The nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway: An alternative to producing Nitric Oxide


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

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

Nitric oxide that is produced by the L-arginine-nitricoxide pathway is biosynthesized endogenously from L-arginine, oxygen, and NADPH by various nitric oxide synthase (NOS) enzymes.

The inorganic anions nitrate (NO3−) and nitrite (NO2−) were previously thought to be inert end products of endogenous nitric oxide (NO) metabolism. However, recent studies show that these supposedly inert anions can be recycled in vivo to form NO, representing an important alternative source of NO to the classical l-arginine–NO-synthase pathway. The nitrate – nitrite – nitric oxide pathway is independent of nitric oxide synthase.

The nitrate – nitrite – nitric oxide pathway elevates nitric oxide through the reduction of dietary nitrate in the form of nitrate rich vegetables such as leafy greens, spinach, arugula, and beetroot. The reduction of nitrate to nitrite occurs in the mouth, by commensal bacteria, which is an obligatory and necessary step.

Nitrate Content of Vegetables

VegetableNitrate content (in mg/kg)
Beet Root1,459mg/kg (range of 644–1,800mg/kg)
Radish1,868mg/kg (range of 1,060–2,600mg/kg)
Spinach2,137mg/kg (range of 65–4,259mg/kg)
Lettuce1,893mg/kg (range of 970–2,782mg/kg)
Lamb's lettuce2,572mg/kg
Chinese cabbage1,388mg/kg (range of 1,040–1,859mg/kg)
Swiss chard1,597mg/kg
Crown daisy5,150mg/kg
Turnip624mg/kg (307–908mg/kg)
Green beans496mg/kg (449–585mg/kg)
Cucumber240mg/kg (151–384mg/kg)
Carrot222mg/kg (121–316mg/kg)
Garlic183mg/kg (34–455mg/kg)
Green pepper111mg/kg (76–159mg/kg)
Tomatoes69mg/kg (27–170mg/kg)

In addition to or as an alternative to consuming nitrate rich vegetables, Nutriguard Research has formulated a supplement which produces nitric oxide in the body through the nitrate – nitrite – nitric oxide pathway utilizing potassium nitrate.

Following is the label printed on the bottle of Nutriguard Research’s Potassium Nitrate supplement:

There is increasing evidence that the whole protective benefits of diets rich in green leafy vegetables, or beets, and beet juice are mediated at least in part by the hiding nitrate content of these foods. Within the body, nitrate can be converted first two nitrite by oral bacteria, and then to nitric oxide, a hormone like compound that contributes importantly to the health of the circulatory system, brain, and bones.

Research also suggests that the nitric oxide generated via nitrate ingestion may improve the efficiency of muscle bioenergetics during exercise. In vegetables, nitrate usually occurs in association with potassium, an electrolyte that likewise is important for vascular health, and that is poorly supplied by many older refined diets. The nitrate content of four capsules, two capsules twice daily of this product about 600 mg is approximately equal to that provided by half liter of beet juice, the daily quantity of beet juice that has been employed in many intriguing recent clinical studies. These capsules provide food grade potassium nitrate, approved for use as a meat preservative.

Eating plenty of green leafy vegetables and drinking a lot of beet juice is a smart way to get your dietary nitrate, because these old foods contain other nutrients and phytochemicals that are protected. But optimal intakes of the Jews are quite expensive and it isn’t always easy to the large amounts of green leafy vegetables daily basis. So these capsules can help you to achieve a more consistent Apple intake of nitrate in conjunction with protective potassium. Do not exceed recommended dose.”


The nitrate–nitrite–nitric oxide pathway in physiology and therapeutics

The nitrate-nitrite-nitric oxide pathway: Its role in human exercise physiology

Nitrate–Nitrite–Nitric Oxide Pathway in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension Therapeutics

Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits

Ghosh, S. M.; Kapil, V.; Fuentes-Calvo, I.; Bubb, K. J.; Pearl, V.; Milsom, A. B.; Khambata, R.; Maleki-Toyserkani, S.; Yousuf, M.; Benjamin, N.; Webb, A. J.; Caulfield, M. J.; Hobbs, A. J.; Ahluwalia, A. (2013). “Enhanced Vasodilator Activity of Nitrite in Hypertension: Critical Role for Erythrocytic Xanthine Oxidoreductase and Translational Potential”. Hypertension 61 (5): 1091–102. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.00933. PMID 23589565.

Webb, A. J.; Patel, N.; Loukogeorgakis, S.; Okorie, M.; Aboud, Z.; Misra, S.; Rashid, R.; Miall, P.; Deanfield, J.; Benjamin, N.; MacAllister, R.; Hobbs, A. J.; Ahluwalia, A. (2008). “Acute Blood Pressure Lowering, Vasoprotective, and Antiplatelet Properties of Dietary Nitrate via Bioconversion to Nitrite”. Hypertension 51 (3): 784–90. doi:10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.103523. PMC 2839282. PMID 18250365.

Hezel, MP; Weitzberg, E (2013). “The oral microbiome and nitric oxide homoeostasis”. Oral Diseases: n/a. doi:10.1111/odi.12157.


Nutriguard Research – Potassium Nitrate

    Print This Post Print This Post