EP 170 – What is Nitric Oxide?

When choosing topics to talk about here, I often need inspiration and a better memory than I have to recall what you want to hear about or what I want to share with you that isn’t even on your radar. Today’s topic is the latter, a topic that I have wanted to share for a long while, and I have either forgotten it as I plan an episode or another trumped it. As with most things, timing is everything, and in asking my guest today to help unpack what on earth Nitric Oxide is and why you should care, he has recently taught colleagues about this precious and important molecule, so he’s well-prepped about it, and my work today might be to keep it at your level! Nitric oxide is a molecule of many wonders, and if you haven’t heard about it, you likely understand its lacking effects like heart disease, diabetes, and erectile dysfunction. In a nutshell, Nitric oxide levels in your body should be kept at their ideal levels to promote heart health, exercise performance, sexual function, immunological function, and cognitive function. That ticks a bunch of boxes, doesn’t it? Have we found a new magic bullet for health? No, it’s in you already, and you didn’t even know it. But do you have enough? Possibly not for a bunch of reasons like breathing through your mouth or not supplying your body with the precursors to this vasodilator, bronchodilator, and anti-inflammatory agent. What you also need to know is that it’s an unstable molecule that degrades quickly in the bloodstream, so it has to constantly be replenished. With it helping to reduce blood pressure and acting as a powerful antioxidant for all the cells in the body, we need to know more. So guess who I invited to help us unpack this? If you’re new here, you’re in for a treat, if you’ve been around, you’ll be smiling about now. Today on EAT THIS with Lianne, what is nitric oxide, why do you need to know about it, and how to increase your levels with our listener favourite, Dr. Davis Brockenshire, Functional Medicine Expert. 

I can almost guarantee that learning about nitric oxide and how it can help you was not on your to-do list today. But never fear, I’ve got your back, and while this might not seem to be a need-to-know right now, it’s very possible that you could in the future. As with all minerals, vitamins, and all that your body uses to keep you upright, Nitric Oxide is an unsung hero for many aspects of health. 

To enhance the discussion about the impact of nitric oxide and how to support your cardiovascular, immune, and brain function, Dr. Davis Brockenshire from Innovative Health Solutions is here again for an educating and insightful episode and show.

Before we dive into this topic, in this new season, we are starting a monthly Ask the Dr. series, and once a month, Dr. B is going to be answering the questions that you send in via liannephillipson.com or sproutright.com. Much like the kitchen sink part 1 and 2, episodes 160 and 166, Dr. B loves getting your questions with his expertise after over 20 years in practice and treating thousands of patients in his clinic. 


  • First, please share what nitric oxide is and how you see its lack of impact on your patients. 
  • How does it work to support cardiovascular function and lower blood pressure? 
  • What about sexual health and ED? 
  • What challenges NO in the body? 
  • What about brain function? 
  • Is there a mental health component to this? 
  • What do you recommend to increase NO?


Nitric oxide levels should be kept at their ideal levels to promote heart health, exercise performance, sexual function, immunological function, and cognitive function.

Nitric oxide is necessary for the following reasons:

  1. Cardiovascular health: Nitric oxide improves cardiovascular health by regulating blood pressure, preventing blood clots, and reducing inflammation in blood vessels.
  2. Immune function: Nitric oxide supports immunity and the immune system function and can offer protection from some infections and illnesses.
  3. Brain function: Nitric oxide impacts how neurotransmitters are released and how nerve cells communicate, which can enhance memory and cognitive performance.

Foods to boost nitric oxide

The compound found in many vegetable nitrates (spelled with an A, not an I as in sodium nitrites found in bacon, hotdogs, and processed and lunch meats) a compound that, when consumed, produces nitric oxide, which aids in relaxing blood vessels and boosting blood flow.  

  1. Beets are the number one food to consume and one that I recommend to ALL men for sexual function and for vasodilation of all blood vessels in the heart and the smaller ones in the penis to prevent and treat erectile dysfunction. 
  2. Dark leafy green vegetables like spinach, arugula, kale, chard, and celery. Also, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli. 
  3. Watermelon is an excellent source of the amino acid L-citrulline, which the body converts into L-arginine and eventually NO. Before exercising, drinking watermelon juice boosted NO levels and enhanced blood flow to the muscles, both of which can improve athletic performance.
  4. Chocolate 
  5. Meat 

Foods that support NO in a more roundabout way. 

  1. Citrus fruits, kiwi, and other vitamin C-containing fruits – vitamin C, which is plentiful in citrus fruits, helps to stimulate the synthesis of NO by maintaining the levels of the amino acid L-arginine, which serves as a precursor to NO.
  2. Garlic as a powerful antioxidant – Antioxidants included in garlic can boost the synthesis of NO and protect the body from oxidative stress. Allicin, one of the chemicals found in garlic, has been found to have anti-inflammatory characteristics.
  3. Walnuts – again a precursor to L-arginine, an amino acid that serves as a precursor to NO, is abundant in walnuts. The body may produce NO from L-arginine when it is eaten.
  4. Salmon – a strong source of antioxidants, which can boost the synthesis of NO and protect the body from oxidative stress.

How to boost nitric oxide production naturally.

  1. Breathing through your nose – exercising, sleeping, at your desk, close your mouth and breathe through your mouth. If you don’t know what happens overnight, listen to episode 90 and try out mouth-taping. 
  2. Humming – your paranasal sinuses are stimulated, leading to increased nitric oxide levels that are absorbed through your lungs into your cells. 

Test strips

  1. Dr. B mentioned using test strips. Get them here https://amzn.to/47ibfL1


  1. L-Arginine – a precursor to NO. In those with high blood pressure, including pregnant women, L-arginine is effective at lowering blood pressure.
  2. Antioxidants – Kid Boost, Skin Boost, Glutathione, vitamin C, zinc, selenium and vitamin E – you’ll find those in Adult Boost too. 
  3. Methyl B12 
  4. Liposome B Complex 
  5. Taurine that’s in Magnesium BisGlycinate

Note: L-citrulline is a dispensable amino acid, meaning your body can make all it needs from eating protein. When L-arginine is converted to nitric oxide, L-citrulline is produced as a byproduct. 


  1. Gidia Molinaro

    Hi Lianne
    Love all your podcasts and I look forward to them weekly. On August 21st podcast with Dr. Davis Brockenshire, he mentioned mushrooms that clear plaque build up in arteries. I didn’t catch the name. Can you let me know the name, and is it a fresh mushroom that you cook?
    Thanks so much!

    • I’m thrilled to hear your love of the podcast! Dr. B mentioned Tremella. It’s not that common to find and cook. Use code EATTHIS on RealMushrooms.com for a 15% discount. That’s where Dr B and I get ours from.

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