Ezeanyika Lawrence U.S. and Egbuonu Anthony C. Cemaluk
Dietary intervention could play a significant role in managing chronic diseases, including the metabolic syndrome (a cluster of nutrition-related diseases) that is increasing continually the world over. Although the pathogenesis of the metabolic syndrome is multifaceted, reports suggest significant impact of dysfunction in the nitric oxide-mediated pathway (notably from impaired nitric oxide synthesis) that could lead to insulin resistance. In nitric oxide synthesis, l-arginine is the major substrate whereas the excitatory activities of l-glutamate enhance the calcium-calmodulin complex formation that activates the neuronal and endothelial isoforms of the catalyzing enzyme (nitric oxide synthase). L-arginine and glutamate are abundant in natural foods, including nuts and tomatoes. Harnessed intake of l-arginine and glutamate-rich foods might enhance the optimal synthesis of nitric oxide resulting in the prevention of the metabolic syndrome. Thus, this review summarizes the roles of l-arginine and glutamate in the synthesis of nitric oxide that might affect the impact of nitric oxide and insulin resistance on the pathophysiology of the metabolic syndrome. The apparent insight from this review might help in designing suitable protocols and dietary interventions for the prevention, control and management of the metabolic syndrome.
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