in Lysine, and low in Arginine; while other foods are high in Arginine and low in Lysine. But those two amino acids always exist together in Nature. Lysine plays many important roles in the body including helping to maintain the nitrogen balance, assists in calcium absorption, and the production of hormones, enzymes, and antibodies.

Benefits to horses of increased Nitric Oxide:

The benefits of stimulating and supporting increased Nitric Oxide are accelerated healing, efficient delivery of oxygen and nutrients, and increased protein synthesis which results in faster cell renewal. Think of the increase in Nitric Oxide as a kind of internal shockwave therapy. When blood vessels are dilated, increased blood and fluid and nutrients can flow to the injured area. This is especially helpful for horses that have tendon or ligament strain injuries, muscle strains, foot issues including inflammation of the bursa, navicular syndrome, even fractures like coffin bones and common splints. Nitric Oxide stimulation helps in wound healing, in joint support, easing the stiffness that older horses often experience.

Due to the increase in oxygen, Nitric Oxide can help equine athletes recover more quickly from training, and the increased circulation helps to reduce lactic acid accumulation.

Arginine forms Creatine:

Arginine is one of three amino acids that comprises the organic acid Creatine. Creatine helps supply energy to all cells, especially muscle. It is synthesized in the liver and kidneys. There are some equine supplements that contain chemically-created Creatine (Creatine monohydrate, and Creatine citrate). Creatine in it's chemically created form is popular among body builders.

Other Circulatory Support:

Shockwave therapy, magnetic field therapy, laser therapy, massage, accupuncture, chiropractics, infared heat, ceramic fiber blankets/ bandages all are aids to increase circulation. Herbs like cayenne, siberian ginseng, and ginger are vasodilators, who relax the smooth muscle cells within vessel walls, thus helping blood to flow more easily. Medications like Isoxuprine and Tridenosen are also vasodilators.

Conclusion:

Nitric Oxide is an important signaling molecule for vasodilation, and plays a profound and fundamental role in circulation, and decrease of inflammation. Nitric Oxide is produced from the amino acid Arginine. Specific whole foods provide bioavailable Arginine and it's companion Lysine. Arginine also plays an important role in the creation of Creatine for energy.

Stimulating Nitric Oxide can help accelerate healing of tissues, bone, muscle; helps increase cell renewal. Increasing circulation delivers more nutrients to the cells that need them, increases oxygen which can reduce fatigue.

Specific whole foods provide bioavailable Arginine and it's companion Lysine. These whole foods also provide the enzymes, other free amino acids, and vitamins and minerals essential for multitudes of enzymatic actions in the body.




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