The benefits of
diabetes to hypertension, cancer to drug addiction, stroke to intestinal
motility, memory and learning disorders to septic shock, sunburn to anorexia,
male impotence to tuberculosis, there is probably no pathological condition
where nitric oxide does not play an important role. Only recently (within the
last 18 years) discovered as a product of enzymatic synthesis in mammals, there
are more than 73,000 scientific papers dealing with this remarkable molecule
with most of these published within the last five years.
Nitric Oxide: Biology and Chemistry. Although one of the simplest
biological molecules in nature, nitric oxide has found its way into nearly
every phase of biology and medicine ranging from its role as a critical endogenous
regulator of blood flow and thrombosis to a principal neurotransmitter
mediating erectile function to a major pathophysiological mediator of
inflammation and host defense. These major discoveries have stimulated intense
and extensive research into a vast array of fields including chemistry,
molecular biology, and gene therapy.
What is it and where does it
Oxide is a free form gas that is produced in the body and is used by the body
to communicate with other cells in the body. To produce this gas, enzymes in
the body break down the amino acid Arginine.
Oxide is a molecule consisting of one atom of nitrogen and one atom of oxygen.
The production of Nitric Oxide occurs when the amino acid L-arginine is
converted into L-citruline through an enzyme group known as Nitric Oxide
New Study: Nitric Oxide Deficiency Raises
Cardiovascular Disease Risk in African Americans – Ohio
Ohio - African Americans suffer from cardiovascular diseases at a rate about
five times higher than the rest of the U.S. population. In a new study,
scientists may have found a culprit: a serious deficiency of nitric
oxide, a small molecule vital in the
regulation of blood flow and blood pressure.
research team, led by Ohio University biochemist Tadeusz Malinski, examined the
blood vessel cells of 12 white and 12 black healthy female subjects. Using a
system of nanosensors, they discovered that the cardiovascular systems of
African-American subjects as young as 20 years of age could show signs of an
unbalanced nitric oxide system that could become increasingly worse as they
grow older, according to research published in a recent issue of Circulation, a
journal of the American Heart Association.
we found was the basic mechanism of the cardiovascular dysfunctions at the
molecular level," said Malinski, the Marvin and Ann Dilley White Professor
of Biochemistry at Ohio University.
the early 1990s, Malinski, a leading expert on nitric oxide and its physiological
functions, developed nanosensors capable of detecting the nitric oxide and
other molecules in single cells and neurons. Nitric oxide performs critical
functions throughout the body, but survives only a few seconds after it is
created by cells and neurons. Malinski and other researchers have since proven
that nitric oxide is a fundamental regulator of bodily functions -- such as
blood pressure, beating of the heart and the relaxation of blood vessels -- and
that imbalance between levels of nitric oxide and oxidative stress can be a
sign of dysfunction and disease.
the new study, the scientist found that the cardiovascular system of black
subjects has more enzymes to produce nitric oxide and can be more efficient
than those of white subjects. However, black subjects did not produce enough of
the amino acid L-arginin to complete the process of nitric oxide production.
Instead the enzyme produces another oxidative molecule, superoxide, which
reacts with nitric oxide to create an even more powerful and damaging oxidant,
not only attacks cell DNA and RNA, making black subjects more susceptible to
cancer and various dysfunctions, but it gobbles up ever-increasing amounts of
nitric oxide, which can lead to hardening of the blood vessels, increase of
blood pressure and other cardiovascular problems. As the balance in the system
shifts to greater amounts of peroxynitrite relative to nitric oxide, the danger
of cardiovascular dysfunctions and diseases increases as well, said Malinski,
whose research was supported in part by Ohio University's Marvin and Ann Dilley
White Professorship Endowment.
the age of 20, you have perhaps twice as much of these oxidants as in other
ethnic groups, and that causes an acceleration of aging and the
dysfunction of the entire cardiovascular system,"
Malinski said. "The final outcome is a heart attack or stroke."
and his colleagues argue, however, that this new understanding of nitric oxide
and related molecules' behavior in the African-American cardiovascular system
can point to better treatment and prevention of diseases.
is amazing is that this system has a great potential to produce nitric oxide
and can be corrected very efficiently and at a relatively early age," he
said. "Based on our research, a diagnosis of this dysfunction of the
system will be possible -- probably very soon -- and will be treatable with
some existing cardiovascular drugs."
research also opens the door for the development of new drugs designed
specifically to maintain healthy levels of nitric oxide in the cardiovascular
on the study were Iwona Dobrucki, a graduate student in biochemistry, and
Leszek Kalinowski, a postdoctoral fellow, both at Ohio University.
Juice protects nitric oxide
Pomegranate juice protects nitric oxide against oxidative destruction
and enhances the biological actions of nitric oxide.
Nitric Oxide. 2006 Apr 18; Ignarro LJ, Byrns
RE, Sumi D, de Nigris F, Napoli C. Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology,
David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.
Pomegranate juice, a rich source of potent flavonoid antioxidants, was tested
for its capacity to protect nitric oxide against oxidative destruction.
Pomegranate juice was found to be a potent inhibitor of superoxide
anion-mediated disappearance of NO. Pomegranate juice was much more potent than
Concord grape juice, blueberry juice, red wine, ascorbic acid, and
dl-alpha-tocopherol. These observations indicate that pomegranate juice possesses
potent antioxidant activity that results in marked protection of nitric oxide
against oxidative destruction, thereby resulting in augmentation of the
biological actions of NO.
Other studies have
uncovered the antioxidants in pomegranate juice might be responsible for plaque
reduction on artery walls and play a part in reducing oxidative stress on
endothelial cells (the cells that line the blood vessels), producing nitric
oxide, which helps the blood vessels relax. It was discovered that the heart cells
of mice that were given pomegranate juice had a 50 percent increase in nitric
oxide and nearly a 30 percent reduction in plaque.
Dr. Mercola's Comments on Pomegranate Juice:
history dates as far back as 3,000 BC. The pomegranate has been heralded for
its sweet taste as well as its vivid color and now this study has confirmed
that pomegranates deserve similar praise as the antioxidant-rich berries. Many
fruits have seeds that are loaded with powerful antioxidants that quelch free
radicals and help prevent nearly every chronic degenerative disease.
despite all the health benefits of pomegranates it’s important to understand
that when you juice a fruit you tend to concentrate the sugars and this
has the potential to increase your insulin levels. When the fruit is intact and whole, its fiber will somewhat moderate
the release of fructose as well as insulin into the bloodstream. Since 85
percent or so of the American population already struggles with this issue, it
is clear that most people should avoid juices, even healthy ones like
stated that the two main problems with pomegranate consumption are that they
are pricey and not the easiest fruit to find.
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