We all know that we need oxygen to live – duh! It seems straight forward enough: we breathe, we get oxygen, enough said. Actually, that may have been the case two hundred years ago when the oxygen content of our atmosphere was an estimated 38%, but today it is only 19%. If you live in a severely polluted city, the oxygen in the immediate atmosphere may even be as low as 12-14%!

Moreover, research indicates that we we loose about 50% of our lung capacity by the time we’re 70 which correlates to the oxygen levels in our tissues dropping to 50% or less compared to our youth.

Our diet also impacts tissue oxygen levels: overly acidic foods such as meat, carbonated drinks, coffee and alcohol create acidity, an excess of hydrogen ions, in the system. This excess of hydrogen ions depletes oxygen by combining with it to create water, leaving less oxygen for metabolism and resulting in the destruction of cellular function (Cousens, 2005).

So, if we live in a city and/or have a SAD diet, chances are we don’t get enough oxygen.

In addition, Dr. Ali (2011) believes that dysfunctional oxygen metabolism is another contributing factor in this deprivation. ‘Oxygen metabolism becomes abnormal due to cumulative and excessive oxidative stress caused by antibiotics, synthetic chemicals, undiagnosed allergies, sugar overload and anger ‘(Ali, 2011). Pretty hard to avoid these days…

Insufficient oxygen may lead to a number of health issues ranging from candida to cancer (Cousens, 2005).  Dr. Majid Ali (2011) gives the following examples of the effects of oxygen deprivation throughout our bodies:

  • immune cells: immune weaknesses;
  •  skin: cold sensitivity and poor circulation;
  •  heart and vessel walls: lightheadedness, dizziness, heart palpitations and skipped beats;
  •  skin cells: cell shrinkage and dryness of the skin;
  •  joints and muscles: stiffness and pain;
  •  pain: headache and dysmennorrhea.

Molecular biologist & geneticist Dr. Stephen Levine finds that “lack of oxygen in the tissues, is the fundamental cause for all degenerative disease”.

Author of ‘The Textbook on Medical Physiology’, Dr. Arthur Guyton, M.D., explains that all chronic pain, suffering, and diseases are caused by a lack of oxygen at the cell level

The message appears to be clear: we should increase our level of tissue oxygenation. For us, an obvious point to start is to avoid as many factors leading to oxygen deprivation as possible. Another option is to practice deep-breathing exercises and to eat better.

Foods high in iron, calcium, potassium, germanium, chlorophyll and iodine help bring oxygen into our system. Cousens (2005) provides a list of high-oxygen foods including all greens (chlorophyll!), watery fruits and vegetables, blueberries, figs, grapes, beetroot, green pepper, sea vegetables, raisins, onions, beetroot, carrots, mustard greens, parsnip, ripe olives, spinach, nuts, seeds, leeks and horseradish.

I also just came across the Oxy- Bounce or Oxygen Multi-step Therapy in Gabriel Cousens’ article ‘”Vitamin O” The Ultimate Life Force & Rejuvenation Nutrient’, which involves combining exercise with a simultaneous intake of high amounts of oxygen.

For further reading, here are some interesting quotes from the book ‘Oxygen Multistep Therapy: Physiological and Technical Foundations’ by Manfred von Ardenne.

Majid Ali also recommends hydrogen peroxide foot soaks and baths. You can find  recipes plus supporting information here.


*online references are embedded as links in the text

Cousens, G. (2005). Spiritual Nutrition (second edition). Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books