Eating spinach makes for more efficient muscles, helpful for ME or CFS sufferers


A new study published in Cell Metabolism has found that after taking small doses of inorganic nitrate for three days people consume less oxygen whilst riding a bike, and that the reason for this can be traced to the increased efficiency of the mitochondria that power our cells.

Researchers say this can help to explain the known health benefits of fruits and vegetables, particularly leafy greens, which are already known to prevent cardiovascular disease and diabetes, but the inorganic nitrate is now a candidate to explain those actions.

Until recently nitrate was not thought to have any nutritional value, and some thought it might be harmful. Eddie Weitzberg and Jon Lundberg of the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden showed that dietary nitrate combines with friendly bacteria in our mouths to make nitric oxide, a compound known for over two decades to be a physiologically important molecule, for instance opening our blood vessels to lower blood pressure.

The effects of consuming a high level of inorganic nitrate is as yet unclear, and the researchers would like to repeat the experiment in people with conditions related to mitochondrial dysfunction, including diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In an interesting aside, Weitzberg suggests that the use of powerful mouthwashes may block the effects of inorganic nitrates by getting rid of the oral bacteria.

Source: Cell Metabolism


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First Published Febuary 2011

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