#27. Wieners, Sausages? (64 nondrug ways to reduce blood pressure)

Occasional High Nitrate Foods like Wieners, Sausages.

Nitrate Oxide (NO) is an extremely important chemical for regulation of blood pressure. How does nitric oxide lower BP in the body? Apparently amino acid, arginine or L-arginine, causes nitric oxide to be produced in the arteries and blood vessels which causes them to relax and dilate.

One path to lower blood pressure therefore might be to increase the arginine with more nuts, red meat, and vegetables in the diet.  This diet appears to affect blood pressure although oral arginine has not been shown to impact nitric oxide levels, so entire process by which it lowers BP is probably more complex.

Another root to increased NO production might be to increase the nitrate level in the body.  Potassium nitrate in the past was used to combat high blood pressure. Potassium Nitrate was also once thought to induce impotence, and is still falsely rumored to be in institutional food (such as military fare) as an anaphrodisiac, although there is no scientific evidence for such properties.

Could nitrate, nitrites, say in lowly hotdog or wiener lower blood pressure?   Now hot dogs are not exactly health food, loaded often with fat, salt, and sodium nitrite.  Apparently, nitrite can form chemicals called nitrosamines that can boast the risk of colon cancer significantly. The nitrite ion is NO2 that is one nitrogen atom with two oxygen atoms that share an electron for formal charge of negative one.  The nitrate ion is NO3 where the nitrate ion carries a formal charge of negative two.

Are there human biological pathways where NO can be liberated from these compounds in the diet?  Some compounds like  Nitroglycerin and amyl nitrite serve as vasodilators because they are readily converted to nitric oxide in the body. The ability of the body to use other forms of nitrates and nitrites are still as far as I can see an unstudied area.

My simple experiments seem to indicate that a hot dog, gives a nice kick down in blood pressure for a least 6 hours or so.   In my case, I kind of like hot dogs and sausages, so, maybe it is the nice relaxed feeling of eating satisfying food that lowers the blood pressure and  nothing to do with the nitrates and nitrites.  Since steady diet of hot dogs is probably not wise because of increased cancer risk, we are lucky that spinach, many vegetables, and beets (see #19 borsh soup)  are also excellent source of nitrate that appear to lower blood pressure.

The last web link here is the story of fellow that eats lots of meat products, he says …

“there’s no(t a) day went by that I (don’t) eat a pile of sausage, or meat product period. This morning I had some ham, bagel, eggs.That’s one thing. Then I had a sandwich, liver sausage, it was at least half a pound. Then open up the smokehouse, the wieners were ready so I eat a pair of wieners, that’s a third of a pound. That’s a pound right there. This is day after day after day. So I am 80 years old.
Blood pressure’s good, my cholesterol’s good. I’m eating good. I’m sleeping well, I’m not abusive. I’m working. I’m just active all the time. That’s what it is.”

Perhaps this fellow has great genes, or is he just a lucky survivor amongst many similar folks that long since passed away or perhaps the dangers aren’t as great as some are estimating.  In any case, just to be on the safe side, I would suggest just only once a month sausage or hotdog use and to reduce the overall red meat consumption.  Good luck and enjoy your summer hotdogs … it may even be lowering your blood pressure.


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