CNS/Diseases of the Brain Are Caused by Low Brain O2/CO2 Levels
medical studies have discovered that brain diseases (or disorders of the central
nervous system - CNS) are possible only in conditions of
chronic hyperventilation (the most likely scenario) or chest breathing and
mouth breathing. All these respiratory deviations result in decreased levels
of oxygen in the brain.
It is beyond doubt that low oxygen levels in brain cells have a profound
negative effects on function of nerve cells of the CNS. Brain hypoxia leads
to anaerobic cellular respiration, generation of lactic acid and free
radicals, acidic pH cellular environment, chronic inflammation, inability of the immune
system to heal injuries and many other negative effects (see the links to
medical research below), that include
possible formation of tumors.
Well over 90% of modern people have abnormally low brain O2 and CO2 levels 24/7 due to
chronic overbreathing. Here are historical changes related to a large
increase in breathing.
since most brain diseases are characterized by chronic hyperventilation, there
are additional effects due to low CO2 levels in the CNS. For example, hypocapnia
is devastating since CO2 is a powerful relaxant or
stabilizer of the nerve cells. Hyperventilation leads to "spontaneous and
asynchronous firing of neurons", as we learned in the section devoted to CO2
effects related to the nerve cells.
with panic attacks, seizures, sleeping problems, anxiety breathing
disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, senile dementia, Parkinson,
Alzheimer disease, and many other chronic and degenerative health conditions
(see this link for other brain disorders) have ineffective, or heavy or irregular breathing patterns often accompanied by
habitual thoracic and mouth breathing.
Brain-CNS disorders and minute ventilation studies
*One row corresponds to one medical study/publication
All these and
many other studies testify about classical chronic hyperventilation syndrome. For
example, in 1990, American psychiatrists from Hunter College (City University
of New York) reported results from several groups of subjects with anxiety,
panic phobia, depression, migraine, and idiopathic seizures. The abstract states
“virtually all the non-control subjects were found to show moderate to severe
hyperventilation and accompanying EEG dysrhythmia”. In addition, it notes that
hyperventilation and abnormal electrical signals in the brain took place
parameters in the sick are usually much worse during early morning hours due to
sleep heavy breathing effects (often caused by mouth breathing and supine sleep),
after meals, during and after exercise with mouth
breathing, during and after stress, and in many other situations.
Diseases of the CNS and brain disorders and CO2 levels
In 1976 the
British Journal of Psychiatry published a study of CO2
measurements in 60 patients with neurotic depression and non-retarded endogenous
depression (Mora et al, 1976). All patients had abnormally low carbon dioxide
Canadian scientists from the Department of Psychiatry (University of
Manitoba, Winnipeg) measured carbon dioxide concentrations in over 20 patients
with panic disorder. Their average CO2 was also below the medical norm
(Stein & Asmundson, 1994). There are many other studies that report abnormally
low CO2 values for people with various psychological and neurological problems.
Chest and mouth breathing as causes of diseases of the brain and disorders
While these Western studies suggest the possible role of
over breathing in the
appearance and development of various neurological and psychological diseases,
it is also known that low oxygen levels in the brain and body tissues can occur due
to habitual chest and/or mouth breathing. Chest breathing results in drastic
reduction of blood oxygenation since lower parts of the lungs get 6-7 times
richer blood supply, while adverse biochemical and immune effects of mouth
breathing are too numerous to mention here (see Mouth
Breathing web page for details).
Successful treatment of brain/CNS diseases
At the same time, there is no any evidence showing that people with normal
breathing parameters can suffer from neurological or psychological problems.
Furthermore, clinical experience of more than 170 Russian and Soviet MDs
practicing the Buteyko breathing technique indicates that people with brain
diseases and CNS disorders always have less than 30 s for the body-oxygen test.
Therefore, breathing normalization should always be a key element (if not the
key element) in the treatment of brain diseases.
Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1990;602:67-96.
Effect of diaphragmatic respiration with end-tidal CO2 biofeedback on
respiration, EEG, and seizure frequency in idiopathic epilepsy.
Fried R, Fox MC, Carlton RM.
Hunter College, City University of New York, New York 10021.
Breathing rate (RR), end-tidal percent CO2, and EEG were obtained in three
groups: psychiatric referral subjects presenting with anxiety, panic phobia,
depression and migraine... Virtually all the noncontrol subjects were
found to show moderate to severe hyperventilation and the accompanying EEG
Biol Psychiatry. 1994 Oct 15;36(8):548-58.
Autonomic function in panic disorder: cardiorespiratory and plasma
catecholamine responsivity to multiple challenges of the autonomic nervous
Stein MB, Asmundson GJ.
The British Journal of Psychiatry 129: 457-464 (1976)
Respiratory ventilation and carbon dioxide levels in syndromes of
JD Mora, L Grant, P Kenyon, MK Patel and FA Jenner
The breathing rate and PCO2 in end-tidal air have been studied in
controls and in patients with endogenous depression (retarded and non-
retarded), with neurotic depression, and with schizophrenia. It has been
shown that breathing rate goes up and PCO2 down in non-retarded and neurotic
depression. Schizophrenia gives more anomalous results...
Europsychopharmacol Hung. 2009 Sep;11(3):161-73.
The role of carbon dioxide (and intracellular pH) in the pathomechanism of
several mental disorders. Are the diseases of civilization caused by learnt
behaviour, not the stress itself?
Sikter A, Faludi G, Rihmer Z.
Municipal Clinic of Szentendre, Section of Internal Medicine, Hungary.
The role of carbon dioxide (CO2) is underestimated in the pathomechanism of
neuropsychiatric disorders, though it is an important link between psyche and
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