Mouth Respiration vs. Nose Breathing (for Mouth Breathers)
Mouth respiration effects are lower levels of oxygen, CO2 (carbon dioxide), and NO (nitric oxide) in body cells. Nose breathing treatment for a mouth breather involves slower breathing to remove the cause. If
you are a mouth breather, you need to know the following medical facts. Published-western-clinical evidence clearly proved that
mouth breathing is one of 2 immediate
leading causes of mortality in the severely sick patients with
chronic diseases. Early morning hours (from about 4 to 7 am) have the highest death
rates due to coronary-artery spasms, anginas, strokes, asthma attacks,
seizures and many other exacerbations. The relevant medical research is
considered on the web page "Sleep Heavy
This page will answer the following: Why does mouth breathing contribute to deaths? How does it undermine the health of any mouth breather? What are
the biochemical effects of mouth breathing on the health of a mouth breather?
Mouth breathers were not welcomed in the past
When seeing modern people on Western streets and in public
one may easily notice that up to 30-40% of them breathe through
their mouths when walking or even while standing or sitting. Most
people these days are mouth breathers. The same can be easily observed
during night sleep. Some decades ago mouth breathing was socially
abnormal and unacceptable. For example, one dictionary suggests that a "mouth-breather
= n. a stupid person; a moron, dolt, imbecile".
What are the confirmed
CO2-related biochemical effects of mouth respiration
CO2 is not a toxic waste gas
(see links to studies below). Research articles on respiration
often mention dead space, a physiological parameter, which is about 150-200
ml in an average adult person. Dead space is inside the nose, throat, and bronchi. This
space helps to preserve additional CO2 for the human body to invest
elsewhere. During inhalations we take CO2 enriched air from our dead space back
into the alveoli of the lungs. When the mouth is used for respiration, the dead
space volume decreases, since nasal passages are no longer a part of the
breathing route. Consequently, air exchange for mouth breathing is stronger
since air goes directly from the outside air to the
alveoli. This reduces alveolar CO2 and arterial blood CO2 concentrations. Such an
effect does not take place with nose breathing.
Furthermore, the nasal-breathing route provides more resistance for respiratory
muscles as compared to oral breathing (the route for mouth breathing is shorter
and it has a greater cross sectional area).
In their study "An
assessment of nasal functions in control of breathing" (Tanaka et al, 1988), Japanese researchers
discovered that end-tidal-CO2 concentrations were higher during nose breathing than
during oral breathing. This research study revealed that a group of
healthy volunteers had an average CO2 of about 43.7 mm Hg for nose
breathing and only around 40.6 mm Hg for oral breathing. In practice,
in terms of body oxygenation or the CP, this corresponds to 45 s and 37
s at sea level. Hence, mouth
breathing reduces oxygenation of the whole
mouth breather needs to know this short summary of immediate
negative biochemical effects of mouth breathing related to CO2:
- Reduced CO2 content in alveoli of the lungs (hypocapnia)
- Hypocapnic vasoconstriction
(constrictions of blood vessels due to CO2 deficiency)
- Suppressed Bohr effect
- Reduced oxygenation of cells and tissues of all vital organs of the human body
- Anxiety, stress,
sleeping problems and negative emotions
- Slouching and
- Biochemical stress due to cold, dry air entering into the lungs
- Biochemical stress due to dirty air (viruses, bacteria, toxic and
harmful chemicals) entering into the lungs
- Possible infections due to absence of the self-immunization effect
- Pathological effects due to suppressed nitric oxide utilization,
including vasoconstriction, decreased destruction of parasitic
organisms, viruses, and malignant cells (by inactivating their
respiratory chain enzymes) in alveoli of the lungs, inflammation in
blood vessels, disruption of normal neurotransmission, hormonal effects.
Nose breathing delivers nitric oxide to lungs, blood and cells
Normal nose breathing helps
us to use our own nitric oxide
that is generated in the sinuses. The main roles of NO and its effects
have been discovered
quite recently (in the last 20 years). Three scientists even received a Nobel
Prize for their discovery that a common drug, nitroglycerin (used by
heart patients for almost a century), is transformed into nitric oxide.
NO dilates blood vessels of heart patients, reducing their blood
pressure and heart rate. Hence, they can survive a heart attack.
This substance or gas is produced in various body tissues,
including nasal passages. As a gas, it is routinely measured in exhaled
air coming from nasal passages. Therefore, we can't utilize our own nitric
oxide, an important hormone, when we start
confirmed functions of nitric oxide are:
1. Destruction of viruses, parasitic organisms,
and malignant cells in the airways and lungs by
inactivating their respiratory chain enzymes.
2. Regulation of binding - release of O2 to
hemoglobin. This effect is similar to the CO2 function
(the Bohr effect).
3.Vasodilation of arteries and arterioles
(regulation of blood flow or perfusion of tissues).
4. Inhibitory effects of inflammation in blood
5. Hormonal effects. NO influences
secretion of hormones from several glands (adrenaline, pancreatic
enzymes, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone)
6. Neurotransmission. Memory,
sleeping, learning, feeling pain, and many other processes are possible
only with NO present (for transmission of neuronal signals).
Obviously, during mouth breathing it is not possible to
utilize one's own nitric oxide which is produced in the sinuses. The
mouth, according to Doctor Buteyko, is created by Nature for eating,
drinking, and speaking. At all other times, it should be closed.
humidification and warming of air flow due to
nasal passages are created to humidify, clean and warm the incoming flow of air
due to the layers of protective mucus. This thin layer of mucus can trap about
98-99 percent of bacteria, viruses, dust particles, and other airborne objects.
If you are an endurance athlete and an
asthmatic, you must
train mostly, or even better, only, with nasal breathing. For really
important competitions, you can use the mouth for breathing, but only if
you have no current problems with your asthma. Sport training is useful
due to its aerobic training effect. This is achievable while breathing
only through the nose, as one Australian study confirmed (Morton et al,
1995; see the abstract in the references).
A group of US doctors from the Department of Surgery, University of Chicago
even wrote an article with the title "Observations on the ability of the nose to
warm and humidify inspired air". The abstract of their study is also provided
in the references.
breathing influences on the self-immunization effect
This is another advantage of nasal breathing over mouth breathing. The thin layer
of mucus moves as a long carpet from sinuses, bronchi and other
internal surfaces towards the stomach. Therefore, objects
trapped by the mucus are discharged into the stomach, where GI enzymes
and hydrochloric acid make bacteria, viruses and fungi either dead or
Later, along the digestive conveyor, some of these pathogens (dead or
weak) can penetrate from the small intestine into the blood (due to the
intestinal permeability effect). Since these pathogens are either dead or
weakened, they can not do much harm (cannot cause infections). Moreover, they
can provide a lesson for the immune system. This is exactly how natural
auto-immunization can work with success. Medical doctors and nurses inject
vaccines with dead or weakened bacteria or viruses so as to teach and strengthen our immune response to these pathogens.
Therefore, nasal breathing creates conditions for natural
Practically, when a household member is sick (as with the flu or
cold), the still-healthy people could breathe either through their
nose, teaching their
own immune system how to deal with the pathogenic bacteria or viruses,
or through their mouth, as in mouth
breathing, allowing these pathogens to gain access, settle
and reproduce themselves in various parts of the body, causing the
Medical therapy to get rid of mouth respiration
one the key goals of the Buteyko breathing method to stop
mouth breathing and ensure nose breathing 24/7, to prevent all these
mouth breathing effects. Over 150 Soviet and Russian MDs have been using this
For many mouth breathers and sick people, quick health improvement (the initial
stage of breathing normalization) is accomplished by one change only:
learning how to breathe through the nose 24/7. Just this step alone can
make a big difference in the health of many people so that the main
symptoms are reduced and less medication is required.
Permanent solution for mouth-breathing problems
Use your will power to stop mouth breathing. If a mouth
breather suffers from a stuffy or blocked nose, or sinusitis, such
things can exist or appear only in conditions of abnormal breathing. In order
for these problems to exist, one must breathe at least 2 times more air at rest than the medical
If you have problems with mouth breathing, your goal should be to slow down
your automatic or unconscious breathing pattern so as to have over 25 seconds of body oxygen 24/7. The "Learn here"
section provides numerous breathing techniques and methods to improve
Resources and techniques for mouth breathers
There are 2 amazing resources that provide detailed instructions for mouth breathing treatment. I tested these instructions on hundreds of my students. The direct links to these resources are provided down below here as your bonus content.
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