Why Your Blood Needs Nitrate
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Nitrate is a nutrient found in many of the foods we eat, and it is essential for maintaining good health.
But why does your blood need nitrate? Nitrate helps to regulate the amount of oxygen in the blood, and can help improve cardiovascular health, reduce inflammation, and protect against anemia.
In this blog post, we’ll discuss the benefits of nitrate and why your blood needs it for optimal health.
What is nitrate and what does it do?
Nitrate is a naturally occurring chemical compound produced from the reaction of diatomic nitrogen and oxygen to form (NO3–) ion.
This anion form salts with minerals such as, sodium (Na+), and potassium (K+) to form classes of compounds called nitrates.
Nitrate can be found in foods such as leafy greens and vegetables, which contributes about 60-80% of the total intake.
What are the benefits and functions of nitrate?
Nitrate has several benefits in the body. A sufficient intake of nitrate helps:
- Dilate blood vessels which can lower blood pressure and improve blood flow
- Maintain healthy levels of oxygen in the blood
- Reduce the risks of colon cancer and stomach cancer due to it’s anti-inflammatory effect
- Inhibit leukocyte adhesion and platelet aggregation
- Produce nitric oxide
In humans, nitrate can be metabolized to nitric oxide by the action of anaerobic bacteria in acidic stomach without enzymes.
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.
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.
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 percent.
Improved blood flow
Nitroglycerin containing nitrate has been used in the treatment of cardiovascular disease for many years.
Nitrate causes vasodilation of the veins and improves ventricular filling pressure in the heart, and dilates the epicardial coronary arteries, improving coronary blood flow, particularly in hypoxic tissue.
Reduction in blood pressure
Many clinical studies have addressed the capacity for nitrate-rich beetroot juice or some other nitric oxide donor to reduce blood pressure.
In a study, 200–300 g of spinach were given to 8 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.
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 other plant-based foods are excellent sources of nitrates, and many people also choose to take nitrate supplements.
Foods containing nitrate include:
- Green beans
- Spring onion
Other foods with low nitrate levels include:
- Chicory leaf
Are nitrate dietary supplements available?
Yes. Here are some of the nitrate-rich dietary supplements from our best picks:
- Endurance beets
- PureClean powder
- Beet power
- Beet performer
- Beet blast
- Ginger beet juice
- Red rush
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.
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 can cause methemoglobinemia.
Methemoglobinemia is a condition in which more than one percent of the hemoglobin in red blood cells take the form of methemoglobin.
Hemoglobin carries oxygen in our blood, delivering it from the lungs to the rest of our body.
Methemoglobin does not carry oxygen well and, when it replaces hemoglobin, it can cause a gray-blueness of the skin, this is also known as cyanosis.
- Skin looks pale, gray and mottled
- Chocolate brown lips
- Unusual amount of irritability
- Low body temperature
- Difficulty in breathing
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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