Charles J. Meakin MD, MHA, O+ Wellness Contributor |
My lifelong hobby of high-performance and holistic living strategies, coupled by my 30 years of providing medical care in the Cancer Center, has taught me that the Breath is our top health priority and Oxygen is our most crucial nutrient. Proper breathing improves our immediate well-being and may add years of functional longevity.
Surprisingly, despite the importance of oxygen delivery and release of carbon dioxide, this exchange is frequently overlooked in healthcare discussions. Most of us are habitual mouth breathers (look around), we now have indoor air pollution, and many American cities have diminished percent oxygen levels to the high teens (18 percent while historical normal is 21 percent oxygen in the air) due to poor air quality. These emerging factors challenge delivery of our most important nutrient.
When we inhale through our nose, we get optimal levels of oxygen with some warming and filtering, while activating our “rest digest and relax mode” (parasympathetic). While nostril breathing, we exchange 6 to 9 liters per minute and thus keep our CO2 levels high enough in the blood to best facilitate the release of the oxygen to the cells at the tissue level.
Conversely, when we inhale through our mouth, we fail to activate the parasympathetic nervous system, but rather trigger the more stressful mode of sympathetic tone, and exchange 8 to 14 liters per minute of air, thus lowering our CO2 levels without elevating our 02 levels any further, and making it more difficult to release oxygen at the cellular level.
Optimal ATP energy production requires a ready supply of oxygen, so having sufficient oxygen is critical to keep our machine running smoothly. That is why keeping our nostrils clear and making them the default route for breathing – while also maintaining clean air indoors and outdoors – cannot be ignored.
Supplemental Oxygen tools like Oxygen Plus with pure canned recreational oxygen may support the body in times of stress or high demand such as: high altitude adaption, optimal sports and mental performance, jet lag recovery, and pre-exertion boost for those with lung impairments. Optimal oxygen delivery is too important to take it for granted, and supporting it when needed with additional products like Oxygen Plus is a reasonable strategy. Start today with intentional nostril-abdominal breathing and notice the impact on your energy level and clarity. Remember, “When in doubt, stay in your nose.”