Did you know that many pathogens, including viruses and parasites, are anaerobic? They prefer an oxygen-free environment and lose momentum in an oxygen-rich presence. Therefore, a major defense against these unwanted intruders—as well as keeping your cellular health optimal—may be making sure you’re well-oxygenated.
The air we breathe is typically made up of 78% nitrogen and 21% oxygen by volume, while the trace gases argon, carbon dioxide, neon, helium, methane, krypton, hydrogen and xenon make up the remaining 1%. Oxygen, of course, is the most recognized component of the air we breathe, and it’s absolutely essential for human life. A person can live for weeks without food and for days without water, but will expire in minutes without oxygen.
We use oxygen to convert carbohydrates, fats and proteins from our diet into energy, heat and life in a process known as metabolism. Oxygen is also necessary for the respiration process of most of our cells, and oxygenation of the lungs can help us eliminate toxins. Simply put, the more adequate oxygen we have, the more energy we produce.
That’s why it’s important to remain well-oxygenated. Not only is it vital for life, but it also crowds out many pathogens and unwanted cellular proliferation—such as cancer cells. Cancer cells, for instance, can’t survive in oxygen; they depend on fermenting glucose (or sugar) to survive and multiply.
In fact, one notable chemist, medical doctor and cell physiology expert, Dr. Otto Warburg, focused on the process of oxygenation as well as cellular metabolism and cellular respiration. He showed, among other things, that cancerous cells can live and develop in the absence of oxygen. Warburg also discovered the importance of the dietary roles of quercetin (antioxidant plant pigments called flavonoids), flavins (often found in yellow vegetables) and nicotinamide (a form of vitamin B3) in optimal oxygenation.
And speaking of oxygenation…here are a few suggestions to help ensure that you’re oxygenating to your potential:
Be sure to eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits and limit unhealthy fats. Veggies and fruits are part of a healthy diet and support healthy blood flow, energy levels, metabolism and digestion—and indirectly support your ability to inhale and assimilate oxygen.
Foods containing quercetin include citrus fruits, apples, onions, parsley, and tea, so include them in your diet. Olive oil, grapes, dark cherries, blueberries, blackberries and bilberries are also high in flavonoids, including quercetin. Yellow fruits and vegetables, of course, contain flavins. Unhealthy fats, on the other hand, can build up in the bloodstream and slow down sugar metabolism and cell oxygenation.
Likewise, be sure to add sources of vitamin B3 (nicotinamide and niacin) to your diet such as crimini mushrooms, tuna, salmon, chicken breast, asparagus and halibut. Nicotinamide is necessary for the body to convert proteins, fats, and carbs into usable energy. Additionally, the genetic material in our cells—DNA—requires vitamin B3 for its production.
You’ll also want to incorporate aerobic exercise into your lifestyle. Additionally, be sure to breathe properly and to get plenty of fresh air. Your cells will thank you.
And those pathogens? Well, they just can’t handle an abundantly oxygenated environment.