Causes of Free Radicals and Oxidative Stress | Oxygen in Cells and CO2: Top Antioxidants By Dr. Artour Rakhimov, Alternative Health Educator and Author - Last updated on August 9, 2018
thinking about good health and prevention of damage due to
free radical production,
many modern people are obsessed with foods and diets. Meanwhile,
virtually all sick people would still have poor health and abnormally high
concentrations of free radicals species (or reactive oxygen species)
even if they boost their intake of herbs, supplements and superfoods extra rich
in antioxidants. Why? This is because they generate free radicals 24/7 and
especially during early morning hours due to tissue hypoxia.
You cannot have cancer, or heart disease, or diabetes and normal oxygen
levels at the same time. Cell hypoxia is the main cause of
free radical generation and oxidative stress. Humans need oxygen
in cells, not free unbounded oxygen that can be pumped in the
blood using hyperbaric oxygen therapies. (Right oxygen is delivered due to
normal oxygen transport.)
Severely and moderately sick people and most modern
people, can consume pounds of antioxidants,
drink canisters of super juices and eat tons of best foods, but if their
automatic breathing pattern is unchanged, they will suffer from the same
symptoms, pains, and aches. What is wrong with their breathing?
If you open the Homepage of this site, you will see tables and graphs related to over 100 clinical studies that measured breathing in different groups of people. This solid scientific evidence tells us a clear story about causes of free radicals and poor health of modern people, as well as people with chronic diseases.
Average minute ventilation in modern "normal subjects" is about 12 L/min and
they have only about 20 seconds for the body-oxygen test (see the Homepage and links below for studies) with less than 20 s for the morning CP (Control Pause).
Therefore, people generate free radicals "naturally". Let us now prove that abnormal breathing is the most powerful source
of free radicals and oxidative stress in modern, especially sick, people.
CO2 and Cellular O2 are Best Natural Antioxidants
arterial levels of CO2 have antioxidant properties.
Indeed, a group of Russian microbiologists discovered that "CO2 at a
tension close to that observed in the blood (37.0 mm Hg) and high
tensions (60 or 146 mm Hg) is a potent inhibitor of generation of the
active oxygen forms (free radicals) by the cells and mitochondria of
the human and tissues" (Kogan et al, 1997). They suggested several
independent mechanisms involving inhibition of the NADPH-oxidase
activity (Kogan et al, 1997; Kogan et al, 1996), better coordination of
oxidation and phosphorylation and increased the phosphorylation velocity in liver mitochondria (Boljevic et al, 1996).
Czech scientists from the Department of Medical Chemistry and Biochemistry of the Faculty of
Medicine (Charles University, Center for Experimental Cardiovascular
Research, Prague) published an article in the Physiological Research Journal with the title "The role of carbon dioxide in free radical reactions of the organism" (Vesel & Wilhelm, 2002). They discovered several mechanisms to explain the
protective antioxidant role of CO2 against free radical damage (see the abstract
and the link to the study below).
This is sensible since hypocapnia or over breathing reduces oxygen levels
in body cells (see the image of the brain).
Ineffective breathing: the key cause of free radical damage
of studies have shown that modern "normal subjects" breathe about 12 L/min at rest, while the
medical norm is only 6 L/min. As result, blood CO2 levels is less than
normal. Arterial hypocapnia (CO2 deficiency) causes tissue hypoxia that
triggers numerous pathological effects (see links with medical studies below).
There are additional adverse biochemical effects related to mouth
breathing and chest breathing that also promote free radical damage and
most modern people, there is a certain time of the day when they have the lowest
levels of oxygen in the brain and body cells. This is also the time when
people generate most free radicals.
Sleep and free radical generation
Most people feel the worst or
most miserable in the
morning. Furthermore, as mentioned above, severely sick, critically ill (due to heart
attacks, seizures, acute asthma, strokes, etc.) and hospitalized
patients are most likely to have acute episodes or even die
during early morning hours (see medical research on web page
Sleep Heavy Breathing Effect). The
key reason for all these abnormalities is a low body oxygen level due to
overbreathing with contributions of chest/mouth breathing.
What are the effects? Hypoxic cells switch to anaerobic
respiration and start producing lactic acid and other incompletely
oxidized chemicals or free radicals causing cellular stress and intensifying
While many people are concerned with free radicals in foods, water, and
air, generally sick and severely people do not eat or drink anything during
or just before night sleep. How do they cause oxidative stress then? They get free radicals and free radical damage due to
their low oxygen levels in the body caused by heavy breathing and low levels of CO2 in the lungs.
175 medical doctors practicing the Buteyko breathing technique suggested that
there are 2 thresholds for the body-oxygen test in relation to free radical generation:
- less than X seconds for the body-oxygen test (moderate degrees of chronic diseases)
- less than Y seconds (severe forms of chronic diseases).
Both these numbers X and Y are provided below as your bonus content.
Therefore, taking care about light and easy breathing 24/7 (and high body
oxygen levels), especially during early morning
hours, is a much smarter step to prevent
free radical damage and increase body antioxidant defenses than to
worry about diets, "natural" supplements and pills.
Related web pages:
- CO2: Cell Oxygen Levels are
controlled by alveolar CO2 and breathing. Hyperventilation, regardless
of the arterial CO2 changes, causes alveolar hypocapnia, which leads to
(low cell oxygen concentrations).
- CO2 and Chronic Inflammation
- Hypocapnia caused by hyperventilation leads to hypoxia that promotes chronic
Veselá A, Wilhelm J., The role of carbon dioxide in free radical reactions of the organism, Physiol Res. 2002;51(4):335-9.
Kogan AKh, Grachev SV, Eliseeva SV, Bolevich S., [Carbon dioxide--a universal inhibitor of the generation of active oxygen forms [free radicals] by cells (deciphering one enigma of evolution)], Izv Akad Nauk Ser Biol. 1997 Mar-Apr;(2):204-17.
Kogan AKh, Grachev SV, Eliseeva SV, Bolevich S., [Ability of carbon dioxide to inhibit generation of superoxide anion radical in cells and its biomedical role], Vopr Med Khim. 1996 Jul-Sep;42(3):193-202.
Boljevic S, Kogan AH, Gracev SV, Jelisejeva SV, Daniljak IG., [Carbon dioxide inhibits the generation of active forms of oxygen in human and animal cells and the significance of the phenomenon in biology and medicine], Vojnosanit Pregl. 1996 Jul-Aug;53(4):261-74.
Daniliak IG, Kogan AKh, Sumarokov AV, Bolevich S., [Changes in the sensitivity of leukocytes to the inhibiting effect of CO2 on their generation of active forms of oxygen in bronchial asthma patients], Ter Arkh. 1995;67(3):23-6.
Kogan AKh, Bolevich S, Daniliak IG., [Comparative study of the effect of carbon dioxide on the generation of active forms of oxygen by leukocytes in health and in bronchial asthma], Patol Fiziol Eksp Ter. 1995 Jul-Sep;(3):34-40.
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