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What are the effects of nitric oxide?

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Quick Answer

Nitric oxide causes the blood vessels in the body to open wider, which helps blood flow through the vessels. Nitric oxide also assists with the release of insulin, growth hormone, and other important hormones and substances in the body, says WebMD.

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Full Answer

Patients looking to take nitric oxide, not to be confused with nitrous oxide, usually ingest it in the form of L-arginine, an amino acid. L-arginine is often used for blood vessel and heart conditions as well as treating leg pain and erectile dysfunction. L-arginine, which converts into nitric oxide, helps treat these conditions as it causes improved blood flow, WebMD states. Patients can use L-arginine along with other medications, such as ibuprofen. However, all medications should be approved or discussed with a physician in order to avoid potentially dangerous drug interactions.

L-arginine may cause a few side effects, though the amino acid is mostly safe, WebMD states. Patients may suffer from abdominal pain, abnormalities in the blood, allergies and low blood pressure. The drug improves postsurgery recovery, but it is not effective in preventing heart attacks. People with cirrhosis, herpes and kidney disease should avoid taking L-arginine, WebMD advises. For the most part, patients take L-arginine safely to improve many blood-related conditions.

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