Every now and then, to see the other side of things, my guilty pleasure is listening to extreme conservative talk radio. 95.9fm is programmed into my car radio, which my wife hates, but then so is NPR to keep it all in balance (you know, like the Force and the Dark Side). Plus, Sean Hannity is an endless source of insanity that makes even the craziest people in my life seem downright normal and level-headed.
Hannity started pushing this Super Beet concentrated extract quite frequently, which stood out to me because I don’t associate him with health in any way, for some reason. He promotes the clean energy boost and life changing powers of the nitric oxide naturally found in beets, touting benefits from stamina boost all the way to cardiovascular health.
Welcome to my wheelhouse, Hannity. And yours too, if you have fibromyalgia.
Nitric oxide (not to be confused with the laughing gas, nitrous oxide) is a gaseous signalling molecule found to play a part in almost every regulatory system in the body. In 1992 it won the “Molecule of the Year” award- yes, that’s a thing, and within 6 years, the scientists that did the research won Nobel Peace prizes because of their discovery that nitric oxide is more than just a junk gas in the body. They discovered initially that it is a vaso-dilator, meaning that where it goes, it dilates blood vessels. This spawned a mad rush in the cardiovascular world of medicine, an entire industry of dick pills, and now is running rampant through the bodybuilding scene.
Since then, tons of research has been done on nitric oxide and its other gaso-transmitter friends in our bodies, largely hydrogen sulfide and carbon monoxide. Nitric oxide not only dilates blood vessels but any smooth muscle in the body, from bronchial tubes to lymph ducts. It even flows through cell membranes and commands cells to create more ATP.
Interesting side note, on a line by line basis, it also matches Chinese Medicine’s classic definition of the functions of “Qi,” which translates to “gas.” Fun fact.
Nitric oxide is making money right now. You know if Hannity is pushing it then the market is flooded, and all of these products are there to increase nitric oxide levels. So can you have too much? Yes, very much so. While low levels of nitric oxide are linked to many conditions such as chronic fatigue, cardiovascular disorders, URIs, and even malaria, high levels of nitric oxide are linked to hair loss, asthma, allergies, chronic widespread pain, chronic fatigue, insomnia, TMJ, suicidal thoughts, and depression. For high and low levels, this is a very short list of what nitric oxide is linked to. Further, nitric oxide bioavailability in different physiological systems can also have effects, meaning that proper distribution is important as well. Because of its importance in vasodilation and the endocrine system, nitric oxide plays a huge role in libido and sexual function. High levels of NO start having oxidizing effects on the body, burning nerves and oxidizing organs, not unlike running a car engine too hot.
Some of the scariest research that is coming up about high levels of NO is not really released in the general media, because there is a ton of money being made off nitric oxide supplements. Even several of those Nobel Laureate awarded scientists are now spokespeople for the supplement industry.
When we look at fibromyalgia we need to look at the underlying cause. It isn’t as simple as saying there is chronic widespread pain, and it isn’t something that can be fixed with only Lyrica.
It may be tempting to be dragging yourself from place to place, fatigue settled into your very bones while pain tears through your shoulders and neck, and hear someone talk about the wonder supplement of Super Beets, and think, “It gives more energy? I need that!” But if your chronic fatigue and pain are rooted in elevated levels of NO that supplement will make it worse.
Laura Ingraham was on conservative talk radio the other day, and right after saying something about Islamic journalists should be put to death, she pushed Super Beets, saying its what she takes constantly to get her through the day. She said that she needs something to help push her because of her crippling migraines. I got a little happy inside hearing this. You see, I got a little glimpse into her health. I know that she is super high in nitric oxide, and Super Beets is only causing those migraines to get worse.