Nutrients that facilitate the production of Nitric Oxide Synthase


Nitric oxide synthase (NOS), also known as human endothelial nitric oxide synthase, is a family of enzymes facilitates the body’s production of nitric oxide by stripping a nitrogen atom from arginine molecules and combining the nitrogen atom with oxygen to produce nitric oxide. The remaining arginine (without the nitrogen) becomes L-Citrulline.

There are two pathways that produces to produce nitric oxide in the human body:

  • Nitrate – nitrite – nitric oxide pathway
  • L-arginine – nitric oxide pathway

The L-arginine – nitric oxide pathway is depended on a properly functioning NOS enzyme system. The Nitrate-Nitrite-nitric oxide pathway is not dependent on NOS.

There are three forms of nitric oxide synthase:

nNOS or NOS1: Neuronal nitric oxide synthase: this form is present in your neurons, peripheral nerve cells, and pancreatic islet cells. Neuronal nitric oxide synthase produces nitric oxide in the brain to use primarily for signaling across the neuron’s.

iNOS or NOS-2: Inducible nitric oxide synthase: this form of and NOS is present in macro phages, hepatocytes, signal via sites and smooth muscle cells. The body uses this nitric oxide synthase to produce nitric oxide as part of the immune system. Nitric oxide is detrimental to the bacteria.

eNOS or NOS-3: Endothelial nitric oxide synthase: this form is capable of synthesizing nitric oxide in vascular endothelial cells where it appears to play an important role in the control of as attention and platelet aggregation.

The following nutrients have been studied and research for their ability to facilitate the production of nitric oxide synthase:


Ramamoorthy, L, et al. Acemannan, a beta-(1-4)-acetylated mannan, induces nitric oxide production in macrophage cell line RAW 264.7. Mol Pharmacol. 50(4):878-884, 1996


Alaghband-Zadeh, J., et al. The natural substrate for nitric oxide synthase activity. Cell Biochem Funct. 19(4):277-280, 2001


Chiou, C. S., et al. Effects of hesperidin on cyclic strain-induced endothelin-1 release in human umbilical vein endothelial cells. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2008


Fitzpatrick, D. F., et al. Endothelium-dependent vascular effects of Pycnogenol. J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 32(4):509-515, 1998


Sanchez, M., et al. Quercetin downregulates NADPH oxidase, increases eNOS activity and prevents endothelial dysfunction in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Journal of Hypertension. 24(1):75-84, 2006


Gresele, P., et al. Resveratrol, at concentrations attainable with moderate wine consumption, stimulates human platelet nitric oxide production. Journal of Nutrition. 138(9):1602-1608, 2008


Loscalzo, J., et al. L-arginine and atherothrombosis. Journal of Nutrition. 134(10 Supplement):2798S-2800S, 2004

Vitamin C

d’Uscio, L. V., et al. Long-term vitamin C treatment increases vascular tetrahydrobiopterin levels and nitric oxide synthase activity. Circ Res. 92(1):88-95, 2003

Vitamin E

Newaz, M. A., et al. alpha-tocopherol increased nitric oxide synthase activity in blood vessels of spontaneously hypertensive rats. Am J Hypertens. 12:839-844, 1999


Das, I., et al. Potent activation of nitric oxide synthase by garlic: a basis for its therapeutic applications. Curr Med Res Opin. 13(5):257-263, 1995

Ginkgo Biloba

Chen, X., et al. Extracts of Ginkgo biloba and ginsenosides exert cerebral vasorelaxation via a nitric oxide pathway. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 24(12):958-959, 1997

Calorie Restriction

Nisoli, E., et al. Calorie restriction promotes mitochondrial biogenesis by inducing the expression of eNOS.   Science. 310(5746):314-317, 2005.

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