As we age, it’s natural for blood flow to become impeded—which can affect us in many different ways, from heart health to energy to sexual performance. However, there are many lifestyle factors that can also affect your blood flow and circulation.
One huge factor that can impact blood flow is nitric oxide, a compound that’s naturally produced by the body that relaxes the blood vessels—allowing blood flow to increase. Unfortunately, nitric oxide production can be inhibited for several reasons.
Luckily, there are several things you can do to naturally help boost your body’s nitric oxide production, including exercise, staying hydrated, and taking well-formulated blood flow support supplements.
In this article, you will learn:
- What affects your blood flow and circulation,
- What nitric oxide is and the benefits of increased nitric oxide production,
- And how you can improve your blood flow naturally.
What affects circulation?
Blood flow is intimately tied to health. Blood flow is what allows oxygen and nutrients to be delivered to all of the cells in your body, so even slight impediments to blood flow can cause health problems.
In its mildest form, poor circulation may present as cold hands and feet, while at its most severe, poor circulation can be a major contributor to strokes and heart attacks by impeding blood flow.
There are several major factors that affect your blood flow:
- Aging. You may naturally experience decreased blood flow as you age.
- Genetics. Your genetics can also affect your circulation or your risk of developing poor blood flow.
- Weight. If you’re overweight or obese, you may experience poor circulation.
- Smoking. Smoking causes long-term and often irreversible damage that can affect your blood flow.
- Physical activity. People who are more physically active have better circulation than sedentary people.
- Stress. Chronic stress may increase your blood pressure, restricting blood flow.
- Sleep. Inadequate sleep may also cause restricted blood flow as a result of the stress it puts on the body.
- Blood pressure. High blood pressure is a result of the blood vessels constricting, which also leads to decreased blood flow.
- Other health conditions. There are several other health conditions that may affect your blood flow and circulation, including type 1 or type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Although some of these factors are out of your control, there are several ways you may be able to promote better blood flow through positive lifestyle changes. Most of these result in increased nitric oxide production, a key compound that helps regulate your blood vessels.
What is nitric oxide?
Nitric oxide is a molecule that’s naturally produced in the body. It’s a vasodilator, meaning it signals the blood vessels to dilate—or to relax and widen. This widening allows blood flow to increase, promoting improved circulation and oxygenation of cells across the body. (1)
When problems occur with nitric oxide production in the body, poor blood flow is often a result. This can lead to the development of high blood pressure, and may affect the many body systems that depend on nitric oxide production to receive oxygen from the blood. Some of these body systems include the heart, the brain and nervous system, the skin and joints, and the sexual organs. (1)
If you are dealing with poor blood flow, you may be interested in the benefits of increased nitric oxide production and if it’s possible to naturally boost your own body’s nitric oxide production.
Benefits of increased NO production
Here are just a few of the many benefits of increased nitric oxide production in people who may be dealing with poor blood flow.
Increased nitric oxide production may help improve heart health. Research indicates that supplementing with nitrates may boost your body’s natural nitric oxide production because these nitrates can be converted to nitric oxide in the body.
The heart health benefits of this include decreased blood pressure, improved endothelial (blood vessel lining) function, and improved blood flow. (2)
Skin, hair, and joint health
Increased nitric oxide production may also improve the health of your skin, hair, and joints. To maintain their health, these cells need oxygen and nutrients—which are delivered through the blood. If blood flow is limited, your skin, hair, and joints may suffer.
You may note duller, more delicate skin, brittle hair, and weaker joints if you have poor circulation.
Luckily, nitric oxide seems to impart a variety of positive benefits on your skin, hair, and joints. In fact, topical nitric oxide is currently being studied for its potential as a skin care treatment. (3)
Increased nitric oxide may also improve your energy, helping you to live a more normal life and do more of the things that you enjoy. Not only can it work by increasing blood flow and oxygenation of your cells, but it can also act directly on the cell.
The mitochondria is a structure in each cell in your body that is responsible for energy production. Increased nitric oxide appears to improve the mitochondria’s ability to produce energy, which can result in more energy for you. (4)
Nitric oxide also plays a role in your brain and nervous system function. If you find that you’re more forgetful lately, you may see some benefits from increasing your nitric oxide production.
In addition to promoting blood flow and oxygenation of the brain and nervous system cells, nitric oxide may also behave as a neurotransmitter—a signal-carrier for your brain. Early research in animals suggests that nitric oxide as a neurotransmitter may play a key role in memory storage in the brain. (5)
Increased nitric oxide may also benefit you in the bedroom. Blood flow is vital for sexual arousal and to maintain an erection, and nitric oxide plays a key role in this.
In fact, nitric oxide is such a potent erection trigger that it is even being studied for topical use. (6)
However, some nutritional supplements also show promise for improving erectile dysfunction. These include the amino acids arginine and citrulline, which can promote nitric oxide production. (7)
How can you improve your blood flow naturally?
There are several ways that you can naturally improve your blood flow or promote increased nitric oxide production. These include exercising regularly, staying hydrated, and adding targeted, well-formulated, and evidence-backed supplements to your daily routine.
Exercise is a great way to improve your blood flow naturally, and—best of all—you don’t have to do long or intense workouts in order to see the benefits.
Regular exercise can help prevent age-related vascular weakening, decrease high blood pressure, decrease inflammation, and improve blood vessel function—all of which may lead to improved circulation. (8)
Most people should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise per week, which can be as simple as a brisk walk several days weekly. However, you can start slow and build up your exercise as tolerable. Even small changes in your physical activity level can boast significant benefits.
Being adequately hydrated
Hydration is also key to support healthy blood flow. Your body is mostly water. If you are dehydrated, your blood volume may decrease—which can impede blood flow. Low water intake has also been linked to high blood pressure. This can lead to vasoconstriction, which keeps the blood vessels tight and small, also resulting in decreased blood flow. (9)
Unless your doctor tells you otherwise—which may be the case if you have congestive heart failure or kidney disease—you should aim to drink about 8 cups of fluid daily, preferably water. You may need more if you live in a hot climate, are physically active, or if you’re spending time outside.
Sometimes, your body’s natural thirst signals weaken as you age. Although you may not feel thirsty, it’s important to drink regardless in order to provide your body the fluid it needs to function properly. (10)
These are good signs that you are adequately hydrated:
- You drink when you are thirsty instead of ignoring those signals,
- You aim for at least 8 cups of fluid per day,
- Your urine is pale yellow,
- Or, you drink half your body weight in ounces.
There are also some targeted supplement options that may naturally increase your nitric oxide, helping to promote blood flow.
For instance, Juvenon’s BloodFlow-7™ is specifically formulated to support blood flow and can help do this in three different unique ways:
- Nitrates: Dietary nitrates are found in foods, and your body is able to process these nitrates into nitric oxide. BloodFlow-7 contains beet root extract, which is naturally rich in nitrates and powerful antioxidants. (2)
- Amino acids: Certain amino acids—or building blocks of protein—have been linked to increased nitric oxide production in scientific research. These include citrulline and arginine, which are both found in BloodFlow-7. (7)
- Protection from free radicals: BloodFlow-7 also contains a unique botanical blend as well as the compound trans-resveratrol, which may help protect from free radical attacks that may cause nitric oxide to degrade, as well as damage your cells. (11)
Because it supports nitric oxide in three ways, this supplement may be the solution you’re looking for if you’re dealing with problems related to decreased blood flow.
Although circulation can be affected by many different factors—some out of your control—there are still some changes you can make to help improve your blood flow naturally. Nitric oxide plays a key role in promoting healthy blood flow, and the benefits of increased production include improved heart health, skin and joint health, sexual health, brain function, and energy levels.
You may be able to naturally improve your blood flow by exercising regularly and staying adequately hydrated.
You may also want to consider adding Juvenon’s BloodFlow-7 to your routine, as it works in three different ways to promote nitric oxide production and support blood flow.
- Chen K, Pittman RN, Popel AS. Nitric oxide in the vasculature: where does it come from and where does it go? A quantitative perspective. Antioxid Redox Signal. 2008;10(7):1185-1198. doi:10.1089/ars.2007.1959
- Ivy JL. Inorganic Nitrate Supplementation for Cardiovascular Health. Methodist Debakey Cardiovasc J. 2019;15(3):200-206. doi:10.14797/mdcj-15-3-200
- Del Rosso JQ, Kircik LH. Spotlight on the Use of Nitric Oxide in Dermatology: What Is It? What Does It Do? Can It Become an Important Addition to the Therapeutic Armamentarium for Skin Disease?. J Drugs Dermatol. 2017;16(1):s4-s10.
- Ghasemi M, Mayasi Y, Hannoun A, Eslami SM, Carandang R. Nitric Oxide and Mitochondrial Function in Neurological Diseases. Neuroscience. 2018;376:48-71. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2018.02.017
- Aso Y, Ray RP, Long X, et al. Nitric oxide acts as a cotransmitter in a subset of dopaminergic neurons to diversify memory dynamics. Elife. 2019;8:e49257. Published 2019 Nov 14. doi:10.7554/eLife.49257
- Nam E, Yoo S, Kim HY, Kim YR, Heo YJ. Transdermal water-in-oil nanocarriers of nitric oxide for triggering penile erection. Sci Rep. 2018;8(1):7312. Published 2018 May 9. doi:10.1038/s41598-018-25786-x
- Pyke RE. Toward a Scientific Nutritional Supplement Combination for Prostatism and Erectile Dysfunction I: From Known Pharmacology to Clinical Testing. J Med Food. 2019;22(5):529-537. doi:10.1089/jmf.2018.0148
- Bruning RS, Sturek M. Benefits of exercise training on coronary blood flow in coronary artery disease patients. Prog Cardiovasc Dis. 2015;57(5):443-453. doi:10.1016/j.pcad.2014.10.006
- Bringmann A, Hollborn M, Kohen L, Wiedemann P. Intake of dietary salt and drinking water: Implications for the development of age-related macular degeneration. Mol Vis. 2016;22:1437-1454. Published 2016 Dec 22.
- Picetti D, Foster S, Pangle AK, et al. Hydration health literacy in the elderly. Nutr Healthy Aging. 2017;4(3):227-237. Published 2017 Dec 7. doi:10.3233/NHA-170026
- Di Meo S, Venditti P. Evolution of the Knowledge of Free Radicals and Other Oxidants. Oxid Med Cell Longev. 2020;2020:9829176. Published 2020 Apr 23. doi:10.1155/2020/9829176