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Inhaled nasopharyngeal nitric oxide concentrations during unilateral nostril breathing




One of the clearest reasons for cultivating mouth-closed breathing, a central aim in SLP practice, is that the nasal sinuses are a rich source of inhaled nitric oxide, which is a bronchodilator, vasodilator, and neurotransmitter. Nasal derived nitric oxide (NO) in tidal air flow has demonstrated improvements in language and anxiety in stroke sufferers, and the more general beneficial effect on blood pressure and heart rate in normal healthy adults. Interestingly, some of the physiological benefits of nose-breathing were noticed long ago, by yogic pranayama practitioners.

An investigation (Stassen THA, et al., Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2021 Nov;293:103734. doi: 10.1016/j.resp.2021.103734) recently sought to assess the influence of airway patency in the nasal breathing cycle on inhaled nasopharyngeal NO concentrations.

Nasopharyngeal inhaled NO concentrations were assessed during normal nasal at-rest tidal breathing during three different nasal breathing states: first both nostrils, then in randomised order, to account for any congestion differential between nostrils, with patent side only, and congested side only.

Remarkably, nasopharyngeal NO concentrations were found to be consistently higher on both exhalation and inhalation during congested side UNB, when compared with either unilateral patent side UNB or breathing through both nostrils.


MyoNews from BreatheWorksTM is a report on trends and developments in oromyofunctional disorder and therapy. These updates are not intended as diagnosis, treatment, cure or prevention of any disease or syndrome.


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