Grand Rapids chiropractor with your weekly health alert: New research shows that, after taking a small dose of inorganic nitrate for three days, healthy people consumed less oxygen while riding an exercise bike. This provides one explanation for the well-known health benefits leafy green vegetables in particular; the nitrate was equivalent to the amount found in a plate of spinach. Until recently, nitrate wasn’t thought to have any nutritional value at all. But in fact, dietary nitrate feeds into a pathway that produces nitric oxide, a physiologically important molecule that opens up your blood vessels to help lower your blood pressure. Science Daily reports:
“The new study offers yet another benefit of nitrate and the nitric oxides that stem from them. It appears that the increased mitochondrial efficiency is owed to lower levels of proteins that normally make the cellular powerhouses leaky.”
Questions still remain though. The current results show that increased dietary nitrate can have a short term effect. But it’s not yet clear what could happen in people who digest increased levels of inorganic nitrate over longer periods of time. The authors say it will be a natural next step to repeat the study with subjects with conditions linked to mitochondrial dysfunction, including diabetes and heart disease, to see if they also will be able to partake of the benefits of nitrates.