Saliva test strips help consumers, athletes optimize NO levels

By Hank Schultz contact

- Last updated on GMT

Saliva test strips help consumers, athletes optimize NO levels

Related tags: Nitric oxide

Berkeley Test has firmed up the IP surrounding its nitric oxide testing method with the grant of a US patent. The test, which has already been used by athletes and trainers, can help mainstream consumers validate improvements in their diet and metabolic health, a company exec said.

Berkeley offers easy to use oral test strips that detect nitric oxide levels in saliva. That technology builds upon evidence that levels of the compounds secreted in saliva and then reingested forms a key part of the pathway in how the body can synthesize nitric oxide from dietary sources of nitrate.  This involves uptake by salivary glands of dietary sources of nitrate, excretion into the saliva in the mouth and modification of the nitrates by bacteria in the mouth.

Cardio protective and performance-boosting 

Nitric oxide has cardioprotective function and can be synthesized by the body using the amino acid arginine. But arginine levels in the body typically decline as we age. A cardioprotective diet heavy with leafy greens has been postulated as a way to make up for this deficiency and forestall some of the complications of aging, which can include hypertension.

Nitric oxide, with its ability to act as a vasodilator and to improve muscle performance and endurance, has also been of great interest in strength training for years. A number of sports nutrition supplements have been marketed claiming to boost nitric oxide levels in the body, but one of the issues with these over the years has been doubts among some experts as to how well they work.

Screen Shot 2016-08-26 at 8.19.02 AM
Shawn Green PhD

Berkeley Test CEO Shawn Green, PhD said the test strips, whose effectiveness has now been further validated by the patent grant, can help both groups.  They are aimed at helping users to validate nitric oxide promoting foods, beverages, and supplements, and thereby make real-time dietary adjustments and other lifestyle changes that impact cardiovascular wellness.

“it’s a great to indirectly validate some of the these foods and supplements,”​ Green told NutraIngredients-USA.

As with other testing methodologies aimed at real-life, real-time use (as opposed to those employed by researchers in a clincal setting), ease of use was key to the concept’s success. The single use test strips are packaged in a vial and include a pad on one end to absorb saliva from the tongue which is then folded over to contact another pad impregnated with a marker chemical. The resulting color, which registers in only about 10 seconds, is matched against a scale to determine nitric oxide levels in the saliva. Green said the company is close to launching a mobile app, which will be branded as BerkeleyFit, in which the color would be judged by focusing a smart phone’s camera on the strip.

Real time feedback

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Berkeley Test is finalizing a mobile app to be used with their saliva test strips.

Green said he hopes the strips could be used by consumers to provide real time feedback in modifying their diets to improve their health. The DASH diet, which is heavy on fruits and vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy, along with nuts, beans, and seeds, was developed by the National Institutes of Health as a way for people to manage their blood pressure without medication.  The foods recommended on the diet are rich in precursors that boost nitric oxide levels in the body, Green said. The strips can also be used by athletes to investigate in a real time way how their intake of certain foods and/or supplements could optimize their nitric oxide levels at certain critical times during competition or training.

“It would be nice to be able to incorporate a way to optimize our diet with these precursors,” ​he said.

Green said the validity of the test has been of great interest to companies marketing products aimed at boosting nitric oxide levels, such as beetroot juice and powders and some supplement products.  He said Berkeley Test has been in discussion with some major players exploring how the test might be offered with certain products as a validation tool.  And he said the test strips have already helped at least one company reformulate a product when testing in the field showed that it did not work as well as expected.

The Nitric Oxide Test Strips by Berkeley Test are available on Amazon in packets of 10 individually sealed strips and tubes of 50 strips thereby allowing multiple measurements throughout the day.  The 10-strip package sells for $10.95 while the 50-strip size goes for $33.95.

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