2019 Nobel Prize Awarded For Research on Oxygen Sensing in Cells
It has long been known that Oxygen is extremely vital to animal life. The mitochondria inside of virtually all cells require oxygen in order to convert food into vital energy. With the 1938 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, it was discovered that cells in the the caratoid body (near the cartoroid artery) senses oxygen levels and sends information to the brain to control respiratory rate. Last week, the 2019 Nobel Prize Award in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to a group of three researchers who discovered the mechanism that explains how every cell of the body is likewise able to detect the amount of oxygen present.
What implications are found in this research? According to the Press Release for the Nobel Prize, "the awarded mechanism for oxygen sensing has fundamental importance in physiology, for example for our metabolism, immune response and ability to adapt to exercise [in addition to embryonic development, altitude acclimation, and respiration]. Many pathological processes are also affected. Intensive efforts are ongoing to develop new drugs that can either inhibit or activate the oxygen-regulated machinery for treatment of anemia, cancer and other diseases [such as stroke, wound healing, infection, and myocardial infarction]."
Oxygen Worldwide lists on their website many benefits of increasing the amount of oxygen regularly found in the body. Specifically, they claim that "with increased oxygen levels the red blood cells can become fully saturated to provide their maximum potential of oxygen to our cells. Waste gases and toxins are removed more efficiently and cells can perform optimally... It generally boosts all chemical pathways in our body and we can burn more fat. We feel better, our body is healthier and we think more clearly because of increased oxygenation."
The interesting thing is that the solutions these sources give us are pharmaceutical drugs and machinery to help us breathe better. Perhaps there is a better way. What if we could be taught to breathe deeply like we never have before in our lives. Our culture naturally breathes shallow breaths throughout the day and the oxygen saturation is rarely at peak levels. In fact, we tend to hold down strong emotions of stress, anxiety, and trauma that pervade our society by holding our breath. Yogic Pranayama techniques have been teaching people for millenia how to develop a relationship with the breath and in the process, they help us increase the lung capacity and the amount of oxygen found in the blood. If you could provide numerous benefits to virtually every system of the body be learning how to breathe better, would you do it?