Nitric Oxide Deficiencies Could Be Causing Frequent Infections
Nitric oxide is a molecule naturally produced in the body by a group of enzymes (called nitric oxide synthase) that aids in cellular communication. It acts as a signaler that helps in a number of vital cell-related activities affecting everything from memory and behavior to heart health. One of its most important tasks is to reduce inflammation and assist the immune system in fighting off infection.
When a patient’s cellular communication is impaired due to a deficiency in nitric oxide, they are much more susceptible to illness. In addition, once they get sick the infection is more likely to linger.
There are several causes for nitric oxide deficiencies, including aging, being sedentary, consuming a poor diet and smoking, and for some, making more positive lifestyle choices can adequately increase levels. For others, a genetic variation is to blame.
We’ve previously discussed how single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs,) which are mutations on particular genes detected through neurogenomic testing, can affect the way these genes are expressed.
Aside from the condition of the genes, every molecule in the body, including NOS2, must undergo methylation, a process by which they are switched on and perform their intended functions. Some people are just poor methylators, meaning that molecular processes are compromised, and in the case of nitric oxide production, means they are more likely to get sick.
An SNP on the NOS2 gene, and/or an interruption in the methylation process, are additional contributors to a nitric oxide deficiency, even when living a healthy lifestyle.
Identifying the SNP and/or methylation issue allows us to regulate gene activity, increase nitric oxide levels and improve communication between cells. This reduces inflammation and makes the body more able to fight off infection.
If you find you suffer from frequent infections, or if you have a chronic infection such as Lyme Disease, genetic testing might prove very beneficial.