Does NO metabolism play a role in the effects of vegetables in health? Nitric oxide formation via the reduction of nitrites and nitrates

Gertner Institute for Epidemiology and Health Policy Research, Tel Hashomer, Israel.
Medical Hypotheses (Impact Factor: 1.07). 06/2009; 73(5):794-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.mehy.2009.03.049
Source: PubMed


A recent attribution of vegetables to human health stems from their effect on the gasotransmitter nitric oxide (NO). This commentary proposes that a major reason for this attribution is that vegetables are rich in nitrates. Recent research has shown that nitrites and nitrates are not only inert end-products of NO oxidation. In addition, they can be recycled back to bioactive NO and this pathway is an important alternative to the classical l-arginine-NO-synthase pathway. Various chronic ailments, e.g., diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, are symptomatic of NO bioavailability. Because NO deficiency is metabolically complex, natural nitrate-rich nutrients, like green leafy vegetables, can improve these chronic ailments via the alternative nitrate-NO pathway. This commentary implies an added value for vegetables in enhancing health such as cardiac health and in lowering the risks of maladies such as diabetes.

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