Does nitric ox­ide re­ally lower blood pres­sure? Q.

The Buffalo News - - WEATHER - Re­cently I read that nitric ox­ide might be use­ful for high blood pres­sure and other ail­ments. Does nitric ox­ide re­ally help lower blood pres­sure? If so, how much of the sup­ple­ment should a per­son with high blood pres­sure take each day? If it works, a lot

A. Green leafy veg­eta­bles and beets sup­ply di­etary ni­trate. In the body, this is con­verted to nitric ox­ide, which re­laxes blood ves­sels and low­ers blood pres­sure (Nutri­tion Re­search Re­views, De­cem­ber 2017).

A study in healthy older peo­ple demon­strated that con­sum­ing beet juice rich in ni­trates low­ered blood pres­sure, re­duced the clot­ting ac­tiv­ity of blood and had an­ti­in­flam­ma­tory prop­er­ties (Nu­tri­ents, Nov. 22, 2017). We are not aware of stud­ies uti­liz­ing nitric ox­ide as a di­etary sup­ple­ment.

To learn more about beet juice, grape juice, pome­gran­ate juice and dark cho­co­late as foods that can help with blood pres­sure con­trol, you may wish to read our Guide to Blood Pres­sure Treat­ment. Any­one who would like a copy, please send $3 in check or money or­der with a stamped, self-ad­dressed en­ve­lope to: Grae­dons’ Peo­ple’s Phar­macy, No. B-67, P.O. Box 52027, Durham, NC 27717-2027. It also can be down­loaded for $2 from our web­site peo­ple­sphar­macy.com.

A. There is a pop­u­lar belief that con­sum­ing dairy prod­ucts can con­trib­ute to nasal congestion. We have strug­gled to find re­search con­firm­ing this con­nec­tion. We think, how­ever, that peo­ple suf­fer­ing with on­go­ing si­nusi­tis might want to try switch­ing to nondairy bev­er­ages and foods as an ex­per­i­ment.

A re­cent re­view demon­strates that more than 10 per­cent of U.S. adults have food al­ler­gies, with shell­fish and milk most com­mon (JAMA Net­work Open, Jan. 4, 2019). Peo­ple who sus­pect an al­lergy would do well to see a doc­tor about al­lergy test­ing.

A. We have been im­pressed by the num­ber of peo­ple who re­port a ben­e­fit from this sim­ple ap­proach. Se­le­nium sul­fide is an in­gre­di­ent in many dan­druff sham­poos. It works in part by sup­press­ing the growth of yeast, es­pe­cially Malassezia. This or­gan­ism is as­so­ci­ated with dan­druff and se­b­or­rheic der­mati­tis, a con­di­tion in which skin on the face be­comes itchy, red and flaky.

Rosacea is a dif­fer­ent con­di­tion that may be due in part to an im­mune re­ac­tion to small mites that nor­mally live on the skin. Symp­toms in­clude a ten­dency to flush or blush read­ily, per­sis­tent red­ness and small bumps on the skin that re­sem­ble pim­ples. Se­le­nium sul­fide ap­pears to mod­er­ate this im­mune re­ac­tion so that symp­toms be­come less se­vere.

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