Nitric Oxide and Pranayama


Nitic Oxide and Pranayama-Nose breathing have many benefits as opposed to mouth breathing, which is said to result in many health problems.


It is reported there is a link between low levels of NO and many health problems such as high blood pressure, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, digestive tract issues such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, erectile dysfunction, and bladder issues.

“Low levels of nitric oxide are linked to the development of atherosclerosis, cardiovascular disease, and Alzheimer’s”.

Medical News Today


Paranasal sinuses continuously produce NO which is released into the respiratory tract through nasal breathing.

Nitric Oxide acts as a bronchial dilator by relaxing airway smooth muscle. This is also beneficial for COPD problems.


Nitric oxide is a vasodilator increasing blood supply and lowering blood pressure.

Nitric oxide is said to have antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, so

proper ventilation of the sinuses is essential to prevent sinusitis.

Sinusitis causes inflammation and infection of the nose and air pockets (sinuses) that connects with the back of the nose through tiny openings (ostia).

Oscillating airflow which can be produced by humming is said to enhance sinus ventilation and increase nasal Nitric oxide levels. Humming exercises are said to increases vital capacity (The maximum volume of air that a person can exhale after maximum inhalation. increases gaseous exchange), with an estimated 15-fold increase in Nitric oxide, as compared with the quite exhalation.

Nitric oxide contributes to the regulation of cardiac contractility, with evolving evidence suggesting that coronary artery disease can be related to defects in the generation or action of Nitric oxide.

Nitric oxide naturally goes down with aging, affecting blood circulation to ear, brain, heart, and sex organs.

Nitric oxide is known to modulate serotonin and dopamine, so related to mood.

“According to a 1999 paper by Lundberg and Weitzberg, NO in the nasal airways could represent an important first line of defence against infection. NO is known to be broadly antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial.

impaired breathing leads to poor air circulation and lower levels on beneficial NO in the nose and sinuses, thus creating an environment beneficial for bacterial growth and inflammation.”


Studies have found that NO levels increase significantly through humming as opposed to a silent exhalation. Results of case studies suggest humming causes a more efficient gas exchange in the paranasal sinuses.



Nasal breathing, as opposed to mouth breathing has the advantage of allowing more oxygen to get to active tissues. Nose breathing releases nitric oxide which is necessary to increase carbon dioxide in the blood, which in turn is how oxygen is released. Mouth breathing is a far less effective which means less oxygen in soft tissue.  


Nitric Oxide is involved in the hearing process and low levels may contribute to hearing loss and tinnitus.

Diffusion across the eardrum accounts for most of the Nitric Oxide entering the middle ear. As Nitric Oxide is a vasodilator, diminished levels may decrease the level of cochlear blood flow.

It is suggested that Nitric Oxide production in the cochlear blood vessels contributes to regulation of cochlear blood flow.

The cochlea is an important function in the hearing process and is a part of the inner ear. The cochlea transforms sound waves into electrical impulses which it then sends to the brain. The brain translates the impulses into sounds that we know and understand.


“Impaired endothelial function is normally associated with cardiovascular disease, poor circulation, and erectile dysfunction. Due to reduced circulation to the inner ear, it is also shown to contribute to tinnitus symptoms. Nitric oxide is the miracle molecule produced by the inner lining of our blood vessels to improve circulation and blood flow to all parts of the body.”

Aviva Health

“A major weapon of endothelial cells to fight vascular disease is endothelial nitric oxide synthase an enzyme that generates the vasoprotective molecule nitric oxide”

AHA Journals

endothelial cells


The digestive system is a major source of nitric oxide. Because of its smooth muscle-relaxing and vasodilating properties, is said to play a vital role in the regulation of gastrointestinal motility.


As has been discussed Nitric oxide plays an essential role for overall health. It enables blood, oxygen and nutrients to travel to the whole body effectively and efficiently.

Natural food supplements play an important role in boosting NO levels in the body. This becomes more so as we age, and the body natural production of NO reduces. It Is said that by the age of 40 the level of NO produced in arterial lining falls by 50%.

Nitrate is found naturally in many vegetables and when eaten is converted into Nitric oxide.

Vegetables with Nitrates:

  • Green, leafy vegetables such as: spinach, arugula, kale, Swiss chard and lettuce
  • Beetroot
  • Radishes
  • Watercress
  • Bok choy
  • Cabbage
  • Cauliflower

Martin Thompson.

Nitric Oxide and Pranayama
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