Nitric Oxide and Immune Health

There are many health conditions that have been attributed to a faulty immune system.  The list is long and varied.  Some conditions are thought to be caused by an under-active immune system (infectious disease, cancer, etc) and some by an over-active immune system (allergies, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, etc).

The major components of your immune system are:

•    Thymus
•    Spleen
•    Lymph system
•    Bone marrow
•    White blood cells
•    Antibodies
•    Hormones

A main way we think of the immune system is as your body’s defense system. An invader in the form of a bacteria, virus, parasite or fungus gets into your body and the immune system (macrophage, T-Cells, B-Cells and NK cells) goes to work at getting rid of it.  It is thought that genetic weaknesses can have a role in the way your immune system functions (or not).

It has been been discovered that Nitric Oxide (NO) plays a major role in how your immune system gets things done.  L-arginine and NO research has proved that:

•    Arginine is 1000 times more powerful than any naturally occurring antioxidant in the body
•    Boosts macrophage, T-Cells, B-Cells, NK Cells
•    Inhibits cell division and proliferation of cancer cells

Consider this statement made by Nitric Oxide authority, Dr. Jonathon S. Stamler, Professor of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center regarding NO, “It does everything, everywhere.  You cannot name major cellular response or physiological effect in which Nitric Oxide is not implicated today.  It’s involved in complex behavioral changes in the airway relaxation, beating of the heart, dilation of blood vessels, regulation of intestinal movement, function of blood cells, the immune system, even the way fingers and arms move.”

It has also been discovered recently that NO directly effects your epigenetics – That is what “turns on” your cells to create helpful genetic material or “turns off” genetic predispositions to things like cancer or auto-immune disorders.  This is a huge reason to ingest nutrients that are going to amp up Nitric Oxide!

Research on Nitric Oxide/Arginine and Immune System:

1.    Barbul A, Sisto DA, Wasserkrug HL, Efron G. Arginine stimulates lymphocyte immune response in healthy human beings. Surgery. 1981:90:244-251.
2.    Alexandrova R, Mileva M, Zvetkova E. Nitric oxide and cancer. Exp Pathology Parasitology. 2001;4:13-18.
3.    Barbul A, Wasserkrug HL, Sisto DA et al. Thymic stimulatory actions of arginine.  JPEN. 1980;4:446-449.
4.    Lind SD. Arginine and cancer. J Nutr. 2004;134:2837S-2841S.
5.    Bansal V and Ochoa JB. Arginine availability, arginase, and the immune response Curr Opin Clin Nutr Metab Care. 2003 Mar;6(2):223-8.
6.    Mills CD, Shearer J, Evans R, and Caldwell MD. Macrophage arginine metabolism and the inhibition of cancer. J. Immunol. 1992;149:2709-2714.

  • Special Bonus! Arginine: Friend or Foe Nutrition support for people with cancer.

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