Nose Breathing to Improve Oxygen Uptake

The Oxygen Advantage® By Patrick McKeown

1. Nose breathing may indirectly determine arterial oxygenation

The effects were studied on lung volumes of partial (chronic) nasal obstruction, total overnight nasal occlusion with a nasal pack, and interdental wiring for 6-8 weeks. Total lung capacity, functional residual capacity, and residual volume decreased significantly with total nasal occlusion and with surgical relief of chronic nasal obstruction.

These findings imply that the resistance to expiration provided by the nose helps maintain lung volumes and so may indirectly determine arterial oxygenation.

Swift AC, Campbell IT, McKown TM. Oronasal obstruction, lung volumes, and arterial oxygenation. Lancet. 1988 Jan 16;1(8577):73-5..

2. Nose breathing increases arterial oxygen tension

Nitric oxide (NO) is released in the nasal airways in humans. During inspiration through the nose this NO will follow the airstream to the lower airways and the lungs. Nasally derived NO has been shown to increase arterial oxygen tension and reduce pulmonary vascular resistance, thereby acting as an airborne messenger.

Lundberg JO. Nitric oxide and the paranasal sinuses. Anat Rec (Hoboken).2008 Nov;(291(11)):1479-84

3. Nose performs 30 functions in human body

Dr. Maurice Cottle, who founded the American Rhinologic Society in 1954, your nose performs at least 30 functions, all of which are important supplements to the roles played by the lungs, heart, and other organs.

Timmons B.H., Ley R. Behavioral and Psychological Approaches to Breathing Disorders. 1st ed. Springer; 1994

4. Breathe Light for increased nitric oxide concentrations

Since NO is continuously released into the nasal airways the concentration will be dependent on the flow rate by which the sample is aspirated. Thus, nasal NO concentrations are higher at lower flow rates.

Lundberg J, Weitzberg E. Nasal nitric oxide in man. Thorax.1999;(54):947-952

5. Nose breathing for better health

Among the various biological properties of nitric oxide (nasal cavity) are its effects on the growth of various pathogens including bacteria, fungi, and viruses

Lundberg J, Weitzberg E. Nasal nitric oxide in man. Thorax.1999;(54):947-952

6. Importance of breathing both in and out of the nose

To determine if mucosal surface heat and water loss influence the nasal functional response to cold air, we measured nasal resistance by posterior rhinomanometry. During the challenge period, the subjects breathed either in and out of the nose or in through the nose and out through the mouth. No changes in nasal resistance developed when subjects breathed exclusively through the nose.

However, when subjects breathed in through the nose and out through the mouth, nasal resistance was increased 200% at 1 min (P less than 0.01) after the challenge and returned to baseline values by 10 min after cessation of the challenge.

Strohl KP1, Arnold JL, Decker MJ, Hoekje PL, McFadden ER. Nasal flow-resistive responses to challenge with cold dry air. J Appl Physiol (1985). 1992 Apr;72(4):1243-6.

7. The nose – improve pulmonary function

Nitric oxide (NO) has important functions in a variety of physiological and pathophysiological processes in the body, including vasoregulation, haemostasis, neurotransmission, immunity and respiration. The discovery of surprisingly high concentrations of NO in the nasal airway and paranasal sinuses has important implications for the understanding of airway physiology. The high NO levels in the nasal and paranasal airways contribute to the first line defence against microorganisms.

Furthermore, autoinhalation of nasal NO may improve pulmonary function and other remote physiological processes.

Airway physiology. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 1999 Nov 10; 119(27).

8. Nitric oxide in the nasal airway: a new dimension in otorhinolaryngology

The surprisingly high concentrations of NO in the nasal airway and paranasal sinuses has important implications for the field of otorhinolaryngology.

Am J Otolaryngol. 2001 Jan-Feb; 22(1):19-32.

9. Comparison of maximal oxygen consumption with oral and nasal breathing.

During exercise, nasal breathing causes a reduction in FEO2 (fraction of expired air that is oxygen (O2%)), indicating that on expiration the percentage of oxygen extracted from the air by the lungs is increased and an increase in FECO2, indicating an increase in the percentage of expired air that is carbon dioxide.

Morton, King, Papalia 1995 Australian Journal of Science and Medicine in Sport 27, 51-55

10. Mouth breathing: Adverse effects on facial growth, health, academics, and behavior

Nitric oxide inhaled via nasal respiration has been shown to increase oxygen exchange efficiency and increases blood oxygen uptake by 18%, while improving the lungs’ ability to absorb oxygen.

Growth & Development 2005