Do you experience cold hands and feet after sitting in the office all day long? This scenario happens often among girls and women especially desk-bound executives or those leading a sedentary lifestyle. Cold hands and feet are very much related to our blood circulation and a little molecule known as nitric oxide.
In 1998, Dr. Louis Ignarro won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of nitric oxide’s role in the cardiovascular system. Since then, concerns towards L-Arginine and L-Citrulline as dietary supplements have been dramatically raised because both promote the production of nitric oxide (NO). NO has been called the “Miracle Molecule” as it has been shown to fight various kind of vascular diseases as well as to improve wound healing, muscle and strength gain.
L-Arginine is a semi-essential amino acid involved in numerous areas of human physiology, including the production of NO – a key messenger molecule involved in vascular regulation, immune activity, and endocrine functions. Studies also showed that L-Arginine is involved in protein production, wound healing, erectile function, and fertility. Although the name “Arginine” does not quite register in many of our minds, it is actually widely present in high protein foods like peanuts, chicken breast, soybeans, pumpkin seed and lentils.
On the other hand, L-Citrulline is an amino acid that plays an important role in NO metabolism and regulation. In our body, L-Citrulline is converted to L-Arginine in the body to support both L-Arginine and NO levels. L-Arginine level in the body is critical for the production of NO hence the combination of L-Arginine and L-Citrulline is perfect for increasing NO levels in the body. Foods like watermelon, cucumbers, pumpkins and bitter melons are a common source of Citrulline. However, the amount of Citrulline present in these foods is very minimal and large amounts have to be consumed to get the benefits.
So what is the science behind NO functions and how does increasing NO help with circulation? NO is an important regulator and mediator of numerous processes in the nervous, immune and cardiovascular systems. The single-celled layer that lines the interior of blood vessels (also known as endothelium) uses NO to signal relaxation of surrounding smooth muscles. This results in the widening or dilatation of blood vessels; a condition known as vasodilation and thus increased blood flow. As such, optimal levels of NO cause the right amount of vasodilation, leading to improved blood circulation especially benefiting those who suffer from poor blood circulation such as diabetes patients, smokers, overweight individuals and individuals leading a sedentary lifestyle. If you fall in one of the mentioned categories, these are some signs and symptoms you might already be facing from poor blood circulation.
Cold Hands And Feet
Our blood flows at an optimal speed in order to keep our body temperature at a healthy and comfortable level. If our blood circulation is poor, the process of regulating temperature can be affected. This causes chilly feelings in areas with a lot of nerve endings like the hands and feet.
Tingling and Numbness In The Hands and Feet
It is common to experience tingling sensations and numbness when our limbs are inactive for too long. To differentiate this from poor circulation, those with poor circulation will experience it more frequently and the symptoms will usually last for a few minutes.
Slower Healing of Wounds and Sores Among Diabetes Patients
Good circulation that brings about a good flow of nutrients and oxygen plays an important role in the healing of wounds. Diabetic patients typically have poorer circulation leading to a delay in wound healing.
Men with poor circulation might experience an insufficient amount of blood flow in the reproductive organs. It becomes increasingly difficult for them to perform sexual task and may eventually lead to erectile dysfunction.
Symptoms of poor blood circulation can be improved with supplementation of L-Arginine and L-Citrulline. The increase of NO production not only improves blood circulation and vascular health, it also promotes muscle build up by stimulating protein synthesis through the enhancement of growth hormone secretion.
Besides, these amino acids assist in promoting collagen synthesis and wound healing. Without these amino acids, many have experienced slower healing compared to others with the same condition. Men with erectile dysfunction benefit from taking L-Arginine and L-Citrulline. Thus, the combination of L-Arginine and L-Citrulline does indeed play an essential role in improving our body systems overall, wherever blood flows.
In addition to supplementation, increasing physical activity will also help improve blood circulation in our body. If you are experiencing cold hands and feet, go for short walks every now and then and you might just feel a difference. Remember that wherever blood flows, that’s where we get our nutrients. So let’s get moving to a healthy circulation and healthy body!