Hypoxia can cause problems with the mitochondria and the brain. Read this post to learn why, how to find out, and what to do about it.
- Why Does Oxygen Matter?
- How To Measure Your Oxygen Levels
- Why You May Be Suffering From Hypoxia
- How to Increase Oxygen
- Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick
Why Does Oxygen Matter?
Your mitochondria need oxygen.
Mitochondrial problems are at the heart of all chronic diseases.
When your mitochondria are working well, you will build up healthy levels of ATP and NAD+ levels, which are important for energy utilization and metabolism.
Your body fights infections with the superoxide that’s created from oxygen.
Your health and energy will in part depend on how much oxygen you have and how well your mitochondria utilize it.
Now there’s obviously more to the story, but you want to make sure the fundamentals are right.
How To Measure Your Oxygen Levels
Pulse Oximeter and Hypoxia
A pulse oximeter is the easiest method to measure blood oxygen, but it’s only a part of the story.
People think that oxygen levels can be measured simply with a pulse oximeter.
Pulse oximeters measure what percentage of hemoglobin, the protein in blood that carries oxygen, is loaded with oxygen.
It knows this by measuring the amount of red vs infrared that gets absorbed in the tissue. Oxygenated hemoglobin absorbs more infrared light and allows more red light to pass through.
However, this doesn’t measure the number of red blood cells and hemoglobin.
It also doesn’t measure how much blood you have in a given area, especially your brain, where you need it most.
You should measure 99-100% on the Pulse Oximeter if you want optimal function.
Your Blood Tests and Hypoxia
Red blood cells carry hemoglobin, which carries oxygen. The more red blood cells you have, the more you can carry oxygen.
Hemoglobin actually carries the oxygen. The more hemoglobin you have, the more oxygen you transport.
Hemoglobin comprises about a third of the total red blood cell volume. This protein is responsible for the transport of more than 98% of the oxygen (the remaining oxygen is carried dissolved in the blood plasma).
Hematocrit is a blood test that measures the percentage of the volume of whole blood that is made up of red blood cells. This measurement depends on the number of red blood cells and the size of red blood cells.
Red blood cells and hemoglobin are all the info you need in your Complete Blood Count to determine your levels of hypoxia.
Low iron or iron stores can also cause less oxygen utilization because oxygen binds to iron-containing molecules (heme) in your hemoglobin. However, your RBC and hemoglobin will often reflect an iron deficiency.
A low RBC or hemoglobin count indicates that your EPO may be low, all of which are extremely important to oxygenate the blood. Hemoglobin holds oxygen and RBCs hold hemoglobin. EPO produces both.
Blood Pressure and Hypoxia
You can have good RBCs, hemoglobin, and oxygen saturation, but if your blood isn’t flowing to your brain, it’s meaningless.
Blood pressure is one measure of blood flow. Higher blood pressure can indicate that the blood is more viscous and thick, which will require more force and pressure to move it. It can indicate blood vessels that are hardened and not able to relax easily. It can indicate lower nitric oxide.
Low blood pressure means that blood is not flowing with a certain force level to reach the brain in optimal concentrations.
Your doctor won’t think anything of a blood pressure of 90/60, but this means that not enough blood is flowing to the brain for optimal function. Your blood pressure should be 110-120/70-80.
Blood Flow and Hypoxia
If you feel you have cold hands or feet, it can be a symptom that blood isn’t going to your peripheral body areas. It’s also an indicator of low T3 and/or metabolism.
Oxygen Utilization and Hypoxia
Assuming you’ve got everything set up to this point, you still don’t know if you have enough neuronal NOS and endothelial NOS that will diffuse the oxygen from circulation into the cells.
UV increases nitric oxide and the relaxation of blood vessels (R). UV increase free endothelial NOS or eNOS (in vessels/capillaries) and total neuronal NOS or nNOS (in neurons) (R, R2) and increases nitric oxide through other means (R), which allows oxygen to diffuse into tissues better.
UV also relaxes your blood vessels by mechanisms that might be independent of NO (R).
nNOS is also important for gut flow and sexual arousal in males and females (R).
Why You May Be Suffering From Hypoxia
There are a few main reasons why you can have lower oxygen.
1) Nasal Problems or Mucus
Do you have a problem breathing through your nose? Perhaps a deviated septum or you’ve constantly got mucous?
It doesn’t matter what’s blocking your nose, but if you’re not breathing easily through your nose, you’ve got a problem that you have to fix.
2) Obstructive Sleep Apnea or Low Oxygen During Sleep
You either have sleep apnea or you don’t. True, but there’s a continuum of how well you breathe while you’re sleeping. You can do a sleep study to see what your oxygen concentrations drop to while you’re sleeping.
3) Living in an Elevated Area
Living in an elevated location like Colorado or Utah can contribute to hypoxia. People who live in elevated locations often have higher RBCs and hemoglobin to make up for lower blood saturation.
4) Chronic Inflammation
Low oxygen can be caused in part by cytokines, which prevent oxygen from reaching the tissues from capillaries.
If you’ve got chronic inflammation, you will have hypoxia to some degree.
5) Psychological Stress
Low oxygen is also caused by a sympathetic or fight or flight system that is in overdrive because this causes more shallow breaths.
Check your number of breaths per a minute and cortisol levels.You should have 5-6 breaths per a minute.
Blood pressure and heart rate should be normal (115/75 and 55-70).
These are quick and dirty indicators a normal stress response.
6) Lower Blood Pressure and Poor Circulation
Oxygen is transported through the blood and when you have low blood pressure, not enough blood goes to the brain.
Remember, you need force to pump blood against gravity and when you stand gravity is against you. You need good blood flow to get enough blood to the brain to deliver oxygen.
Why is blood pressure reduced in chronic illness? Here’s one reason:
Very high levels of uncontrolled nitric oxide through increased iNOS decreases smooth muscle contractions by the heart and lead to lower blood pressure (R).
Nitric oxide from iNOS is more systemic rather than localized where you need increased blood, which is how eNOS and nNOS work.
Hypoxia locally in the brain is what contributes to cognitive problems.
7) A Lack of Sunlight
As discussed UV is needed to utilize oxygen in the blood.
UV increases nitric oxide and the relaxation of blood vessels (R). UV increase free endothelial NOS/eNOS (in vessels/capillaries) and total neuronal NOS/nNOS (in neurons) (R, R2) and increases nitric oxide through other means (R), which allows oxygen to diffuse into tissues better.
UV also relaxes your blood vessels by mechanisms that might be independent of NO (R).
How to Increase Oxygen
- Breathing Exerciser
- Oxygen Concentrator
- ICES increases oxygenation to tissues – ICES® DigiCeutical® A9a Model System. Use the code SAVE50 to get 50$ 0ff
My top natural ways to increase EPO are:
- Interval exercise,
- Breath holding,
- Astragalus (R).
- Rhodiola/Salidroside (R),
- Rehmannia/Catalpol (R),
- Kidney glandular – the kidneys make EPO, so they presumably have it, and given my experiments with it, it wouldn’t be surprising.
Health Tools I Wish I Had When I Was Sick
At SelfHacked, it’s our goal to offer our readers all the tools possible to get optimally healthy. When I was struggling with chronic health issues I felt stuck because I didn’t have any tools to help me get better. I had to spend literally thousands of hours trying to read through studies on pubmed to figure out how the body worked and how to fix it.
That’s why I decided to create tools that will help others cut down the guesswork:
- Lab Test Analyzer – a software tool that will analyze your labs and tell you what the optimal values are for each marker — as well as provide you with actionable tips and personalized health and lifestyle recommendations to help you get there.
- SelfDecode – a software tool that will help you analyze your genetic data from companies such as 23andme and ancestry. You will learn how your health is being impacted by your genes, and how to use this knowledge to your advantage.
- SelfHacked Secrets – an ebook where we examine and explain the biggest overlooked environmental factors that cause disease. This ebook is a great place to start your journey if you want to learn the essential steps to optimizing your health.
- SelfHacked Elimination Diet course – a video course that will help you figure out which diet works best for you
- Selfhacked Inflammation course – a video course on inflammation and how to bring it down
- Biohacking insomnia – an ebook on how to get great sleep
- Lectin Avoidance Cookbook – an e-cookbook for people with food sensitivities
- BrainGauge – a device that detects subtle brain changes and allows you to test what’s working for you
- SelfHacked VIP – an area where you can ask me (Joe) questions about health topics
The information on this website has not been evaluated by the Food & Drug Administration or any other medical body. We do not aim to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any illness or disease. Information is shared for educational purposes only. You must consult your doctor before acting on any content on this website, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition.
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