In the US over 29 million people or about ten percent of the population suffer from diabetes, and it’s the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. It goes without saying, but there is nothing good about diabetes.Researchers around the world have been studying the effects of nitric oxide and dietary nitrate on diabetes. Here are five of the most fascinating things that they’ve uncovered.
Please note that this information is not medical advice. It was written for informational and entertainment purposes only.
1. Dietary Nitrate and Weight Loss
A study published in the journal named Diabetes found that dietary nitrate may aid in weight loss by helping to change white fat into brown fat. Brown fat has energy-burning properties and is more common in lean people and is used by animals to keep warm during hibernation.
2. Nitric Oxide and Wound Healing
Nitric oxide is a mediator of wound healing, vasodilation and anti-microbial activity. Diabetes impairs wound healing. This is in part because diabetes can impair the body’s natural ability to produce nitric oxide. (See next bullet point).
One study on arginine supplementation and diabetic rats found that nitric oxide helped restore impaired healing. Another studied found that microscopic nano-particles that released nitric oxide also improved wound healing. Other studies have found that nitric oxide is used by microphages to ward off infection.
3. Nitric Oxide and Circulation
Endothelial dysfunction is a systemic pathological condition which can be broadly defined as an imbalance between vasodilating and vasoconstricting substances produced by the endothelium or overall functions of the endothelium . Normal functions of endothelial cells include production of nitric oxide (NO), regulation of platelet adhesion, coagulation, immune function, control of volume, and electrolyte content of the intravascular and extravascular spaces. Endothelial dysfunction is primarily due to reduction in NO bioavailabilty, and a marker for vascular health.
Your body produces nitric oxide in the lining of its veins. When your veins and vein lining aren’t working properly, they produce less nitric oxide. Nitric oxide also protects the veins, so the more your veins get damaged, the worse off you are.
4. Nitric Oxide and Repair Cells
A study done at the University of Florida, found that people with diabetes often have low levels of nitric oxide. Without nitric oxide, repair cells were unable to do their jobs.
We went on to show that actually what’s happening is nitric oxide is affecting the skeleton, or scaffold of the cell, and by adding nitric oxide we’re able to rearrange the scaffold,” Segal said. “When we rearrange the scaffold, the cells are able to migrate. The benefit of this is that when cells have improved movement they are able to repair the endothelium (the lining of the blood vessels) better and perhaps prevent atherosclerosis.”
UF scientists suspect that in the cells taken from diabetic patients, nitric oxide interacts with a protein that steers the protein to the cell surface instead of inserting it into the cell as it would in healthy people. That causes the cell to stiffen.
The finding raises the possibility that nitric oxide could someday be used to keep the cells mobile, enabling them to travel to distant sites when needed, Segal said.
5. Dietary Nitrate and Reaction Time in Diabetics
They did a study on diabetics by giving them beet juice or a beet juice placebo. The diabetics who drank beet juice had quicker reaction times. Although there is a lot of good evidence that links beet juice supplementation to better cognitive functioning, this study provides the first direct link between beet juice supplementation and quicker reaction times that I have seen. This good news for athletes, diabetics and everyone.