Oxygen is one of the five elements required to sustain life. With every breath we take, we exchange oxygen with carbon dioxide. Oxygen that is inhaled is then distributed to provide life and energy to cells throughout the body. Oxygen has a powerful role in maintaining our health through the process of oxidation. This is a process in which the body chemically converts nutrients into energy, and rids itself of toxins. When the body is deprived of oxygen, the immune system is weakened. With an insufficient amount of oxygen to support a healthy cell, the cell turns to another source of energy. This leaves the body open to an invasion of viruses, which can lead to degenerative disease conditions.
It has been surmised that the life expectancy of mammals (such as ourselves) is in direct proportion to the ability to control free radicals. Oxygen is well known for its ability to bond with other particles that can become free radicals in our system in the process of eliminating them. By linking with carbon, we exhale carbon dioxide (CO2) By linking with Hydrogen, we create water (H2O). Some processes are more likely to produce large quantities of free radicals than others, and it is when there is either too much or too little oxygen present in a metabolic reaction that the worst situations arise. When free radicals in living tissues exceed safe levels, the result is cell destruction, which can manifest as age-related, chronic degenerative disease conditions.
What are free radicals? A free radical is the reactive part of a molecule, but a more technical description can define a free radical as merely a chemical species with an odd number of electrons or an unbalanced unpaired atom that is desperately seeking an electron to link with. Energy is released in the process, and a chain reaction of more combustion or damage continues as the highly reactive damaged molecules continue the process of grabbing electrons wherever they can.
Oxygen as a dietary supplement:
Why is it suggested that we drink 8 - eight ounce glasses of water daily? In considering that the body is four/fifths water and in reasoning that the oxygen molecule is larger than the hydrogen molecules it stands to reason that the oxygen makes up the biggest mass in water (88.9%). We can therefore surmise that one of the main benefits we receive from water is in its ability to oxygenate our body.
Oxygen is not only a life giver. It is also a killer of harmful infectious bacteria. Many cannot exist in an elevated oxygen environment. By increasing the oxygen levels in the body, we can feasibly hinder the proliferating ability of many pathogenic organisms.
The oxygen content of the air we breathe has decreased from 38% to about 20%. In major cities, the oxygen content of the air has measured as low as 10%. This means that the oxygen levels in the air we breathe has dropped about 50% or more. Scientists claim that anything under 7% oxygen in the air is too low to support human life. The decline in oxygen seems to coincide with the increase in disease. Taken orally, oxygen as a supplement provides the bloodstream with pure molecular oxygen. It is then carried straight to the cells and tissues of the body providing the valuable oxygen needed to metabolize nutrients, and oxidize the bloodstream to help rid the body of toxins.
Recently there has been a tremendous amount of activity in both research and clinical practice, which suggests that many deficiency disorders and degenerative diseases are, at least partially, attributable to oxygen metabolism dysfunction, or oxygen deficiency. In Australia an extensive 13 year study completed in 1983 measuring longevity demonstrated that the respiratory capacity was "a powerful determining variable", even more significant in predicting longevity than tobacco use, insulin metabolism or cholesterol levels. Infections use oxygen to combat bacteria, fungi and viruses. Antibiotics to counteract infection also deplete cellular oxygen since oxygen is required to metabolize them out of the system.