Testing nitric oxide levels in saliva might be cheaper, quicker way to measure hypertension.

The National Association of Nutrition Professionals (NANP) California and Berkeley Test have teamed-up to provide an inexpensive and easy-to-use saliva test strip for monitoring dietary-derived nitric oxide.

Why nitric oxide? The NO chemical is a simple yet powerful molecule that regulates blood pressure by dilating and relaxes narrowed blood vessels and increasing oxygen and blood flow. As the body ages, it begins to lose its ability to make nitric oxide. The discovery of NO’s importance garnered three scientists the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1998. In 1992, the journal Science named NO ‘Molecule of the Year’ – an award for the most significant development in scientific research.

Plant-based diets enriched with leafy greens, such as arugula, bok choy, kale, mustard greens, and spinach, replenish the body’s ability to generate cardio-protective levels of nitric oxide. NO is found naturally in almost all types of organisms, from bacteria to plants, fungi, and human cells.

Today, nearly one-third of all people treated for hypertension with pharmaceutical drugs still have elevated blood pressure and all associated cardiovascular disease risk factors. This has necessitated a shift towards cardio-protective diets, exercise and other lifestyle-oriented approaches to prevention. Diets rich in nitric oxide-potent vegetables and greens is one of them.

A Berkeley Test/NANP press release says the saliva test takes one minute and is used 2 hours after consuming plant-based meals “during which time the body transforms inorganic nitrate into cardio-protective nitric oxide. It is well established through published clinical evaluations that elevated levels of nitric oxide decreases blood pressure in pre-hypertensive individuals.”

In less than a minute, the results from the Berkeley Test strips are analyzed on the iPhone Cardio Diet Tracker App optimized for iOS7. The app provides a personalized record of which foods in an individual’s diet elevate natural nitric oxide so those levels can be sustained yielding increased energy and fitness. The updated Cardio Diet Tracker v1.1 allows users to share their dietary success on Facebook and to receive alerts throughout the day to check NO status in order to make real-time dietary changes.

They add that “hypertension can be delayed, if not prevented, by maintaining a daily diet low in sodium and a DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) diet eating plan enriched in nitric oxide potent vegetables and leafy greens.” They stress the importance of establishing a daily routine of improved eating habits: “For the vast majority of Americans, 2 cups of vegetables is often the upper limit of one’s daily intake and 5 serving per week is typical and far less than the DASH diet recommended servings of 3-5 cups per day.”


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