This holiday season we wish you not “no más” or “no more,” like the boxer, Roberto Duran, said to the referee when he unexpectedly called it quits during his fight with Sugar Ray Leonard in 1980, but more or más nitric oxide (NO).
We’ve written extensively about nitric oxide in our blog (see NO Puns) and elsewhere (see this review NO to cancer: The complex and multifaceted role of nitric oxide and the epigenetic nitric oxide donor, RRx-001 ) mainly because our lead small molecule, RRx-001 (nibrozetone) is an NO donor under hypoxia and because the availability of NO, which tends to diminish with age and in disorders like diabetes, hypertension, pulmonary hypertension, heart failure, chronic kidney disease, and peripheral arterial disease, is one of the keys to a long and healthy life.
Nitric oxide is a short-lived gas that is responsible for vasodilation or opening of blood vessels to lower blood pressure. In addition, as a powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and inhibitor of platelet activation and aggregation, NO prevents atherogenesis, the accumulation of plaque on the innermost layers of arteries. Nitric oxide is also responsible for the activity of Viagra, Cialis, and Levitra through better penile blood flow.
Diets rich in green leafy vegetables reduce blood pressure (BP) and the risk of cardiovascular events not necessarily because of their high antioxidant vitamin content, which several clinical trials have failed to provide support for, but because of their high inorganic nitrate (NO3−) content, since NO3−serves as a precursor for NO.
Similarly, the well-established benefits of a Mediterranean diet are likely related at least in part to its NO-boosting effects. In addition to the consumption of nitrate-rich vegetables like spinach, celery, and parsley, the diet also prioritizes nuts, legumes, and fish, which are important sources of L-arginine, another nitric oxide precursor.
So, here’s to NO más, improved vasodilation, and a healthy and happy 2024.