Best Cough Suppressant: CO2, NO or Free Electrons?
In order to find the best cough suppressant, we need to find the cause of coughing, but let us start with effects of coughing. People with coughing have very large minute ventilation rates. While normal breathing at rest requires only 6 liters of air per minute (as occurs in healthy subjects), coughing increases ventilation at least up to 3-4 times. As a result, people breathe up to 15-20 liters per minute or more. Later, after bouts of coughing are subsided, the person continues to breathe much more than the medical norm (or has chronic hyperventilation) due to reset of the respiratory center to lower CO2.
Low CO2 levels in the airways (alveolar hypocapnia) irritate urge-to-cough nerve receptors located in the tracheobronchial tree and larynx (see the links below) causing chronic problems with coughing.
It is known that coughing is very common in people with, for example, asthma, bronchitis, COPD, and cystic fibrosis. Do they have heavy breathing at rest?
Minute ventilation rates (chronic diseases)
click below for abstracts
|Normal breathing||6 l/min||-||Medical textbooks|
|Healthy Subjects||6-7 l/min||>400||Results of 14 studies|
|COPD||14 (±2) l/min||12||Palange et al, 2001|
|COPD||12 (±2) l/min||10||Sinderby et al, 2001|
|COPD||14 l/min||3||Stulbarg et al, 2001|
|Asthma||13 (±2) l/min||16||Chalupa et al, 2004|
|Asthma||15 l/min||8||Johnson et al, 1995|
|Asthma||14 (±6) l/min||39||Bowler et al, 1998|
|Asthma||13 (±4) l/min||17||Kassabian et al, 1982|
|Asthma||12 l/min||101||McFadden & Lyons, 1968|
|Cystic fibrosis||15 L/min||15||Fauroux et al, 2006|
|Cystic fibrosis||10 L/min||11||Browning et al, 1990|
|Cystic fibrosis*||10 L/min||10||Ward et al, 1999|
|CF and diabetes*||10 L/min||7||Ward et al, 1999|
|Cystic fibrosis||16 L/min||7||Dodd et al, 2006|
|Cystic fibrosis||18 L/min||9||McKone et al, 2005|
|Cystic fibrosis*||13 (±2) l/min||10||Bell et al, 1996|
|Cystic fibrosis||11-14 l/min||6||Tepper et al, 1983|
What are the effects of hyperventilation? It leads to low CO2 levels in the lungs, which reduces oxygen levels in body cells. Tissue hypoxia increases inflammation, and suppresses the immune system (see the links below). Thus, hypocapnia (reduction in carbon dioxide levels in the lungs) is a suppressant of the immune system.
Note that some people can experience arterial hypercapnia (increased CO2) due to low CO2 in the lungs since carbon dioxide has a profound positive effect on lung tissue. It dilates bronchi and bronchioles immediately improving the ventilation-perfusion ratio.
Those who have normal lungs suffer from arterial hypocapnia (low CO2 in the blood), and that reduces blood and oxygen supply to all vital organs (see the picture on the right).
CO2: natural cough suppressant
Carbon dioxide is among the best natural cough suppressant since it is the most needed chemical to reduce inflammation, improve immunity and increase body oxygen levels. Furthermore, medical research suggests that alveolar hypocapnia (low CO2 in airways) is the key cause of chronic cough (see quotes from medical studies below).
Reduced levels of CO2 overexcite all nerve cells in the nervous system causing their irritability (see medical references below). Urge-to-cough nerve receptors are also irritated due to low CO2 and, if conditions are suitable (inflammation of airways, breathing cold air through the mouth, respiratory infections, allergy triggers, extra mucus, and so forth) this leads to ... chronic coughing. This is because urge-to-cough nerve receptors are located in the tracheobronchial tree and larynx, and are highly sensitive to slight changes in CO2 (as small as 1-2 mm Hg).
In addition, hyperventilation and coughing through the mouth mechanically irritates, overcools and dries airways, and reduces oxygenation of brain and body cells. All these effects worsen coughing attacks and destroy health.
Therefore, CO2 is natural cough suppressant that directly pacifies urge-to-cough receptors. Apart from this nerve-calming effect, higher CO2 levels in airways increase oxygen levels in body cells, improve immunity, prevent chronic inflammation, dilate blood vessels, and cause many other natural and beneficial effects (see links to medical studies below).
Nitric oxide: another potent natural cough suppressant
Nitric oxide is produced in various parts of the body, and the sinuses are one of the primary sites. Nasal nitric oxide is crucial to fight pathogens in the lungs due to its powerful effects on bacteria, viruses and fungi. It is also a potent natural vasodilator. (Nitroglycerine, a popular drug for heart attacks, works due to its conversion into nitric oxide.) Nitric oxide is synthesized from arginine (an amino acid), which humans get with food. Mouth breathing (e.g., during sleep) and coughing through the mouth blow away nasal nitric oxide causing more severe problems with coughing. One needs to have nose breathing 24/7 to enjoy benefits of this cough suppressant.
Free electrons as cough suppressant
During human evolution, the body was grounded to Earth due to barefoot lifestyle and sleeping on Earth. Earth has a slight negative charge. Therefore, the human body also had an excess of electrons 24/7. This is not the case these days. People wear insulated footwear and sleep on elevated nonconductive beds. As a result, people always have positive body voltage or deficiency of electrons that have profound effects on elimination of inflammation: (see this link for details: chronic inflammation). Therefore, grounding the body quickly reduces inflammation and eliminates coughing in 10-20 minutes.
What is the best cough suppressant?
Depending on individual lifestyle, any of these 3 substances can be the best cough suppressant. People with very critically low CO2 will benefit most quickly from breathing exercises that increase alveolar CO2, transition from mouth breathing to nose breathing (and nose coughing), with additional benefits due to grounding and free electrons.
Best home remedies to stop coughing
Furthermore, if you suffer from coughing, you can practically prove that CO2 is the best cough suppressant. There are easy breathing exercises used by about 200 Soviet and Russian medical doctors. These exercises can suppress or stop coughing faster than cough suppressing medications: Persistent Cough Home Remedies: 3 Easy, Proven Breathing Exercises and How to Stop Cough at Night (another natural home solution).
In order to quickly and permanently eliminate coughing, apart from these breathing exercises, you also need free electrons from Earth. Earthing web page provides more details.
Here is a video clip from YouTube: Cough Medicine, Syrups, and Best Cough Suppressants: CO2 and NO.
References (CO2: natural or body-made sedative and tranquilizer of nerve cells)
Balestrino M, Somjen GG, Concentration of carbon dioxide, interstitial pH and synaptic transmission in hippocampal formation of the rat, J Physiol 1988, 396: p. 247-266. - “... The brain, by regulating breathing, controls its own excitability...”
Brown EB, Physiological effects of hyperventilation, Physiol Reviews 1953 Oct, 33 (4): p. 445-471. - “Studies designed to determine the effects produced by hyperventilation on nerve and muscle have been consistent in their finding on increased irritability”
Davis H, Pascual W, Rice LH (1928), Quantitative studies of the nerve impulse. Amer. J. Physiol. 86, 706-724.
Huttunen J, Tolvanen H, Heinonen E, Voipio J, Wikstrom H, Ilmoniemi RJ, Hari R, Kaila K, Effects of voluntary hyperventilation on cortical sensory responses. Electroencephalographic and magnetoencephalographic studies, Exp Brain Res 1999, 125(3): p. 248-254. - Hyperventilation ... "leads to spontaneous and asynchronous firing of cortical neurons".
Krnjevic K, Randic M and Siesjo B, Cortical CO2 tension and neuronal excitability, J of Physiol 1965, 176: p. 105-122. - In section "Changes in membrane resting potentials": "Hypercapnia was associated with an increase in resting potential and the period of falling Pco2, with depolarization..." "Cortical cells are remarkably sensitive to variations in PCo2; even changes of the order of 1-2 mm Hg may be sufficient to produce a clear alteration in their excitability. On the whole, the main effect of hypercapnia is depressant...." "There is general agreement that an increase in Pco2, tends to reduce the excitability of vertebrate nerve fibres (Davis, Pascual & Rice, 1928; Necheles & Gerard, 1930; Lorente de No, 1947) probably by raising the membrane potential (Lorente de No, 1947; Shanes, 1948)."
Lorente DE (1947), A study of nerve physiology. Stud. Rockefeller Inst. med. Res. 131, pp. 148-193.
Necheles H & Gererd RW (1930), The effect of carbon dioxide on nerve, Amer. J. Physiol. 93, 318-336.\
Shanes AM (1948), Metabolic changes of the resting potential in relation to the action of carbon dioxide, Amer. J. Physiol. 153, 93-108.
Reference pages: Breathing norms and medical facts:
- Breathing norms: Parameters, graph, and description of the normal breathing pattern
- 6 breathing myths: Myths and superstitions about breathing and body oxygenation (prevalence: over 90%)
- Hyperventilation: Definitions of hyperventilation: their advantages and weak points
- Hyperventilation syndrome: Western scientific evidence about prevalence of chronic hyperventilation in patients with chronic conditions (37 medical studies)
- Normal minute ventilation: Small and slow breathing at rest is enjoyed by healthy subjects (14 studies)
- Hyperventilation prevalence: Present in over 90% of normal people (24 medical studies)
- HV and hypoxia: How and why deep breathing reduces oxygenation of cells and tissues of all vital organs
- Body-oxygen test (CP test) : How to measure your own breathing and body oxygenation (two in one) using a simple DIY test
- Body oxygen in healthy: Results for the body-oxygen test for healthy people (27 medical studies)
- Body oxygen in sick : Results for the body-oxygen test for sick people (14 medical studies)
- Buteyko Table of Health Zones: Clinical description and ranges for breathing zones: from the critically ill (severely sick) up to super healthy people with maximum possible body oxygenation
- Morning hyperventilation: Why people feel worse and critically ill people are most likely to die during early morning hours
References: pages about CO2 effect:
- Vasodilation: CO2 expands arteries and arterioles facilitating perfusion (or blood supply) to all vital organs
- The Bohr effect: How and why oxygen is released by red blood cells in tissues
- Cell oxygen levels: How alveolar CO2 influences oxygen transport
- Oxygen transport: O2 transport is controlled by vasoconstriction-vasodilation and the Bohr effects, both of which rely on CO2
- Free radical generation: Reactive oxygen species are produced within cells due to anaerobic cell respiration caused by cell hypoxia
- Inflammatory response: Chronic inflammation in fueled by the hypoxia-inducible factor 1, while normal breathing reduces and eliminates inflammation
- Nerve stabilization: People remain calm due to calmative or sedative effects of carbon dioxide in neurons or nerve cells
- Muscle relaxation: Relaxation of muscle cells is normal at high CO2, while hypocapnia causes muscular tension, poor posture and, sometimes, aggression and violence
- Bronchodilation: Dilation of airways (bronchi and bronchioles) is caused by carbon dioxide, and their constriction by hypocapnia (low CO2)
- Blood pH: Regulation of blood pH due to breathing and regulation of other bodily fluids
- CO2: lung damage: Elevated carbon dioxide prevents lung injury and promotes healing of lung tissues
- CO2: Topical carbon dioxide can heal skin and tissues
- Synthesis of glutamine in the brain, CO2 fixation, and other chemical reactions
- Deep breathing myth: Ignorant and naive people promote the idea that deep breathing and breathing more air at rest is beneficial for health
- Breathing control: How is our breathing regulated? Why hypocapnia makes breathing uneven, irregular and erratic.
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