Nitric Oxide Lowering
Foods, Supplements and Lifestyle
Since learning about the potential connection between nitric oxide (NO) and TSW (see this page for research links), I have been researching different ways that I might keep my NO levels low, or at least do my best not to raise them. This caused me to look at my diet and other behaviors that I could control.
I looked into foods low in nitrates and nitrites, one of the precursors to NO production. L-arganine (as found in oatmeal) is also a precursor. I have had very little oozing through this process thus far (17 months into TSW). I also do a loose NMT and restrict fluids to about 1.2 L under my derm's supervision, so I imagine that helps, as well. Typically, when I see reference to NO foods on popular websites it is describing how to raise your NO and the health benefits of that. People with TSW, however, apparently suffer from elevated NO levels (per Rapaport). This list is one that I put together for myself from popular websites and scientific research, but as I get more into this, I will try to replace the popular sites with research as source material, where I can. I don't recommend these foods for anyone else, as I am not a doctor or dietitian, they are just helping me, and the research supports it. So, I am sharing that info.
I looked into the NO-TSW connection after reading some reports from Dr. M. Rapaport and others, but I became convinced due to something that happened to me. About two weeks before I started TSW I had begun an intermittent fasting (IF) program for myself. During that time, I noticed that my skin was getting worse and worse. I've had eczema my whole life, so was wondering what was exacerbating it. I was searching online and came across TSW. It was like a lightning bolt, and I realized that I had been suffering from steroid rebounds quite severely for the last 10 years. I was so grateful to suddenly be on the road to recovery. I was using steroids inconsistently at that time a few times a week, but have used them my on and off my whole life (topical, oral, plus immunosuppressants, etc) of 45 years. My first two weeks of TSW were unbearable. I was in so much agony with burning and itching, and a friend started helping me do research. She noted that IF raises your NO levels. See the studies on this here and here. I stopped IF immediately and worked to change my diet to the foods you see below. I had been eating "healthily," but was eating things that were hurting me (salmon, beets and spinach all in one meal!). I will admit my diet is on the simple side now, but I quite enjoy it. Also, I've lost some weight, which was what I had intended with the intermittent fasting to begin with. I tend to eat the foods on the low NO list, with the exception of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and watermelon, which are on other lists for foods not recommended with eczema. And from the other lists, I cheat here and there (aka a couple slices of pizza maybe every couple weeks) and I drink a half an alcohol-free beer now and then– which can't be good for me, but I have to live a little. ;)
I have organized these foods into the following categories: foods that produce lower amounts of NO, higher amounts of NO, foods that are commonly recognized as inflammatory, and typical eczema triggers. I tried to eat low NO foods, and avoid most trigger foods to get the best possible results for myself.
As mentioned, this has worked for me and others, but everyone is different. I am basing my decisions on how it makes my body feel and the science behind it. Sometimes the science doesn't line up with what happens in your body, and also you may want to "cheat," when it is worth it. I certainly do. :) By following this diet, though, my flare frequency dropped dramatically. Again, I am not a dietician or doctor. I am actually a nurse (for about 20 years), though, but I am not practicing in any capacity here. I will continue to try to make this list more and more research-based, and will make notes when I come across conflicting information. Some of the reference links may go to abstracts of the journal article.
Contact me if you need more info. @sashibot on instagram
Also, we recently started a support group for significant others, which we hope to grow and help partners with the stress of this condition. <3
Low NO FOODS
Foods I Eat Mostly
< 20 mg nitrates/100 gm:
Tomato (common eczema trigger)
Watermelon (conflicting info)
20 to < 50 mg nitrates/100 gm:
Apples, apple sauce
HIGH NO FOODS
Foods I Don't Eat
Leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula)
Watermelon (have seen this on low NO lists, also)
HIGH IN L-arginine:
Walnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, almonds, pine nuts,
Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame)
Oatmeal (full of L-arganine which converts to NO)
Salmon (lowers blood pressure, this seems to bother a lot of people)
Coconut milk (lowers blood pressure)
Bone broth (L-arganine and histamine)
Some I Eat Occasionally
Added sugar fruit juice
Some deli meats
Breads and rolls
Some I Eat Occasionally
Spice such as cinnamon, vanilla, and cloves
Some types of nuts
Nickel content (found in):
Propylene Glycol (thickener, found in):
(Thanks, P. Kholood for the reference)
I am still working on this page. Contact me if you want to chat.
Supplements and Lifestyle