Nitric Oxide and COVID

February 19, 2023

Nitric Oxide and COVID

What do all the risk factors for COVID have in common? Heart disease, hypertension, obesity, diabetes, age, male gender. Think for a second. They are a laundry list of Nitric Oxide deficiency syndromes. NO drives your immune system.

The first discovery of NO working was with severe influenza in ICUs with the ARDS syndrome (on ventilators). Those who survived had higher levels. The next discovery was that adding NO to viral cultures of COVID showed that replication of the virus could be stopped in its tracks.

The virus is known to wreak havoc in the endothelium causing localized clotting and catastrophic lowering of your oxygen capacity of your blood. A common observation in the early stages of the COVID pandemic was never-before-seen low levels of oxygen. It was almost surreal as some patients didn't look all that sick. We now know that NO plays a pivotal regulatory role in how well you are oxygenated via a cysteine amino acid on the hemoglobin molecule. No NO, no oxygen carrying, and increased mortality.

SARs, Influenza, and COVID are but three viruses, all that appear to have their severity modulated because of insufficient NO. What about the rest of infections by bacteria? Again, NO is being found to play a virtually central role in response to infections. Macrophages, the garbage trucks of the immune system that gobble up and destroy invading bacteria smother the bacteria with a variety of oxidants, but the cascade is initiated with NO.

There are those who are beginning to refer to COVID as an endothelial disease instead of a respiratory virus. It appears that the spike protein initiates endothelial processes that overwhelm the normal relaxation and smooth blood flow that NO controls.  Clotting of red cells and platelets start, and that slows blood flow, and the normal control mechanisms that guard against that get overwhelmed.  That explains the myriad, bizarre events in COVID like stroke and increased blood clotting in multiple organs.

There are even authors who have suggested that inhaled NO might be a useful strategy but that idea came along too late as the pandemic was winding down and the cost of inhaled NO is considerable. There are also issues with possible toxicity from inhaled NO as too much of a good thing swings things too far and ends up with methemoglobinaemia.

But oral supplementation might be very safe.  In one, as yet unpublished report, 650 severely ill COVID patients were treated with simple oral NO supplementation. Not one died. No side effects were noted. Average oxygen was 14% higher and symptoms lasted one day less than controls. That sounds impressive, but being unpublished means we can't quite depend on it until it is peer-reviewed. But that little note of NO TOXICITY means safety. The lecturer who presented that data stated that he used no masking during the COVID pandemic as he was on NO supplementation for the duration, monitoring his NO daily, eating lots of leafy green vegetables, and never got COVID. Hmm.

www.What will Work for me. What I take away from these ideas is that NO plays a role in controlling respiratory viruses. We lost 12% per decade, making our advanced years somewhat hazardous with a respiratory virus. I've purchased NO boosting lozenges from the N1O1 company and am taking them twice a day. I have also stopped using mouthwash and brushed off my water pick instead. More exercise, more salads, no H2 blockers, and more infrared saunas round out the methods of naturally increasing my own NO. And I think I'll just keep an extra bottle of NO boosting supplements on the shelf to take every couple of hours with my next viral infection. Hope it's a long way away.

References:Jr Virology, European Heart Jr., Med Sci., Signae Vitae, BU. Circulation, JCDR, Jr Virology

Pop Quiz

1. What does NO do to the SARs virus in lab experiments? Answer: Instantly stops it from replicating.

2. What role does NO play in bacterial infections? Answer: More complex but it certainly turns on macrophages to gobble up and work at killing invaders.

3. Do you have enough NO to fight viruses when you are over 50? Answer: All depends on how you view "enough". Certainly, the mortality from influenza and COVID is matched with advancing age.

4. What strategy can you use to increase your NO? Answer: More exercise, more leafy greens, infrared sauna, no mouthwash, no PPIs for GERD, no fluoride toothpaste.

5. Is there any toxicity to taking NO boosters by mouth that work through your natural nitrate/nitrite cycle? Answer: none. Just lowers your blood pressure a little and reduces your risk of stroke a lot.