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 breath is our top health priority and oxygen, also known as O2 or “vitamin O2,” is our most crucial nutrient. Proper breathing improves our immediate well-being and may add years of functional longevity.
Unfortunately, most of us tend to be unconcerned with the air quality around us, and maintaining optimum oxygen levels. Perhaps because it seems invisible or effortless, we are prone to take the whole process of breathing for granted until there is a severe problem. But the truth is, without healthy O2 levels, we run the risk of experiencing symptoms associated with fatigue, mental fog, poor cognitive and physical performance, along with other health concerns – impacting our day to day routines, from the boardroom to the gym.
With factors like indoor and outdoor air pollution, many American cities have diminished oxygen levels to the high teens (around 18%, while normal, healthy levels have 21% oxygen in the air). This can challenge the delivery of our most important nutrient.
Further, the way we breathe on a regular basis can impact our oxygen levels as well. When we inhale through our nose, we get optimal levels of oxygen. We exchange 6 to 9 liters per minute and thus keep our carbon dioxide (CO2) levels high enough in the blood to best facilitate the release of the oxygen to the cells. Conversely, when we inhale through our mouth, we exchange 8 to 14 liters per minute of air, thus lowering our CO2 levels without elevating our O2 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 therapies such as Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT), Live O2 and EWOT can be effective in increasing one’s internal oxygen levels. I use a product called Oxygen Plus (O+), which offers pure recreational oxygen in portable, handheld canisters that provide a substantial amount of breathable oxygen. While not a medical product or device, I offered this tool to my severely limited lung and heart cancer patients, due to its ability to support the body in times of stress or high demand – particularly for high altitude adaption, optimal sports and mental performance, jet lag recovery, and a 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 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.”