Nitric oxide is a colorless gas produced by the body when we exhale. The gas is an important part of our body’s defense mechanism because it guards against many different kinds of bacteria, especially those that cause respiratory infections. And now a new study has been released that shows that alcohol may have an adverse effect on a person’s ability to produce nitric oxide.
The study was completed by researchers from Loyola Medicine and Loyola University Chicago. The team gathered information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Health and Examination Survey. From this data, they were able to spot the first links between alcohol consumption and lack of nitric oxide production.
The researchers divided the information into groups based on alcohol consumption levels: people who never drank, those who rarely drank, those who drank excessively and those who used to drink excessively. From these groups, the researchers noted that excessive drinkers had the least amount of measurable nitric oxide, and that their levels decreased as their alcohol consumption increased. The researchers were also able to come to the conclusion that alcohol disrupts the healthy balance of the lungs.
Dr. Majid Afshar, the lead author of the study, also pointed out that these finding may be particularly interesting to people who suffer from asthma. Those that suffer from chronic respiratory infections and those that are classified as excessive drinkers may also benefit from the results of the study. The results were published in the Chest Journal.
The list of adverse effects of heavy alcohol consumption continues to grow, and Chicago-based researchers agree that more studies have to be completed to get a full picture. However, until this study was completed, the connection between alcohol and lack of nitric oxide was unknown and may now be able to provide medical professionals with answers to more questions relating to alcohol consumption.