Mouth Breathing Generates Free Radicals and Reduces Body Oxygenation
While most people believe that free radicals and oxidative stress appear due to toxins in food, air or water, medical evidence clearly indicates that oxidative most people generate free radicals due to cell hypoxia caused by abnormal breathing, like mouth breathing, chest breathing and hyperventilation.
Superficially, it appears that you can find no differences between mouth and nasal breathing. All of us still obtain O2 into the lungs and body cells. In addition, we can get rid of harmful CO2 during mouth breathing as well. In fact we eliminate even more CO2 from the lungs and blood during mouth breathing. Is it good to breathe more and have less CO2 in the body?
While modern individuals also believe in a myth that deep or heavy breathing (hyperventilation) should increase oxygen concentration in cells, many hundreds of physiological publications have found that chronic hyperventilation decreases body oxygenation. Hyperventilation leads to hypocapnic (deficiency of CO2) vasoconstriction of blood vessels (leading to inadequate blood supply of main vital organs) and the lessened Bohr effect (less oxygen is released by red blood cells).
Consider these two effects in more detail. CO2 is the most potent vasodilator. It keeps blood vessels (arteries and arterioles wide open for good blood supply to all cells and organs). Breathing more and mouth breathing reduce CO2 in the lungs and blood causing reduced blood delivery to all vital organs.
Second, oxygen is released in tissues mainly due to the higher level of CO2 in tissues. When CO2 in cells is high, red blood cells easily unload oxygen in capillaries. When we hyperventilate, much less oxygen si left in tissues even though blood oxygenation can be nearly maximal. This is called the Bohr effect. It is a law physiology that was discovered more than a century ago. This law can be found in most medical textbooks.
Any person may readily validate that chronic hyperventilation reduces body oxygen content. Begin forceful or deliberate over-breathing. In around 2-3 minutes most people could pass out. Why? This happens due to deficiency of glucose and oxygen in the nerve cells in the brain.
Cells hypoxia leads to anaerobic cell respiration, lactic acid increases, extra mucus production, inflammation, immune system dysfunction, free radical production and many other pathological effects. Free radicals are also called reactive oxygen species since they are produced in cells in conditions of low oxygen availability.
Hence, the easier and slower a person breathes, the more oxygen his and her bodies get. (Note that I discuss here effects of basal or involuntary breath patterns.) Meanwhile, is you search for “Hyperventilation prevalence medical research”, you will find tens of studies that fond that modern people breathe about 2 times more than the norm, while the sick breathe even heavier. Hence, people with chronic diseases generate free radicals 24/7 due to their heavy breathing and mouth breathing as well.
How to make our breathing pattern slower and get more CO2 in the blood and more O2 in body cells? There are many lifestyle factors and breathing techniques that increase body oxygen levels. For example, physical exercise with nose breathing only, eating less, correct posture, and normal thermoregulation are positive factors for light breathing. Mouth breathing, chest breathing, supine sleep, overeating, nutritional deficiencies, and many other factors make breathing deeper and faster reducing body oxygenation and producing free radicals. Breathing techniques, like the Buteyko method, hatha yoga pranayama, Amazing DIY breathing device, Oxygen Remedy, and many others increase body oxygen levels.
Resources from NormalBreathing.com
Hypocapnia: Definition, Causes and Effects
Bronchoconstriction: (Bronchospasm): Definition, Cause, Treatment
Hypoxemia: Low level of oxygen in the blood is a normal result of chest breathing, while over 80% of modern people, as you can see around, are chest breathers.
Dr. Artour Rakhimov is a health educator and breathing teacher. He is the author of books on breathing and the educational website www.NormalBreathing.com devoted to natural self-oxygenation and breathing retraining. Normal Breathing Defeats Chronic Diseases.
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