Fight Aging with L-Arginine
Interview with Dr. Alexander Schauss
Interviewed by Raena Morgan
July 28, 2008
Raena Morgan: Does nitric oxide affect aging? Does it have an impact on aging and can it fight it?
Dr. Alexander Schauss: Well, there’s a fascinating experiment that you have to think about.
RM: There is? Alright.
AS: Because it has a lot to do with lifespan and longevity. They gave mice a diet that is much lower in calories than normal mice would eat. And what they discovered to their total surprise was that the mice lived a lot, lot longer than mice fed the amount of calories they would normally would eat.
RM: I heard about that.
AS: We have all heard about that. We all wondered what was that about, what really was responsible there. Well, here’s what’s interesting. When they fed them 30 to 40% less calories, there was a significant increase in nitric oxide production.
RM: Because they were getting less calories?
AS: Because they are getting less. And as a result of making more nitric oxide and eating less calories, they live twice as long.
AS: So, it wasn’t really clear until we looked at nitric oxide that we understood, what’s possibly’s going on here. So, this kind of suggests to me, as a scientist, that nitric oxide is playing a very important role in improving cardiovascular circulation. It gets back to a point that I’ve raised over and over again that the importance of relaxing the muscle vessels is to ensure that we can replenish all the cells, all the tissues, all the organs in the body of all the essential nutrients that are necessary for them to function at an optimal level. You do anything to constrict those micro vessels, you’re going to have some unfortunate impact on the body’s ability to repair itself. And replenish those nutrients that are needed wherever they are needed.
RM: By taking L-arginine and stimulating the production of nitric oxide, then you could actually fight agin.
AS: Well, in combination with a reduced caloric intake—
AS: In mice we’ve seen that.
RM: In mice. Okay.
AS: And this has raised fascinating questions—
RM: Well, it sure does.
AS: In terms of humans. Now, should we eat 30 to 40% less calories? I’m not sure there’s enough evidence to suggest that that really significantly would increase our lifespan or that we would live twice as long, as was seen in mice. But the interesting point is that when they were trying to understand what is going on here—what is physiologically changing that is contributing to the mice living twice as long? What they were surprised to discover was this significant increase in nitric oxide production; which meant that even though you were getting less calories, it seems like the body was more efficient at distributing the nutrients and getting those things into the various cells and organs and tissue that normally suffer from aging and that could now be repaired, maybe at a more accelerated rate because the recover from the injury that occurs normally as we age has been accelerated by the body’s ability to deliver the things that it wants. So, I think there’s some very interesting suggestions here that nitric oxide is even more important that we realize—even more important than the Nobel committee realized when they gave out the Nobel Prize in 1998 to those three professors for their understanding of the role that nitric oxide as a gas plays in signaling between molecules. I think there’s a lot more to learn. So, it’s one reason why I think keeping L-arginine levels high to ensure that nitric oxide is constantly available is really, really important to our long term health.
RM: Thank you.
AS: You’re very welcome.