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How to Measure and Increase Whole Body and Brain Oxygen

Avatar of Dr Artour Rakhimov, Buteyko Breathing Practitioner and Master TrainerBy Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author
- Medically Reviewed by Naziliya Rakhimova, MD
- Last updated on August 9, 2018

Total brain oxygen content

Effects of over breathing on brain oxygen levels If we look at this Graph showing brain oxygen levels in one cross-section, we can notice that oxygen distribution is very inhomogeneous. The most oxygenated area is around the hypothalamus, which is also the most ancient or primitive brain present even in the simplest creatures like worms. The hypothalamus is responsible for primitive reflexes and bodily reactions, and it is generally the most active area of the whole brain. Since nerve activity requires more O2, nature provided the hypothalamus with a rich network of arteries to provide more blood (and oxygen).

In this video, Dr. Artour Rakhimov explains autoregulation and other causes that make it very difficult to measure total oxygen content in the brain and whole body.

Depending on the situation and state of the human body, certain areas of the brain, similar to the hypothalamus, can be more or less active requiring different oxygen supplies, and that explains why this graph shows inhomogeneous oxygen distribution for normal breathing and hyperventilation, which is present in over 90% of modern people.

Breathing changes during last 80 years

In addition, on a cell level, oxygen distribution among neighboring cells can also vary widely. Those cells that are adjacent to capillaries can have high O2 pressure (up to 4-5% or around 30-38 mm Hg). But more distant cells (cells can be located as far away as 3-4 cells away from the nearest blood vessel) can have only 1% or about 7.6 mm Hg for O2 partial pressure.

Therefore, it is very difficult to measure the total brain oxygen content using direct methods. Even if we make thousands of similar PET scans, and then define average oxygenation for each cross-section and then the average content for the whole brain, there is a large factor related to this cellular oxygen distribution effect.

Total oxygen content in the body

The situation with one's total body-oxygen content is even more complex. Blood flow to different organs is greatly influenced by the autoregulation effect that can change the perfusion of certain organs up to 3-4 times. Autoregulation takes place due to various bodily processes, such as digestion, sleep, exercise, adaptation to temperature changes, emotions, local and global infections, local inflammation, and many others. Therefore, the total picture is very complex and, from the purely technical viewpoint, one's total body-oxygen content is exceptionally difficult and expensive to measure.

A simple DIY test to measure whole body and total brain oxygen content

Dr. Buteyko respiratory laboratory in the 1960'sIn the 1960's, Dr. Buteyko had devices to measure body-oxygen levels and test people for low brain oxygen. He knew about the effects described above when he worked as the Manager of the Laboratory of the Functional Diagnostic in Novosibirsk (see the photo of his Laboratory from the 1960’s on the right) for first Soviet Spaceship Missions. He was also interested in finding total body-O2 content. After years of research, he stated,

"Oxygen content in the organism can be found using a simple method: after exhalation, observe, how long the person can pause their breath without stress" Dr. K. P.Buteyko, "Dr. Buteyko lecture in the Moscow State University on 9 December 1969"

This observation makes sense since, in spite of autoregulation and inhomogeneous O2 distribution, CO2 is the main factor that controls oxygen delivery and blood flow in a dose-dependent manner. For example, numerous studies proved that blood flow to various organs is linearly proportional to the arterial CO2 level. Furthermore, the clinical observations of over 180 Soviet and Russian physicians suggest that this test is simple and exceptionally valuable in order to define the current physiological state of the person, their symptoms, and requirements in medication. For only a small portion of people (about 1% or less in ordinary people and slightly more in the sick), this simple body-oxygen test is not an accurate measure for their health.

How to increase brain oxygen?

This website explains how to increase one's brain oxygen content by breathing normalization (or learning how to breathe in accordance with medical norms). One needs to address numerous lifestyle factors related to sleep, exercise, diet, stress and much more. See the Learning Section of this site for all details or start with the educational YouTube video list.

For more information about normal numbers, numbers in sick people, and the exact details of this test to measure brain and body and brain O2 content, visit the page "DIY body-oxygen test".

Related pages:
- Cell oxygen levels and brain oxygenation depend mainly on your breathing
- Oxygen extraction in lungs is linked with breathing patters: breathing slower and less increases oxygen retention rate in the body
- Ideal breathing pattern for maximum brain oxygenation: respiratory rate for automatic breathing that provides super health
- Oxygen and CO2 transport from air to cells and effects of low CO2 (overbreathing) on oxygen delivery
- Cerebral hypoxia is usually caused by hyperventilation and low CO2 levels in the lungs
- Oxygen bars and why pure oxygen is toxic.


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