Nitrates & Nitric Oxide - How to improve

By: Dr. Gary Huber

Posted 06/20/2023

Nitric Oxide is the most powerful compound in your body that you have never heard of. The link between nitric oxide and our cardiovascular system won a Nobel prize in 1998.  Since then we have come to learn that it is key to managing blood sugar, heart disease, weight loss, cholesterol, enhance athletic performance, erectile function and so much more. Nitric Oxide (NO) is a colorless gas that is produced in our body. By age 40, our NO production has declined by as much as 50%.  While there is no nitric oxide pill, you can eat foods that are high in nitrates and therefore promote our body’s ability to generate nitric oxide. 

It’s important to note that the synthetic nitrates and nitrosamines found in processed meats (deli meat, bacon, and hot dogs) are very different from our discussion here. When we consume nitrates found in fruits and vegetables, our body avoids nitrosamine formation because these whole foods contain Vitamin C, Vitamin E and Flavonoids. If you are eating large quantities of nitrite filled meats frequently AND eating a diet that is low in dark leafy green vegetables, this could present a problem. Processed meats don’t contain antioxidants and also contain a dangerous form of nitrate known as nitrosamine. 

INCREASE YOUR Nitric Oxide: 
There are three ways to increase your body’s nitrate level that will in turn enhance your vascular production of NO.      Nitrate  >> Nitrite  >>  Nitric oxide (NO)

1.    Food:  Eat foods that are high in Nitrates which is then converted into nitric oxide. >90% of the nitrates found in our diet come from vegetables. Here is the top nitrate containing foods (mg/3.5 ounce serving)

    Arugula - 480mg 
    Rhubarab - 280mg
    Cilantro - 250mg
    Beetroot greens & Bok choy – 200mg
    Butter Leaf Lettuce - 200mg
    Spring Greens & Spinach - 190mg 
    Swiss Chard - 150mg
    Beetroot - 125mg
    Kale & Cabbage – 125mg
    Watercress & Radishes - 100mg

        These are not absolute numbers, as the amount of nitrates in each vegetable vary depending on the growing season and the
        health of the soil. However, note that nitrates are largely found in dark leafy greens.

2.    Nitric Oxide Foundation capsules by Berkeley Life. This capsule contains 158mg of concentrated dietary nitrate. It can serve as a great adjunct to quickly and easily elevate nitric oxide levels.  


3.    “Feel Good” Beetroot Powder can be found on Costco’s online store and costs just $31.00 for 170 servings. That's organic pure beetroot for just 18 cents per serving that provides 100mg of nitrate. Other beetroot powders are far more expensive and don't offer this amount of nitrate. 

Mix 1 teaspoon of beetroot powder into your morning coffee, smoothie or simple glass of water. Or if the taste isn’t pleasing then try mixing a “Power Shot” of your own choosing.  Here are a few recipes to try: 
•    1 tsp beetroot powder with 6-10 oz unsweetened almond milk 
•    1 tsp beetroot powder, 10 oz water with a squeeze of lemon or lime.  
•    1 tsp beetroot powder, 1 scoop Orgain Keto Collagen Protein (Vanilla), in 10 to 12 oz water
•    1 tsp beetroot powder, 1 scoop Thorne Research Collagen Plus and ½ teaspoon of Thorne, Buffered C Powder.
•    Cardiac Cocktail: beetroot powder 1 tsp + cocoa powder 1 tsp + Buffered Vitamin C powder ½ tsp + Green tea matcha powder ½ tsp + Orgain Keto powder ½ scoop just to flavor it. 

Put your NO to the test and measure your NO level. How? Berkeley Life offers saliva nitric oxide test strips. Follow the instructions on the container and measure your nitric oxide levels daily to make sure you are getting in the target range.  

If you are getting low readings, implement one or more of the strategies above in order to increase your NO levels. Try adding more green leafy vegetables to your diet. If that doesn’t improve your readings, try adding 1 to 3 servings of beetroot powder spread throughout the day. Or simply add 1 or 2 capsules of the Nitric Oxide Foundation to your daily routine. You can play around with any of the three options above in order to improve your test strip readings. 

Heavy athletic training or endurance event coming up? Nitrates greatrly enhance athletic performance. The International Olympic Committee states that nitrate supplementation is not only legal and healthy, but is one of the few adjuncts that actually works to boost performance. Athletic benefits include enhanced endurance, better blood and oxygen delivery to working muscles and improved energy production from the mitochondria. Athletes also use more nitrates than inactive people so the dose of nitrate intake may need to be adjusted upward to support optimal performance and recovery. 


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