Nitric oxide - a biomarker of asthma

Most recently, for the first time in the history of medicine, Dr. Maria Belvizi, Peter Barnes and colleagues at the National Heart and Lung Institute of Great Britain demonstrated that the mechanism that keeps the bronchioles of the lungs open is largely controlled by nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide - biomarker of bronchial asthma

In 1993, Dr. Barnes and Belvizi enthusiastically reported in the magazine T.P.: Even five years ago, only a few people could imagine that simple nitrogen oxide( NO) is involved in regulating the work of so many physiological functions. The article described the formation of gas from the amino acid of L-arginine by the cells lining the lungs and macrophages, the forms of enzymes necessary for its production. It talked about the role of nitric oxide in the relaxation of blood vessels and the widening of the smallest airways of the lungs, called bronchioles. This was a major step forward in our understanding of the role of nitric oxide in the onset of asthma.

Another group of researchers from the UK also reported the formation of nitric oxide in the airway lining the lungs. Scientists have suggested that with asthma this allowed to counteract the narrowing of bronchioles. At the same time, the scientific studies conducted by Swedish specialists, showing participation in gas exchange, seem to us to be overly simplistic. Asthma is the factor that allows us to better understand the depth of the complexity of the issue.

It has now been proven that meeting the body's requirements for nitric oxide by inhalation can have therapeutic effects in other lung related diseases, including pulmonary hypertension and respiratory distress syndrome.

Dr. Kharitonov together with colleagues from a children's hospital in Vienna reported that the use of L-arginine as a food supplement, from which airway cells secrete nitric oxide, significantly increased the content of this gas in the exhaled air.

They compared the results of taking three different doses of L-arginine with a group of healthy people with the results obtained in the control group of people taking placebo and found that the highest dose of L-arginine caused a significant increase in the concentration of nitric oxide in the exhaled air. The maximum concentration level remained for about 2 hours after the intake of the food additive. Patients did not experience any significant changes in heart rate and blood pressure. Only one of them did not feel relief.

The significance of the results obtained is even more important because of the conclusion drawn in the course of the study that the intake of L-arginine in the form of a dietary supplement increases the production of the body and lungs by nitric oxide and that it can find application in the therapy of diseases in which nitric oxide is producedin insufficient quantities, for example, with asthma.

Asthma-causing products

We have already spoken about food allergens and other irritants like pollen, wool and animal dander. Nevertheless, I will bring from the list of Dr. Egger and his colleagues those products that are most likely to provoke an attack.

  • cow's milk and cheese;
  • citrus fruits;
  • wheat;
  • food additives( tartrazine and benzoic acid);
  • chicken eggs;
  • tomatoes;
  • chocolate;
  • corn;
  • grapes.

Treatment of bronchial asthma

According to the method of behavioral therapy, asthma is treated in three ways:


Reduction of the number of known irritants in the air and food;


Refuse from loads that require significant muscle tension, introspection and relaxation;


Breathing exercises aimed at increasing the efficiency of the respiratory process, restoring control over the musculature of the diaphragm and chest and the degree of muscle tension( tone).

From a psychological point of view, reducing the frequency and intensity of asthma attacks brings additional benefit to patients, inspiring hope and self-confidence.