Pharmacokinetic Aspects of Inorganic Nitrate Ingestion in Man


*To whom correspondence should be directed at the following address: Department of Chemistry and Physics, Middle Tennessee State University, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, U.S.A.


Abstract: Inorganic nitrate and nitrite concentrations were monitored simultaneously in the plasma, erythrocytes, saliva and urine of five subjects following an oral dose of NaNO3 (470 μmol per kg body weight). There was an average 25-fold increase in plasma nitrate only 10 min. after ingestion. Its concentration rose to a peak level of 1.83 mM in 40 min., a value 49 times the preload level. Erythrocyte nitrate followed a similar pattern, but remained at about two thirds of the plasma values. Salivary nitrate showed a positive correlation with plasma nitrate and averaged 9 times the plasma level during 3 hr following ingestion. This is evidence of a concentration-dependent active secretion by the salivary glands. The mean nitrate clearance was 25.8±2.85 (S.E.M.) ml/min. corrected for a body area of 1.73 m2 (n = 17). The urinary nitrate/creatinine ratio increased 25 to 70 times after loading. These results indicate a predominantly tubular excretion of nitrate. Nitrite was not detectable in any of the body fluids studied except saliva, where it appeared to increase at the expense of nitrate.