Nitric Oxide Narrative

Pretty much everyone I ever hear mention nitric oxide is talking about how good it is, and that you want to produce more, or you should supplement with it, but it isn’t, and you don’t, and you shouldn’t. Often something about nasal nitric oxide and humming, like they even remotely know what that means and what nitric oxide actually does. It’s just another faulty narrative.

In much the same way that the stress response to sugar restriction is misunderstood, nitric oxide is one of those things that exists to help us deal with short term metabolic insufficiencies. But don’t be fooled into believing that means you want more nitric oxide (NO). You don’t, even though you could say you’re glad it’s there for you, and you could even say its saving your life. But that doesn’t mean it’s good and you want more. What you want ideally, is to fix it so that you need as little as possible.

Have a look at what happens in circumstances where NO gets too high or becomes a systemic issue. Or in another sense, have a look at the kinds of conditions that promote excessive exposure to NO, because it’s a circular problem. Stress and inflammation promote NO, and NO promotes stress and inflammation.

Nitric Oxide Measurements during Endotoxemia, Clinical Chemistry, Volume 47, Issue 6, 1 June 2001, Pages 1068–1074;

Endotoxemia remains the main cause of death in intensive care units. It has a mortality rate in the US of 50–60%…The release of multiple endogenous mediators plays a causative role in initiating an uncontrolled inflammatory response…One of those mediators has been identified as NO…

Basically any situation where thyroid metabolism is being interfered with, NO will start to become more of an issue. And further along, NO can be seen at the heart of disease spread and seriousness. It’s not something you want to take lightly or play around with.

Nitric oxide and TNF-α trigger colonic inflammation and carcinogenesis in Helicobacter hepaticus-infected, Rag2-deficient mice, PNAS January 27, 2009 106 (4) 1027-1032;

Infection…was…related to up-regulation of iNOS expression at the site of infection and increased NO production…Progressive development of increasingly severe inflammation, hyperplasia, dysplasia, and cancer accompanied these changes…administration of an iNOS inhibitor prevented NO production and abrogated the epithelial pathology and inhibited the onset of cancer.

Actually, avoiding NO promoting conditions, and NO promoting foods, is a tactic used successfully to protect against many kinds of inflammatory disease states. There is an abundance of good science that you will rarely see publicized by the health ‘experts’.

When oxidative metabolism is interfered with, or in other words when metabolic stress is rising and thyroid is being suppressed, NO is also rising. The polyunsaturated fats (PUFAs) released into the blood under stress and metabolic suppression, are a big factor promoting excessive NO exposure.

Bacterial endotoxin directly causes NO to rise, and the PUFAs interfere with digestion and promote endotoxin circulation in a number of different ways. I’ve talked about this and provided many scientific studies showing this, in previous articles on this blog.

The PUFAs promote inflammation, stress, and thyroid suppression, and these conditions promote and are promoted by rising levels of serotonin, estrogen, growth hormone, lactic acid and NO. All of this is circular in the manner mentioned earlier. And all of these things get misinterpreted and marketed as something you want more of. This is the narrative I’m talking about, and it is false on many levels.

Cancer, IBS, diabetes, heart disease, MS, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, schizophrenia, migraine, asthma, liver disease, herpes, viral illnesses in general, arthritis, osteoperosis, and Parkinson’s, are some of the diseases shown to be connected to excess NO exposure.

Increasing NO means less CO2, and contrary to the popular narrative once again, low CO2 is a central factor in thyroid metabolic dysfunction and disease progression, particularly cancer.

Measuring NO can be difficult, and blood levels aren’t always a true reflection of actual levels. The iNOS enzyme promoted under inflammatory conditions is a good indicator that NO levels are high, and that’s one good way to know what is going on. As always, looking at the biological big picture makes things clearer.

I’m no doctor or health professional, so this is not advice. Take what I say with a grain of salt, and go read some of the available science. There’s plenty available on this blog if you want. Or alternatively, trust the experts.

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4 Responses

  1. Avatar Jay says:

    I ‘m curious what your thoughts are on Arginine. Is it not a precursor of NO and should be avoided? A relative takes too many supplements and several has arginine in it. Even a Peat follower with a website mentions Arginine positively which confuses me since I was certain somewhere in my few hundred hours listening to Ray Peat interviews I thought he said arginine was once believed to be cancerous but changed with NO associated with blue pills. Thanks for the articles!

    • DanM@cowseatgrass DanM@cowseatgrass says:

      Yes, arginine is a precursor to nitric oxide…I think there is a fair amount of science showing how it promotes cancer and how arginine ‘deprivation’ can be used as a way to protect against cancer.

  2. Avatar Chuck says:

    I have High BP and Want to learn more about NO and if I should be taking it to help out with my High BP…
    TY 👍

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