Why Your Blood Needs Nitrate (Know The Benefits)

Why Your Blood Needs Nitrate

Nitrate, one of the most important nutrient in the body, is essential for keeping your circulatory system healthy.

Notably, his inorganic molecule is linked to the production of nitric oxide.

Knowing the importance of nitrate in blood clarifies its effect on health in general and emphasizes its complex role in physiological functions.

Nitrate is a naturally occurring compound found in many foods, including leafy green vegetables, beets, and meat.

It is also used as a food additive to preserve meat and prevent spoilage.

But why does your blood need this vital nutrient called nitrate?

Nitrate helps to regulate the amount of oxygen in the blood, improves your cardiovascular health, and reduces inflammation of the blood vessels.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits of nitrate and why your blood needs it for optimal health.

What is Nitrate and How Does it Work in the Body?

Nitrate is a naturally occurring chemical compound produced from the reaction of diatomic nitrogen and oxygen to form (NO3–) ion [1].

This anion form salts with minerals like, sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+) to form classes of compounds called nitrate salts.

Nitrate can be found in foods such as leafy greens and vegetables, which contributes about 60-80% of the total intake.

So how does nitrate work in the body?

When we consume nitrate, it is converted to nitric oxide (NO) in our bodies. NO is a signaling molecule that has several functions for your blood, including:

  • Relaxing blood vessels. This helps to improve blood flow and lower blood pressure.
  • Reducing platelet aggregation. This helps to prevent blood clots from forming.
  • Improving endothelial function. The endothelium is the lining of blood vessels. When it is healthy, the endothelium helps to keep blood vessels flexible and prevents them from becoming blocked.

What are the Benefits and Functions of Nitrate in the Blood?

Studies have shown that nitrate can provide several benefits for your blood. A sufficient intake of nitrate helps to:

  • Lower blood pressure. Nitrate can help to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 3-5 mmHg [2].
  • Reduce the risk of heart disease. Nitrate may help to reduce the risk of heart disease by improving blood flow and reducing platelet aggregation [3].
  • Improve exercise performance. Nitrate helps to improve exercise performance by increasing oxygen delivery to muscles [4].

Inside the human body, nitrate is metabolized to nitric oxide by the action of anaerobic bacteria in acidic stomach without enzymes [5].

Is Nitrate Good for Your Blood?

Yes it is. When you have nitrate in your blood, the risk of getting heart disease and stroke is less.

That is why it is important to eat foods containing sufficient amounts of this nutrient.

Nitrate in the blood has beneficial effects on your health and plays a positive role in blood circulation.

Here are some of the reasons why your blood needs nitrate:

1. Increased Nitric Oxide (NO)

Many studies have detected plasma nitrate after ingestion. Ingestion of high-dose nitrate from beetroot juice in eight young healthy individuals increased plasma nitrate up to threefold, a study maintained for two weeks [6].

In a crossover trial, people who consumed high-nitrate leafy salad twice daily for ten days increased fasting plasma nitrate, and improved flow-mediated dilation by 17% [7].

2. Increased Collateral Blood Flow

Nitrates increase collateral blood flow to ischemic myocardium.

This is because nitrates dilate collateral arteries, which are small blood vessels that bypass occluded coronary arteries [8].

In a study, a test-controlled trial investigated the effect of nitrates on collateral blood flow to ischemic myocardium. Ten patients with coronary artery disease underwent coronary angiography before and after administration of nitroglycerin.

Collateral blood flow was assessed by measuring the coronary artery pressure distal to a coronary artery occlusion.

Results of the study showed that, nitroglycerin significantly increased collateral blood flow in all patients.

The mean increase in collateral blood flow was 52%.

Researchers then concluded that, nitrates increase collateral blood flow to ischemic myocardium.

This effect may contribute to the beneficial effects of nitrates in the treatment of angina pectoris.

Summary: Nitrate causes vasodilation of the veins and improves ventricular filling pressure in the heart, it dilates the epicardial coronary arteries, and improves coronary blood flow, particularly in hypoxic tissue [9].
3. Reduction in Blood Pressure

Several clinical studies have addressed the capacity for nitrate-rich beetroot juice or some other nitric oxide donor to reduce blood pressure.

In a recent study, 200–300 grams of spinach were given to eight young healthy individuals for 3 days.

It was found that the plasma levels of nitrate increased significantly, and reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressures by 10 and 8 mmHg, respectively [10].

When a lower dose of beetroot juice, about 250 ml were given to the same subjects, only the systolic blood pressure reduced by 5 mmHg.

What Foods Provides Nitrate?

Leafy green vegetables, beets, and some other plant-based foods are excellent sources of nitrate, and many people also choose to take nitrate supplements.

Foods containing nitrate include:

  • Spinach
  • Lettuce
  • Radish
  • Beetroot
  • Turnip
  • Cabbage
  • Green beans
  • Spring onion
  • Cucumber

Other foods with low nitrate levels include:

  • Radish
  • Turnips
  • Watercress
  • Kohlrabi
  • Chicory leaf
  • Celery
  • Onion
  • Garlic

Are Nitrate Dietary Supplements Available?

Yes. Here are some of the nitrate-rich organic supplements from our best picks:

Discount Offer: Use my discount coupon code ROBBY24 to get 15% off.

You can also try Forever Argi Plus, it works great especially for athletes.

What is the Acceptable Daily Intake for Nitrate?

The current acceptable daily intake (ADI) for nitrate is 3.7 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day (mg/kg bw/day).

Furthermore, consumption of 1 serving of a nitrate-rich food or supplement can exceed the World Health Organization acceptable daily intake for nitrate, that is, 3.7 mg/kg body weight per day or 222 mg/d for a 60-kg adult.

Although the recommended dietary intake of nitrate is not specifically established, most people consume between 60 and 100 mg of nitrate per day.

Nitrate Deficiency Symptoms

No studies has confirmed nitrate deficiency symptoms. More studies are needed to understand the effects of nitrate on human health.

Is Nitrate Toxic to The Blood?

Yes. Too much nitrate in your blood is harmful to your health.

Drinking water with high nitrate levels causes methemoglobinemia.

Methemoglobinemia is a condition in which more than one percent of hemoglobin in red blood cells take the form of methemoglobin.

Methemoglobin does not carry oxygen properly, and when it replaces hemoglobin, it can cause a gray-blueness of the skin, known as cyanosis.

Even though nitrate is good for your body, there are safety concerns with its consumption.

A high nitrate intake causes the production of nitrosamines, which are carcinogenic compounds.

However, the risk of nitrosamine formation is low in healthy people who consume a balanced diet.

Lastly, nitrates can also cause a number of side effects, including headache, flushing, and dizziness when you consume too much.


Nitrate is essential for the proper functioning of the body. It is found in a variety of foods, such as leafy green vegetables, processed meats and dietary supplements.

Nitrate helps maintain a healthy blood pressure, improves vascular function, and prevents heart disease.

Eating nitrate-rich foods has not shown any side effects, however, taking too much of nitrate dietary supplements can be harmful to your health.


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  • Dietary nitrite and nitrate: a review of potential mechanisms of cardiovascular benefits. Authors: Ajay Machha and Alan N. Schechter. Eur J Nutr. 2011 Aug; 50(5): 293–303. Published online 2011 May 31. doi: 10.1007/s00394-011-0192-5. [View article]
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  • Effects of Nitrate Supplementation on Exercise Performance in Humans: A Narrative Review. Authors; Matjaž Macuh, * and Bojan Knap. Nutrients 2021 Sep; 13(9): 3183. Published online 2021 Sep 13. doi: 10.3390/nu13093183. [view article]
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  • Nitrate reduction to nitrite, nitric oxide and ammonia by gut bacteria under physiological conditions. Authors; Mauro Tiso 1, Alan N Schechter 1. PLoS One. 2015 Mar 24;10(3):e0119712. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0119712. eCollection 2015. [view article]
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