Many foods contain high levels of nitrates or nitrites, which raise nitric oxide levels in the body.
Foods high in nitrates and nitrites include deli meats, corned beef, and all cured, pickled, and dehydrated foods. Spinach, beets, celery, and arugula are also especially high in nitrates. Strawberries and raspberries have high levels too. Elevated nitric oxide in the nervous system and in muscles and joints is strongly connected to chronic pain.
Excitotoxins activate glutamate receptors linked to the pain process. An integral part of excitotoxicity is the generation of high levels of nitric oxide and high levels of free radicals.
This combination generates a very destructive type of free radical (peroxynitrite) that drives increased inflammation and pain.
I worry about the popular view among natural medicine purveyors that nitric oxide is a cure-all. This could result in a great worsening of painful conditions, especially migraine headaches, which are known to be linked to increased nitric oxide generation in the nervous system.
Nitric oxide can worsen other painful conditions such as diabetic neuropathy, other forms of neuropathy, fibromyalgia, complex regional pain, and chronic fatigue syndrome.
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