The naturally produced amino acid Arginine is not discussed in this
interesting article, even though it had been used by
"alternative" cardiologists to increase levels of nitric oxide
in the blood, as a way of dilating blood vessels and making them more
flexible. Increasing NO levels has become more mainstream in the last 20
years. Three scientists won the Nobel Prize in 1998 for examining the
role of Nitric Oxide (* see note about nitric oxide at end of my
comments) in preventing coronary disease. (Hmmm, there's that word
"corona" again!) A holistic approach would examine prior
protocols that once were outside the mainstream, and also see them
dialectically and in context of other interactions in the human
Arginine had been used, for example, by Dr. Patrick Fratellone in
administering Enhanced External Counterpulsation (EECP) -- a pretty cool
process of cuffing the lower legs and pulsating pressure, which over a
few months causes the human body to -- to some extent -- bypass impaired
blood vessels by creating new ones. The body can generate such
"corollaries" on its own as well, if blockages to other vessels
occur over extended periods of time. (My new corollary blood vessels
created during years of partial blockages are what "saved" me
during my heart attack in January, 2001.)
However, Fratellone found that Arginine turned out to be dangerous
when used alone as a supplement for enabling the body to increase
nitric oxide levels, as Arginine prompted viruses already in the body to
become expressed, to the detriment of the patient. If one is taking
Arginine, it needs to at least be coupled with with another amino acid,
Lysine, which suppresses expression of viruses in the body. Holistic
treatments for the Herpes virus or cold sores use Lysine along with Zinc
and Vitamin C. (In my view, Lysine, Vitamin C, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, and
zinc should be part of a good holistic protocol for fighting COVID-19 and
other viruses, although I haven't seen any studies on Lysine in
specific.) I'm not sure what Fratellone ended up doing, with regard to
Arginine, but it was a big deal in the alternative health universe 15 or
so years ago when he stopped using it.
New studies suggest some detrimental effects of increasing levels of
Nitric Oxide, so increasing the blood levels of NO needs to be weighed
carefully and in context of other things happening in the body --
that is, it needs to be looked at holistically.
I've been taking another amino acid, Taurine, for many years now, which
has similar dilating and flexibilizing effects on the circulatory system.
I haven't heard of any drawbacks to it, nor do I know how its action
within the body differs from Arginine, except that it seems to be a much
safer supplement. But I don't know why.
- Mitchel Cohen
- * The biochemistry of NO, as with every function of the human body,
depends upon enzymes that break down substances as a means to creating
new substances. In this case, an enzyme known as nitric oxide synthases
(NOS) breaks down the amino acid L-arginine to form another amino acid,
L-citrulline, which then forms nitric oxide.
- Perhaps you weren’t aware of this chemical reaction that takes place
in your body. However, you have no doubt seen TV commercials that
advertise pharmaceutical drugs to induce this type of reaction.
- For example, let’s look at TV ads for erectile dysfunction (ED). Of
course, the idea here is to increase the blood flow so that a male can
achieve an erection. This same “blood flow concept” applies
to the reaction of NO and the arteries that support the heart.
- The conversion of
L-arginine into NO occurs in the blood vessel lining, the
endothelium. Once it becomes NO, it has the following effects:
- Increases blood flow due to vasodilatation (widening of the
vessels); prevents narrowing
- Prevents fatty deposits (plaque) from sticking to the vessels
- Keeps the endothelium elastic
- If NO is produced at optimal levels -> then an optimal amount
is released into the bloodstream -> and is then carried virtually
everywhere in the body.
Nitric oxide treatment can be pivotal in the fight against
Reviewed by Emily Henderson, B.Sc.Jul 21 2020
Nitric oxide treatment can be pivotal in the world's fight against
SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, according to a review
from the George Washington University (GW). The article is published in
the journal Nitric Oxide.
Nitric oxide is an antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory molecule with key
roles in pulmonary vascular function in the context of viral infections
and other pulmonary diseases. In SARS-CoV-1 infection, which led to the
outbreak of SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) in 2003, nitric
oxide inhibited viral replication by cytotoxic reactions through
intermediates such as peroxynitrite. It is one of several potential
COVID-19 treatments included in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's
emergency expanded access program.
Coronaviruses are RNA viruses that primarily infect birds or
livestock, but can mutate to be highly infectious and lethal in humans.
There is currently no registered treatment or vaccine for COVID-19. The
absence of a specific treatment and the high mortality rate of the virus
dictate an urgent need for therapeutics that may control the replication
and rapid spread of the virus.
- Nitric oxide plays key roles in maintaining normal vascular function
and regulating inflammatory cascades that contribute to acute lung injury
(ALI) and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS). Interventions that
are protective against ALI and ARDS can play a critical role for patients
and health systems during the pandemic."
- Adam Friedman, MD, interim chair and professor in the Department of
Dermatology at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences and
co-senior author of the review
The team, led by first author Nagasai Adusumilli, MBA, a fourth-year
medical student at the GW School of Medicine and Health Sciences,
reviewed data from between 1993 and 2020 on the pathogenesis of
coronaviruses and the use of nitric oxide as a treatment for respiratory
illness. The authors highlight the potential for inhaled nitric oxide
contributing to better clinical outcomes and alleviating the rapidly
rising strain on health care capacity due to COVID-19.
As groups continue to publish more results with their respective nitric
oxide platforms, the team recommends that dosing and protocol variations
should be examined in evaluating the studies.
"With the emergence of COVID-19 as a pandemic with the ability to
overwhelm the body and our health care infrastructure, patients have a
pressing need for effective agents that can slow the disease in their
bodies and in their communities," Friedman said.
The authors suggest that if nitric oxide's
efficacy is illustrated for COVID-19, its use as a treatment can be
pivotal in the fight against the pandemic.
Friedman has been collaborating with co-senior author Joel Friedman, MD,
PhD, professor of physiology and biophysics and of medicine at Albert
Einstein College of Medicine, on research related to the use of nitric
oxide in a broad range of medical indications for close to two decades,
and together are developing nitric oxide-based therapeutics for
George Washington University
Adusumilli, N.C., et al. (2020) Harnessing nitric oxide for
preventing, limiting and treating the severe pulmonary consequences of
COVID-19. Nitric Oxide.