Nitric oxide may help lengthen life

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 09:30 hrs

New York, Feb 15 (IANS) Nitric oxide, a small molecule, may help increase longevity of an organism, says an American study.

Nitric oxide, the versatile gas that helps increase blood flow, transmit nerve signals, and regulate immune functions, appears to perform one more biological feat - prolonging the life of an organism and fortifying it against environmental stress, according to a new study.

The study published in the Feb 14 online issue of Cell reveals that a roundworm called Caenorhabditis elegans, an animal widely used in laboratory studies of aging, lives significantly longer when fed bacteria capable of manufacturing nitric oxide.

The tantalizing observation points to one of the mechanisms by which the microbiome, the trillions of microbial cells inhabiting our bodies, may play a vital role in our health, reports Science Daily.

Our own nitric oxide levels decrease as we get older, a decline that may contribute to normal aging, says Evgeny Nudler, the Julie Wilson Anderson Professor of Biochemistry at NYU Langone Medical Center, who led the new study.

Supplemental bacteria, he speculates, might provide a healthy boost by supplying humans with some of the missing compound.

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