Heart Health Supplement... Nitrates
When it comes to supplements, it is difficult to tell what's proven to work and what's just marketing. We see a ton of research, conflicting evidence, and numerous brands to choose from, as well as brand ambassadors. Supplements have a very high profit margin and minimum regulation, and with that comes marketing and one sided "interpretation" of case studies. Some people may not actually read the entire study, understand standard deviations, or how the study was conducted (self reported college study vs. controlled metabolic ward). Research regarding heart health supplements is no different; however, the information is out there (we just need to know the reliable sources). We have been working with Examine.com to compile some independent heart health research, in order to share and educate our community. Examine.com does un-biased research (they are not sponsored by any brand) and references other valid studies which save the rest of us a lot of time.
When it comes to heart health, there are a lot of great supplements, and one of the most promising ones are Nitrates. Technically Nitrates do not exist as a dietary supplement (due to regulations against high quantities of sodium nitrate), so they have to be obtained from foods that are rich in Nitrates.
Our body converts Nitrates to Nitric Oxide (NO) as needed. Elevated Nitric Oxide levels are linked to better blood flow and lower blood pressure, resulting in improved organ perfusion. Another huge benefit of Nitrates is the ability to reduce blood clots (blood clots increase the risk of a heart attack/stroke).
Nitric Oxide helps control blood pressure, and if a person is taking other hypotensive (blood pressure lowering) agents in addition to foods high in Nitrates, it can result in life threatening hypotension.
Recommended consumption of nitrates is 2.9-5.8 mg/lb.
There are many vegetables that are rich in nitrates (especially root vegetables grown within the nitrate rich soil), and supplementing with these in moderation could improve your heart health as well as overall wellness! Although some fruits contain nitrates, the concentration is lower than that of vegetables due to their proximity from the nitrate rich soil. Generally speaking, consuming vegetables in a raw form (or as close to it as possible) is the most beneficial. Juicing, eating raw veggies or as a part of a salad, is the best way to consume these nitrate rich crops. Add some of these veggies to your diet and take advantage of the benefits that NO can provide.
Eat well, sleep well, stay active and keep your heart healthy!