Q: Can this manual be used by those people who do not practice
breathing exercises, but want to know more about key nutrients in diet,
minerals, and supplements on their general health and chronic diseases?
A: In my view, as many clinical trials have found, supplementation with
missing major nutrients for an average person with any chronic disease
produces very moderate, if any, changes in symptoms. A typical clinical
study can find, for example, that Mg or fish oil improved a symptom
score in a group of people with, for example, heart disease (or
diabetes, or cancer, etc.) by only about 10-15%. Practically, one may
expect that their morning CP (or body oxygen level - see the test below), for those people who indeed
experienced improvements, is modest or about 1-2, maximum 3 seconds in
1-2 weeks time. At the same time, many Buteyko students I taught, after
use of required diet nutrients in correct doses, could get up to 5-10 s
higher CP changes in 3-5 days due to their commitment to breathing
retraining. This effect is explained in this manual.
Q: Are breathing exercises absolutely necessary in order to
health and morning CP?
A: Apart from breathing exercises, only large amount of physical
exercise with strictly nasal breathing (e.g., 1-2 hours or even more
per day) can also produce a strong accumulative effect on basal or
unconscious breathing at rest and during sleep so that their morning
CPs start to increase. However, even this health program
(exercise-based) requires correction of lifestyle factors that directly
relate to breathing and body oxygenation. There are several
modules-manuals that address these factors, including “How to prevent
on one's back”, “How
to maintain nasal breathing 24/7”, “How
to Unblock the Nose in 2-3 Minutes”, “Who and when can safely take cold
“Which Exercise Parameters Improve Breathing and Body Oxygenation”,
etc.. All these Buteyko modules, web pages and articles can be found
of published scientific studies
have shown that the lack of key diet nutrients can contribute to
many chronic diseases. The most common major nutrients that are
western people are: essential fatty acids (cod liver oil or fish oil),
magnesium, and zinc. Nutrient supplements, according to hundreds of
studies, can reduce symptoms for the following conditions.
disease, Cancer, Diabetes, Acne, Depression, Loss of sense of taste,
Reduced glucose tolerance, Suppressed immune system, Increased
Inflammation, Anemia, Growth retardation, Skin lesions, ADHD, Impaired wound healing, Anorexia
Many other correlations between missing essential nutrients
and chronic conditions are to be established since the past and current
research has been limited and focused only on known and expected links.
of any nutritional deficiency
causes various abnormalities, which either directly or indirectly
other pathological processes and mechanisms) intensify breathing. This
reduced body oxygenation and shorter CPs. For most people, especially
CPs are going to be affected. Moreover, any missing major nutrient can
bodily responses to hyperventilation in a shortage-dependent manner.
personal symptoms become worse and lack of diet nutrients can even
abnormalities and pathologies concealing the main health problems.
chronic diseases require
hyperventilation as a leading or accompanying factor, but personal
clinical picture depends, apart from genetic predisposition, on diet
other environmental and life-style factors. Hence, major nutrients are
key factors which predict and define specific details of disease
should be kept in mind though, that in
rare conditions lack of some key nutrients may slow down progress of
conditions. For example, there is some evidence that magnesium
slow down growth of cancer tumors. Such a situation suggests that
deficiency can interfere with certain pathological processes connected
tumor growth, while also producing negative effects on other systems
of the human organism.
oxygenation and blood supply to GI organs. This leads to improved
of nutrients and decreased losses of nutrients via urine and feces and,
nutrients are added to one’s diet, the student’s rate of CP progress
increased by 2-5 or even 10 times. Some people will never get even 20
or 30 s
CP without getting essential nutrients in diet.
first goal is to find a general strategy in relation to supplements:
* How much to take?
* For how long?
* Does every student require, for example, calcium and magnesium
* Are the required amounts the same for the same person when they get
* What are the ideal or optimum requirements in essential nutrients in
* Does this ideal dose change when one’s CP is much higher?
are similar questions related to
other minerals and nutrients, for example, essential fatty acids, zinc,
iodine, and others. While many people spend hundreds of dollars every
useless supplements, there are simple criteria and rules that help to
need and optimum amounts of nutrients in order to normalize one’s
improve body oxygenation (the CP), and restore normal health.
or additional nutrients can have
a profound effect on body oxygenation (especially, the morning CP),
and other physiological and symptomatic parameters only for those
have corresponding deficiencies. In order to check lack of nutrients in
for a particular person during breathing retraining, one can try a
answer to this list of questions (see
above) could be based on our philosophy of health: restoration of
breathing. Imagine that supplementation with some nutrient increases
the CP by
3-5 s (a significant number). Later, when the same student stops taking
for some days, their CP decreases back to its previous values. Hence,
practically measure and experience positive effects of supplementation
When teaching Buteyko students, I explain
them how to fill their daily logs (see Downloads),
where all important health information is stored. The last column of
the Table from the daily log is for recording the amounts and types of
nutrients and minerals in diet. The effect of key nutrients in diet is
especially strong, when the student uses them after several days (e.g.,
4-7) of breath work. On one hand, this short delay is long enough so
student can experience faster morning CP growth and have less symptoms
to missing essential nutrients. On the other hand, it is not too long
that the student does not spend too much time, while having little or
progress due to breath work and lifestyle changes.
during initial stages or after
getting initial statistical data about the morning and daily CPs, heart
and symptoms, the students should investigate possible contributions of
essential nutrients on their symptoms, disease, and breathing recovery
health restoration). What can be missing in the body?
modern people, if they follow a right
breathing program, would benefit most from using fish oil, calcium,
zinc. These deficiencies are usually manifested in the following common
poorer sleep, and elevated heart rate
tension, costal or chest breathing and
difficulties with learning
diaphragmatic breathing, tendency to slouch, and constipation; muscle
pain (spasms mainly in calves, possible in hamstrings and quadriceps)
in severe cases
spots on nails, decreased dark adaptation, problems with protein
metabolism, suppressed immune system.
that marginal nutritional deficiencies
often do not have any noticeable physical symptoms, but a student still
significant improvements in their CP and health.
a deficiency of some key nutrient is
suspected, you can do a 3-day trial. Take this supplement for 3 days
and record in
your daily log the
changes in the CP, heart rate and symptoms. After these 3 days, stop
supplement for 5-7 days. Again record your changes in the CP, pulse and
symptoms. If during these
3 days the CP increases and
later, when the nutrient supplements are not taken, the CP drops, then
supplementation is useful. One’s morning CP should be used as the main
for this test.
The suggested doses, which can be used during
the 3-day test, are based on typical RDAs (recommended daily
Nutrients and Minerals
Nutrients intake or typical RDA amount
liver oil (or fish oil)
ml or 1 tablespoon per day (better in the morning or during the first
half of the day due to its possible invigorating effect usually present
in cases of existing deficiency; taking it before sleep can result in
mg per day of elemental Ca supplement, better in organic form and
divided doses with each meal
400-500 mg per day of elemental Mg supplement, better
in organic form and
divided doses with each meal
food stores, online companies and pharmacies have many different
mineral supplements. They are usually divided on two types, organic and
inorganic, depending on their chemical formula.
carbonate, calcium phosphate
citrate, calcium ascorbate, calcium lactate, calcium lactate gluconate,
calcium gluconate, and numerous forms of chelated calcium (e.g.,
calcium amino acid chelate, calcium arginate, calcium lysinate, calcium
ornithine, calcium L aspartate).
oxide (also called magnesia), magnesium phosphate, magnesium sulfate
published studies have found
improved absorption of these 3 minerals, when they are taken in organic
Generally, the best calcium supplements (the same relates to magnesium
are organic. They are more expensive (about 2-3 times) in comparison
inorganic forms, but have higher absorption rates (about 2-3 times for
people) depending on several other factors. With higher CPs (e.g.,
40-60 s), this difference between various forms (organic vs. inorganic)
smaller, due to greatly improved ability to absorb nutrients from the
very high CPs (over 90 s), this difference becomes negligible or
It should be also kept in mind that easier
breathing and higher CPs increase blood supply and oxygenation of the
GI tract, the small intestine included. This means improved absorption
diet nutrients. In addition, better body oxygenation improves work and
efficiency of the immune system and organs of elimination (kidneys,
liver, colons and
skin) and reduces self-pollution (due to infections, inflammation, and
generations of free radicals due to hypoxia). Hence, easier breathing
improves use and
retention of useful vital nutrients and reduces excretion of these
urine and feces. This allows to reduce nutrients intake.
Therefore, once the student has large CPs (about 60 s or
more), the needs in many minerals, vitamins, etc. are
significantly smaller. Later, the student may find his or her new
optimum level of supplementation using a similar 5-day or one-week
experience has revealed that even high CP people (over 50 s MCP) often
require small supplementation in Ca-Mg-Zn, e.g. a tablet or capsule per
During the first years of life, the human organism adapts to
environmental conditions, including diet, types of foods, presence and
of essential nutrients and many other factors. The human organism has
bio-feedback mechanisms in order to preserve certain various nutrients
in case of
lowered nutrients intake. It would be logical to expect that these
formative years should
have some effect on the efficiency of absorption and retention
Hence, optimum amounts of supplements are individual and should be
chosen according to
the following idea.
Use such a minimum amount of the particular
nutrient, so that to achieve
maximum improvements in your CP, heart rate and bodily symptoms.
If the student increases the dose, but there are no changes, then there
is no need to use more since there
are no further improvements in breathing.
Warning. Most mineral supplements use cellulose as a
binding agent to form a tablet. However, there are many people who can
experience severe problems during night sleep due to cellulose consumed
during the previous day. The most common adverse effect is waking up at
about 3 am and inability to sleep for the next two hours. This severely
undermines circadian cycles and can cause low CPs. If this is the case with
you, find Ca-Mg-Zn supplements that do not have microcrystalline or any
other forms of cellulose. This effect is also described in the
Good Sleep Hygiene Guide in the section
devoted to allergies.
If you try a certain supplement for 3 days and there is no
your symptoms and parameters, do not waste your money for this
supplement (fish oil, or calcium, or magnesium, or zinc). For example,
it is known
that some people can utilize essential fatty acids from nuts and seeds
when these students try fish oil, they do not notice any changes.
there is no need for them to use fish oil or cod liver oil. Meanwhile,
people will benefit from having daily cod liver oil supplementation as
been proven by many studies.
What about minerals? Most students will experience better
health, if they
try Ca-Mg-Zn. It is difficult to get these minerals, especially Mg and
even while eating large amounts of vegetables, fruits, nuts and other
wholesome foods. Modern agriculture is not concerned and does not
farmers and producers to grow the products with high-mineral or
content. Foods are usually valued by their look, taste and occasionally
During this experimentation with supplements, remember that
the key to better health remains in
breathing, and other things, while being important or even necessary
or vitamins in diet), remain only auxiliary in relation to breathing.
Otherwise, use of supplements may result in the possible shift in
(“Aha! We are treated with fish oil!”), with the erroneous belief that
it is not
normalization of breathing, but, for example, some supplements, that
Another practical aspect relates to
antagonistic effects of some minerals in relation to each other.
Consider calcium and magnesium absorption. When one nutrient, e.g.
magnesium, is missing
and a student starts supplementation with magnesium only, the student
notice quick improvements. (When a therapeutic dose of the missing
mineral, Ca or
Mg, is provided, it takes about 2 hours to experience improvements in
parameters and symptoms.) However, continuous supplementation with Mg
naturally result in lowered Ca absorption since they are absorbed using
through the same ion channels in the mucosal surface of the intestines.
Mg supplementation can cause Ca deficiency symptoms some 3-5 days
For these reasons, Ca and Mg supplements
are usually combined in one pill or tablet with about 2:1 ratio (twice
more Ca than Mg). Such ratio is optimum for most people. However, due
individual variability, the needs of various people differ. It would
experimentation (up to weeks) and recording CP, heart rate and other
symptoms to find
out the minimum dosages and optimum ratios in order to achieve maximum
Most people with low CPs (e.g., 10-20 s) often
find 2:1 ratios and full dose supplementation (about 1,000 mg of Ca and
about 500 mg of Mg every day) optimum. Other students prefer 1:1 ratio.
more rare cases, the best benefits are obtained when only taking Mg
if dairy products are frequently consumed) or only Ca.
Similarly, taking too much zinc (e.g.,
50-100 mg) can suppress or reduce absorption of copper causing copper
deficiency. (This may result in roughening of, for example, skin on the
face.) Hence, when a student takes too large amount of zinc (over 50
it is better to use a Zn supplement that has additional Cu. The typical
for copper is 2 mg daily.
Dr. Buteyko started the section
cleansing reaction in his small manual “Method of volitional
elimination of deep breathing”, with the
explanation of the main pathological mechanisms that undermine human
1. Physiological Grounds for Clearance
Deep respiration interferes with
metabolic processes in cells, causes oxygen starvation, eliminates
vital substances from the body (sodium, potassium, calcium, phosphorus)
compensate internal alkaline shifts, distorts immune reactions and
results in the
accumulation of incompletely oxidized products and substances which
come into contact with incoming protein allergens and can provoke
Deep respiration impairs the functioning
of kidneys, liver, intestines and other organs. As a result, a large
amount of metabolites is accumulated in the organism, i.e. incompletely
products, waste salts, residual drugs, toxins which cause focal
infections, elevate the blood cholesterol and enhance calcium and
depositions in joints and blood vessels etc.
With the liquidation of deep respiration
the metabolic processes become normal improving the excretory functions
and clearing the body of harmful products…. [end of quote]
He obviously claims that elimination or
deficiency in essential minerals causes abnormal immune reactions and
accumulation of free radicals and other toxic substances in the body.
In the practical section (the last part of his manual), Buteyko
following practical actions in relation to cleansing reactions:
The teacher must prepare a patient for
the reaction to occur so that the latter would not have been
frightened, convince him to continue with training and try to eliminate
symptoms by means of the VCDB method. In some cases such symptoms are
eliminated but on the contrary get more vividly expressed after the
testifies to an accelerated reaction and serves as an indication for
achieved training intensity. Yet the training must not be interrupted
the depth of respiration will grow and the clearance reaction will not
completed. If the depth of respiration returns to initial level, then
the disease will also come back. This concerns primarily such symptoms
headaches, retrosternal and other pains associated with sodium,
occasionally, with other (magnesium, calcium, phosphorus) ions deficit
which have been eliminated from the organism by deep breathing. In this
the teacher will recommend corresponding preparations: sodium chloride
teaspoonful), potassium (1 g), magnesium sulfate (2 g) per glass of
water (drink in little swallows until the symptoms disappear or become
weaker), a teaspoonful of chalk, 2-3 tablets of calcium
glycerophosphate (chew to
crushes) etc. …
It becomes clear here that essential minerals play a central
role in the reduction of severity of the
cleansing reaction. Furthermore, many other Russian Buteyko sources
other Russian MDs practicing the Buteyko method) speak about the
(early signs of the cleaning reaction). In this Buteyko manual, they
discussed in Part 2: Precursors of a Clearance Reaction.
What happens in the human body at these
times? Why does the human organism require a certain time to start the
cleansing reaction? Surely, in the case of deficiency of the main
minerals, the human body will try to accumulate the required minerals
in order to
initiate the cleansing reaction that requires minerals in order to
products out of the human organism.
Hence, there are certain in-built
physiological and biochemical mechanisms that are able to borrow
required minerals from their main use in current physiological
processes so that
to eliminate harmful substances. This is done even in cases of limited
insufficient supply of nutrients and with increased temporary
deficiency in these minerals.
It is also known that Russians did not
teach testing and use of supplements of essential macro-minerals during
breathing retraining. Taking supplemented minerals, for historical and
cultural reasons, has not been popular in the USSR.
There are four macro-minerals (sodium, potassium, calcium, and
magnesium) which are required for the human body on the daily basis
since they are
water-soluble. Sodium can be obtained with regular consumption of sea
is abundant in vegetables, grains, nuts, legumes, and seeds. Hence,
the clearing reaction, one can use extra sea salt and eat more cooked
vegetables. (People with low CPs, even those who have good digestion,
usually do not have enough
patience to chew raw foods very well, as it is required. Hence, eating
cooked vegetables for less than 20 s CP is a sensible option.).
It is suggested here that cleansing
reaction can be avoided or almost nullified when the student takes
sufficient doses of Ca, Zn and Mg with a reasonable diet, as well as
make steps to
prevent morning hyperventilation (this situation leads to additional
useful electrolytes due to large blood pH fluctuations).
Moreover, presence of normal amounts of
required nutrients greatly assist breathing normalization, as we are
going to discuss below.
There are several other diet nutrients and
substances that can be beneficial for health and breathing improvement,
particularly, when the CP is about 30 s and more. Further information
will be available either online or in books and manuals.
During the cleansing reaction there are many abnormal changes
and unusual physiological processes (see sections
7.11 and 7.12). These processes often create additional demands in four
macro-minerals: potassium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Without
sufficient supply of these electrolytes, normalization of breathing is
Therefore, it is necessary to recognize these deficiencies (by
observing the signs and symptoms of the patient) and timely correct
them as soon as
possible. The information given below is intended to facilitate this
unmasking of deficiencies for quick recovery. Please, note that the
used by Russian Buteyko doctors was about 1 g for all these minerals.
the signs of deficiencies are individual and in many cases only blood
analysis can conclusively define a particular deficiency.
- about 140 g in the normal human body
- comprises 5% of the total mineral weight
- over 95 percent of the total body's potassium is in cells.
Potassium is crucial for having normal:
- water balance and distribution
- muscle and nerve cells functions (in conjunction with Ca and Mg)
- heart, kidney and adrenal functions
- conversion of blood sugar into glycogen
- regulation of blood pressure.
Some facts about potassium:
- is the main electrolyte to keep the cells alkaline
- reduces free radical formation
- activates a number of enzymes, particularly those concerned with
- stimulates normal movements of the intestinal tract
- used in medicine for treatment of high blood pressure and heart
- the levels are regulated by the kidneys
- primarily excreted by kidneys through the urine (especially as a
result of acute hyperventilation)
- easily lost by sweating, diarrhea (since digestive juices are not
properly absorbed in the lower gut), frequent colonic irrigations,
during prolonged fasting, due to polyuria and consuming aspirin,
laxatives, alcohol, caffeine, and sugar
- often deficient in elderly, athletes and hypertensives
- should be kept in proportion to sodium (this ratio is very
for modern salt-rich and acid diets).
- mild deficiency signs and symptoms include: muscle weakness,
abdominal distension, abnormal posture, fatigue, mental confusion,
irritability, heart disturbances, and problems in nerve conduction and
muscle contraction (some people experience palpitations, others find
they are not processing information quickly, etc.)
- severe deficiency signs and symptoms include: vomiting, acute
muscular weakness, paralysis, pins and needles, loss of appetite, low
blood pressure, intense thirst, drowsiness, concussion, and eventually
- usually, extremely safe; however, individuals taking potassium
retention drugs, with dehydration or kidney disorders often need to
restrict their potassium intake.
- about 70 g in the normal human body
- about 40% of the body’s sodium is contained in bone, approximately
2-5% occurs within organs and cells and the remaining 55% is in blood
plasma and other extra cellular fluids
- comprises about 45% of the total electrolyte concentration and about
90% of the total extra cellular osmotically active solute
- 40% of table salt.
Sodium is crucial for having normal:
- water balance in the body and blood pH
- digestion, nerve function, and muscle contractions.
Some facts about sodium:
- easily absorbed in the small intestine and stomach
- lost with diarrhea, vomiting or excessive sweating
- baking soda is used intravenously to treat metabolic and respiratory
acidosis, excessive potassium levels and to produce alkaline urine.
- optimal health requires a potassium-to-sodium ratio of about 2:1.
- excess sodium levels in the body pull water from cells and can lead
to water retention (i.e. puffy eyes, swollen feet and hands)
- can be dangerous for people with congestive heart failure, hepatic
cirrhosis, hypertension, edema, blood vessel disease, bleeding
problems, epilepsy, and kidney disease.
RDA or RNI: 1,000-3,500 mg (although 300-500 mg may suffice).
- about 1-1.5 kg in the normal human body
- 99% of all calcium is in the skeletal system
- teeth comprise about 1% of total Ca.
Calcium is crucial for having normal:
- glycogen storage (ATP component)
- muscle tone and contractions (including heart beat regulation)
- nerve relaxation and conduction
- fat digestion and blood clotting.
Some facts about calcium:
- absorbed mainly via active transport in the duodenum
- absorption rate is about 20-40% and is greatly facilitated by the
action of vitamin D, lactose, and certain amino acids
- better absorbed with food in small divided doses (e.g., 200-500 mg of
Ca with each meal)
- absorption is hampered by aluminum-containing antacids, tobacco,
alcohol, tea, coffee, oxalates, and phytates
- excreted with urine, feces, and sweat
- at risk for low calcium are: women over 45, men over 65, people who
consume alcohol, have inactive lifestyle, low calorie diet, high
protein diet, pregnant women, smokers, with lactose intolerance,
frequent use of magnesium antacids and cortisone medication.
- irritability, nervousness, insomnia, heart palpitations,
hypertension, brittle nails, loss of muscle relaxation and contraction
abilities, muscle cramps, numbness in the arms and legs, aching joints,
poor blood clotting;
- convulsions, depression and delusions at later deficiency stages.
- excessive calcium supplementation could result in kidney failure even
if you don't have kidney disease
- caution is required for people with kidney disease.
- about 22-26 g in the average 70 kg adult body
- about 65% of it is in the bones and teeth
Magnesium is crucial for having normal:
- synthesis of proteins and other vital substances, since magnesium is
a cofactor in more than 300 enzymatic reactions (many of which
contribute to the production of energy, and are involved in
- muscular relaxation and tone of the intestines.
Some facts about magnesium:
- most magnesium is inside the cells
- needs can be individual and different.
- hypertension, numerous and various heart problems, premenstrual
syndrome or menstrual cramps, tetany (sustained contractions and
convulsions), insomnia, anxieties, chronic constipation, and
hyperactivity (particularly with children).
- frequent and excessive use of magnesium supplements can eventually
trigger a number of medical problems resulting from other minerals
(such as calcium, sodium, iron, or potassium) getting out of balance.