What Do Hyperbaric Oxygen, Ozone, and Buteyko Breathing Have in Common?
They all enhance oxygen delivery - but how?
First things first - tomorrow is the first book club of this substack. I’ll be covering the book “Testosterone for Life” by Abraham Morgentaler. This will be livestreamed to my Facebook and Youtube accounts at 7 PM Eastern. Paid subscribers get a Q&A afterward at 8 PM - if you are a paid subscriber, this will come in a paid-only post.
I had the pleasure of breaking bread with some great people at RUNGA the weekend before last, in Austin, Texas. I strongly encourage you to check out the next RUNGA event, coming up in October. While at RUNGA, I had the pleasure of trying hyperbaric oxygen therapy (better known as HBOT), courtesy of Jason Sonners, who brought his HBOT chambers to the event.
HBOT is doubtless one of the most exciting therapies that we have discovered in the modern era of medicine. Cheap, harmless, and highly effective, HBOT is so good that, naturally, everyone in academia is busy ignoring it. Just as they ignore ozone. Just as they ignore Buteyko breathing. Why are academicians seemingly allergic to wonderful therapies such as these? Perhaps their fatuous and ailing minds are deprived of the precious oxygen that they do not perceive the therapeutic value of oxygen. That is what HBOT, ozone, and Buteyko breathing have in common.
The delivery of oxygen to your tissues can be favorably influenced by HBOT, ozone, and Buteyko breathing by various mechanisms. HBOT actually increases the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream. Ozone causes your hemoglobin to off-load more oxygen to your tissues, without necessarily causing the blood to carry more oxygen. Buteyko breathing increases carbon dioxide levels in the blood, relaxing your blood vessels and increasing blood flow to your tissues. It also causes hemoglobin to off-load more oxygen, much as ozone does. The result is more oxygen in your tissues, which is essential for healing.
Cool, right? I find it a little sad that so few people understand that many different therapies work via the same mechanism. While you need fancy equipment, typically only available via a doctor, to use HBOT and ozone, you can learn Buteyko breathing for free. It's one of my favorite things to teach patients.
What's another thing that increases oxygenation to your tissues? The topic of this month's new livestream/webinar - testosterone. Testosterone is well known to increase red blood cell levels, and has been used to treat anemia for this reason for decades. Some men may in fact be suffering from anemia simply because of a low testosterone level (although, as always, ruling out other causes is only good practice).
Why is oxygen such a big deal? As many of you realize from reading the work of scientists like Chris Lane, oxygen is a double-edged sword. It is vital to life, but it can also cause oxidative stress. Oxidative stress in excess is synonymous with aging and disease. As with all things, "the dose makes the poison." Oxygen is tightly controlled in nature. While it might seem like a loose cannon in a biological system, especially when delivered in unique and unnatural ways like hyperbaric oxygen or ozone, it is also the key to healing for many, many patients. I am a great supporter of HBOT and ozone for this reason. I just think that it is best practice to ensure that patients are taking advantage of healthy habits like Buteyko breathing before they invest a lot of money in something like ozone or HBOT. That is, unless they have the funds to invest and are acutely ill, with a real and pressing need to make a full recovery.
For next month's book club, we will be reading Jason Sonner’s book, "Oxygen Under Pressure." The book club will air on June 14 at 7 PM, with the paid subscriber's only Q&A an hour later at 8 PM.
Back to oxygen. One of the most interesting things about oxygen is that oxidative stress, when delivered in the proper dose and form, actually triggers your body to regenerate and rejuvenate. Isn't that odd? I just told you that oxidative stress is synonymous with aging and disease, but there's also a time and a place for using it therapeutically. What makes the difference? This is something of a mystery, even, in my opinion, to many of those who make a full time job of delivering oxygen as a therapeutic. Entire books have been written on HBOT and ozone that provide ample documentation of the benefits of these therapies, but the line between poison and therapeutic remains poorly defined. How bad could it be? Having spent a fair amount of time looking, I have only identified one case report of a significant adverse event with regards to ozone. That is despite innumerable administrations of medical ozone. That's a very favorable safety profile.
Do you know what else keeps company with oxidative stress and may also help you live longer and better? Uric acid. What is uric acid and why should you care? It is an organic acid that is the breakdown product of purine metabolism. Purines are abundant in red meat, seafood, and certain legumes. An excess of purines can lead to the disease we call, "gout," which is a memorably painful affliction. The funny thing is, it isn't just about what you take in - it's about how you process and eliminate it. Too many purines, and you wind up with gout. Too little, and you wind up wasting away. This hasn't stopped some people from blaming uric acid for causing all kinds of disease, when I would argue that it is more the accomplice than the primary perpetrator. It may even arguably be more of an innocent bystander than anything.
More on this next week. I want to close by reiterating what a great time I had at RUNGA. It really is a one-of-a-kind event. Joe and Emilia DiStefano do a wonderful job as hosts - the food, the wine, the activities, and the setting are amazing. Thanks to both of them and the whole staff at RUNGA!