A large amount of nitric oxide (NO) production takes place in the epithelium of the paranasal sinuses.
Why is that important?
Nitric oxide is mostly known for its ability to induce vasodilation (opening up of blood vessels)
For that reason, nitric oxide is important for cardiovascular health. There are, however, many other reasons why nitric oxide is important.
The high local nitric oxide concentrations in the nasal airways and the sinuses may help to protect against airborne infectious agents (Lundberg JO, 1996).
Thus, airborne nitric oxide may represent the very first line of defence if we breathe through the nose, possibly acting on pathogens even before they reach the mucosa.
This nitric oxide may also enhance blood flow in well-ventilated areas of the lung, thus optimizing ventilation and oxygen uptake.
This study demonstrated that transcutaneous oxygen tension increases during nasal breathing compared with oral breathing in healthy subjects (Lundberg JO, et.al., 1996).
Transcutaneous oxygen tension is a measurement of oxygen delivery to the tissue.
Just by breathing through the nose, we can increase oxygen availability to the tissue with all the benefits that come with it.
Lundberg JO.Airborne nitric oxide: inflammatory marker and aerocrine messenger in man. Acta Physiol Scand Suppl. 1996;633:1-27.
Lundberg JO, Settergren G, Gelinder S, Lundberg JM, Alving K, Weitzberg E. Inhalation of nasally derived nitric oxide modulates pulmonary function in humans Acta Physiol Scand.1996 Dec;158(4):343-7.
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