By Kennedy Shelley
Using mouth wash before going to the gym might kill some of the benefits you would get if you went with morning breath.
Specifically, it is antibacterial mouthwashes that kill some of beneficial bacteria that help create life-giving compounds that are especially important for blood pressure management.
Most people realize that there is a link between oral health and other issues.
Cardiovascular health can be negatively affected by gum problems that allow bacteria and viruses into the bloodstream.
Some bacteria in the mouth have been linked to certain cancers.
Yet not all microbes are harmful.
When you exercise you release nitric oxide which expands the arteries and blood vessels.
When dilated, blood flow is easier and blood pressure is lowered. And this allows more oxygen to get to the muscles.
This effect continues for a while after the exercise is done.
Nitric oxide breaks down into nitrite.
This gets into your bloodstream, which helps dilate the circulatory system and continue the benefit of the exercise.
How does this get into the bloodstream?
The new research shows it gets in through the mouth.
“Some species of bacteria in the mouth can use nitrate and convert [it] into nitrite — a very important molecule that can enhance the production of nitric oxide in the body.” Raul Bescos, a lecturer in dietetics and physiology at the University of Plymouth, United Kingdom, lead author of the study.
Just swallowing nitrate helps keep your blood pressure lower following exercise.
The study then took the next step to see if antibacterial mouth wash wiped out nitrates that would help keep blood pressure low following a workout.
In a double-blind experiment, the scientist had people do 30 hard minutes on a treadmill. They were then monitored to track changes in their blood pressure.
Some swished out their mouths with mint-flavored water and some had antibacterial mouth wash.
The results showed that you lose 60% of the blood pressure lowering benefit of exercise by killing the bacteria in your mouth with the mouth wash.
What this points out is that the nitric oxide and the resulting nitrites continue to lower your blood pressure hours after working out and disrupting your mouth’s microbiome takes away this benefit.
This means that your body has more than one source of nitric oxide.
It used to be thought that only the nitric oxide in the blood vessels counted, but now we have evidence that all sources count.
In other words, your mouth is the source of the nitrites that help lower your blood pressure, especially after exercise.
Once you remove the nitric oxide, your mouth can’t get the nitrites that lower your blood pressure.
Scientists have known for years that regular exercise can lower your blood pressure from 5-8 points.
That may be the difference between paying for medicine you must take the rest of your life or not.
Thirty minutes of walking a day is a much cheaper alternative.