Why is Oxygen so important?

Oxygen is one of the most important elements required to sustain life, it plays a central role in the normal functioning of the immune system, it is essential for energy production in most cells. Our body contains a system of 75 trillion of cells which provide the energy required for brain and organs to function. Each cell needs two things to produce energy: nutrients and oxygen.

The increased oxygenation of blood vessels allows for systematic health benefits, such as cell growth and regeneration, detoxification, immune support, new capillary growth, and improved neurological functioning among many others.

“Oxygen plays a pivotal role in the proper functioning of the immune system. We can look at oxygen deficiency as the single greatest cause of all diseases.” 

– Stephen Levine

Human bodies work best at sea level (1 ATA and the Diatomic Oxygen gas which currently constitutes 20.95% of the Earth’s atmosphere, though this has changed considerably over long periods of time, so did the atmospheric pressure). At the tallest peak in the world, at 29,029 feet (8,848 meters or 5.5 miles) above sea level, even with 100% Oxygen, in less than two hours we die.

At a pressure of 10 ATA (100 meters/ 328 feet under water) with more than 3% Oxygen in the mixture of gases we breathe, we die immediately.

The pressure itself is life!

How is Oxygen Therapy different from HBOT, hyperbaric oxygen therapy?

HBOT is not only about increasing the SPO2 (oxygen saturation in the blood) but also to increase, the muscle oxygen saturation (SmO2), oxygen to organs and organ tissues at a cellular level.

Even a slight increase in the partial pressure, such as 1.05 ATA at the depth of 402 below sea level, may induce observable physiological changes.

It is possible to distinguish several factors that play a major role in treatments based on HBOT. These include: neutrophils, metaloproteinases, caspases and hypoxia-induced factor. Since 1 cm3 of a regular nervous tissue contains ca. 1 km of blood vessels, a sufficient oxygen supply is absolutely necessary to repair damaged regions.

An elevation in atmospheric pressure accompanied by an increase in oxygen concentration enhances the partial pressure of oxygen and increases the levels of oxygen dissolved in plasma. Hyperbaric conditions at 2–3 atmospheres absolute (ATAs) with an oxygen concentration of 100% are generally used for hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is used for the treatment of temporary hypoxia, tissue repair after burn injury, intractable ulcer, open fractures, and crush injuries. However, the conditions used in hyperbaric oxygen therapy are thought to induce the excessive production of reactive oxygen species in several tissues and organs. 

More Oxygen = More Energy

More Energy = More Healing

Why too much Oxygen is not always good? And why is mHBOT a noninvasive procedure for prolonged non-medical protocols?

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy leads to vasoconstriction and hyperoxygenation, making it an effective treatment option for patients with various clinical disorders such as severe carbon monoxide poisoning, decompression sickness, and arterial gas embolism, and as adjunctive therapy for the prevention and treatment of osteoradionecrosis, clostridial myonecrosis, and compromised skin grafts and flaps. During hyperbaric oxygen therapy, patients are generally exposed to 2–3 ATAs with 100% oxygen. However, a previous study reported that exposure to hyperbaric conditions (2.5 ATAs with 100% oxygen for 2–2.5 h, 3 times per week, up to 100 times) induced cataracts in 17- to 18-month-old guinea pigs. Similarly, myopia and cataracts developed in human lenses after exposure to prolonged hyperbaric conditions at 2–2.5 ATAs with 100% oxygen for 1.5 h, once per day, from 150 to 850 times, although rarely after only 48 times. Therefore, exposure to hyperbaric conditions at 2–3 ATAs with 100% oxygen has the potential to induce and accelerate myopia and cataracts. In addition, standard hyperbaric oxygen therapy is thought to cause excessive production of reactive oxygen species in several tissues and organs, suggesting that oxidative stress induced by hyperbaric oxygen therapy may accelerate tissue damage. Oxidative stress occurs when the production of oxidants exceeds the capacity to neutralize them, and oxidative stress levels resulting from exposure to hyperbaric conditions depend not only on pressure but also on the duration of the exposure; a pressure of exposure of 2.5–3 ATAs and a duration of exposure of 90–120 min result in a pronounced increase in the level of oxidative stress.

In previous studies, we found that mHBOT mild hyperbaric conditions (1.25 ATAs with 36.0% oxygen) can be used to increase oxidative capacity in cells and tissues. Whereas concentrations of oxygen higher than 40% cause side effects such as enhanced levels of oxidative stress and/or increased numbers of invasive inflammatory cells, conditions of mild hyperbaric oxygen do not cause enhanced levels of oxidative stress. In addition, we previously observed in animal experiments that type 2 diabetes, diabetes-induced cataracts, hypertension, type II collagen-induced arthritis, and agerelated decline in muscle oxidative enzyme activity were inhibited and/or improved by exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen. 

We estimate that the amount of oxygen dissolved in plasma under mild hyperbaric conditions is 2.76 times greater than that under normal conditions, when the atmospheric pressure is 1.25 times greater and the oxygen concentration is 1.72 times higher than normal. 

Caleb Plant – IBF Super Middleweight World Champion

Thus, it is plausible that the increased dissolved oxygen enhances metabolism in cells and tissues. In this Exposure to Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Increases Blood Flow and Resting Energy Expenditure but not Oxidative Stress study, they are examining the effects of exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen on blood flow and resting energy expenditure. Healthy women were exposed to mild hyperbaric conditions for 50 min. Values for heart rate, peripheral oxygen saturation (SpO2), blood flow, resting energy expenditure, derived-reactive oxygen metabolites (dROMs), and biological antioxidant potential (BAP) were obtained before and after exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen and then compared. dROMs and BAP were used as indices of oxidative stress and antioxidant capacity, respectively. Their results showed that exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen increases blood flow and metabolism without increasing levels of oxidative stress. 

Dr. Marcus Cooke explains oxidative stress
Via: Florida International University

For wellness, non-medical conditions it is fair to say that mHBOT (mild hyperbaric oxygen therapy) is the safest pressure protocol that an untrained, or a non-medical facility could handle. Pressures protocols above 1.75 ATA used in domestic setups, or in non-medical facilities are therefore being used against the existing science. 

At sea level, partial pressure air is 760 mm, Air has 20.95% oxygen and partial pressure oxygen is 160 mm. 

Participants and Exposure to Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen

For this study, we used a mild hyperbaric oxygen chamber that we had designed for use in human experiments (Japan Patent No. 5076067, dated September 7, 2012). The chamber consists of an oxygen tank (length, 240 cm; width, 95 cm; height, 95 cm; weight, 140 kg) in which a single participant could lie down and a control box (length, 55 cm; width, 50 cm; height, 120 cm; weight 70 kg) containing an oxygen concentrator and an air compressor.

The atmospheric pressure and oxygen concentration were controlled using a computer assisted system in the control box. The interior of the mild hyperbaric oxygen chamber was automatically maintained at a temperature of 22±2oC with a relative humidity of 45–55%.

Using this chamber, 14 healthy women (age, 18.4±0.5 years; height, 1.58±0.03 m; body weight, 48.9±3.3 kg; body mass index, 19.5±0.9 kg·m-2; values are means ± standard deviations) were first exposed to normobaric conditions (1.00 ATA with 20.9% oxygen) for 50 min as the control. The same participants were then exposed to mild hyperbaric oxygen for 50 min on a subsequent day.

The present study has determined that exposure to mHBOT mild hyperbaric conditions at 1.25 ATAs with 36.0% oxygen is sufficient to obtain effective responses in oxidative capacity in cells and tissues. However, there are no data available concerning the response of oxidative stress and/or the levels of reactive oxygen species in patients exposed to mild hyperbaric oxygen. Therefore, in this study, we examined dROMs as an index to ascertain the level of oxidative stress in healthy humans exposed to mild hyperbaric oxygen. We found that there were no changes in the dROMs after exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen. Interestingly, our previous study showed that exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen was effective at reducing levels of oxidative stress and C-reactive protein, which were pronounced as the result of type II collagen-induced arthritis in rats. Similarly, high blood pressure and enhanced levels of oxidative stress in spontaneously hypertensive rats were reduced by exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen. Increased sympathetic activation in hypertensive rats is mediated by the overproduction of toxic reactive oxygen species. Therefore, a reduction in oxidative stress may underlie the decrease in high blood pressure observed in hypertensive rats exposed to mild hyperbaric oxygen. The results of this study using human participants, combined with the previous findings using experimental animals, lead to the conclusion that exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen does not affect levels of oxidative stress.

Furthermore, exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen reduced high blood glucose levels and improved oxidative capacity in the skeletal muscles of adult rats with type 2 diabetes, and these effects were maintained under subsequent normobaric conditions.

This study showed that the blood flow in human participants effectively doubled after exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen. It is widely known that endurance exercises cause a steady increase in blood flow. However, the increase in blood flow following an endurance exercise is induced mostly in active skeletal muscles but not in internal organs. In addition, because of the increased atmospheric pressure, exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen has an advantage in that it can increase the amount of dissolved oxygen in plasma, which does not occur with endurance exercises. This study also found that the resting energy expenditure in participants increased by 10.2% after exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen.


The presented clinical study concludes that exposure to mild hyperbaric oxygen increases blood flow and metabolism without increasing levels of oxidative stress.


Journal of Scientific Research & Reports 

3(14): 1886-1896, 2014; Article no. JSRR.2014.14.005

Exposure to Mild Hyperbaric Oxygen Increases Blood Flow and Resting Energy Expenditure but not Oxidative Stress

Authors’ contributions: Akihiko Ishihara1*, Fumiko Nagatomo1, Hidemi Fujino2 and Hiroyo Kondo

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