Oxygen is a vital nutrient that if often overlooked even though we can only go without it for merely a few minutes, unlike food or water which can take days.
Changing how you breathe can be a game changer in weight loss, stress management, fighting acidity and disease in body and with high level athletes looking to get an edge on their endurance and performance.
Dr. Otto Heinrich Warburg discovered in his cancer research that cancer thrives in an anaerobic (without oxygen) or acidic environment and that the cells are weakened by lack of oxygen.
It has also been proven that people who live in higher altitudes end up living longer. However, this goes beyond healthy breathing habits and has to do with the reduced pressure of oxygen.
Our respiratory system consists of bodily functions that deliver oxygen from the atmosphere to our cells and tissues and transports the carbon dioxide that is produced from our cells and tissues back into the atmosphere.
If we are looking to up the oxygen ante, we want to increase red blood cells which improves oxygen delivery to the muscles that results in a reduction of lactic acid build up. This reduction in acid lowers inflammation and helps with stronger overall performance stronger.
If we are to get a better understanding of our bodies ability to utilize oxygen, we must also look at the it’s counterpart carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide not only off loads the oxygen from blood but also dilates airways and blood vessels and regulates our blood pH.
This synergistic process is at the core of unlocking your body’s true fitness potential. This is how high endurance trainers and climbers find their peak.
The Oxygen Carbon Dioxide Ratio
Danish physiologist Christian Bohr coined the Bohr Effect which explains the releasing of oxygen to working muscles and organs. The amount of carbon dioxide present in our blood cells determines how much oxygen we can use. How we breathe determines the levels of carbon dioxide in our blood.
Our blood (hemoglobin) will release oxygen when there is carbon dioxide. If we over breathe there is an excess of carbon dioxide causing our blood to hold oxygen instead of releasing it which results in oxygen restriction. Breathing too much can also reduce blood flow which results in light headedness and dizziness. This reduced blood flow from heavy breathing can only takes a few minutes but can also be caused from lots of talking especially for those in the field (i.e. teachers, sales people).
Carbon dioxide also plays an essential part in our body maintaining a correct pH by keeping acidity out and preventing blood vessels from constricting. This is where our diet can come into play as our food choices will also contribute to the acidity or alkalinity of our blood. Essential fatty acids which are not produced by the body and must come from our diet act like magnets to oxygen and get it into our cells. This is why high quality oils are critical for assisting in getting oxygen to the cells.
How to Breathe
There are different approaches to optimizing your bodies breathing. Dr. K.P. Buteyko is a well known clinical doctor and expert in physiology who has developed a Body Oxygen Test from his years of research. It's a do-it-yourself and helps decipher if you are a chest or diaphragm, and nose or mouth breather. Take the test and modify your breathing to ensure you are a diaphragm and nose breather if you’re not already and see the monumental effect it can have on your overall health and well being.
Lastly, there are some cool gadgets out there that can actually monitor your blood oxygen saturation, which must be maintained 98% or more, and anything below is a warning sign to go seek medical help. Check this one out.
Here’s some fun oxygen facts:
Our brain, which makes up 2% of our total mass, requires 20% of the body’s oxygen needs.
Cancer attacks every organ in our body, except the heart because of it’s abnormal supply of oxygen.
Humans can go 3 weeks without food, 3 weeks without water, and only 3 minutes without oxygen.
Every day humans take 20,000 breaths.
The world record for holding a breath underwater is 22 minutes.
Author: Vic Love, www.Fb.com/Vityalove