How to Oxygenate Your Blood

By Jane Barthelemy
Our bodies were designed to live
 in a high-oxygen environment at a time when over 30% of the air we breathed was oxygen. Today, oxygen levels are 20% to 22% in most areas. OSHA law requires a minimum 19.5% in workplaces, but levels in polluted areas can be as low as 15%.

In an optimum environment, our cells are rich in oxygen, so they can be rejuvenated as we sleep. Other benefits of adequate levels of oxygen are higher energy levels, enhanced brain function, and lower stress. We can overcome fatigue, look and feel younger.

A low oxygen environment deprives the cells of essential nutrients needed for energy, cleaning out toxins and wastes. As a result our body fluids and blood can become dirty and toxic. Lack of oxygen weakens every bodily system and is the main cause of disease. It weakens the immune system, which can lead to viral infections, DNA mutations, pathogenic bacteria, inflammation, heart disease, toxic buildup in blood, and premature aging.

What are the Causes of Hypoxemia?
Low oxygen level, or hypoxemia has many causes including Anemia, Acid body pH, Lack of movement, Fatigue, Toxins, Sleep apnea, High Altitude, Respiratory ailments, Stress, and Metabolic dysfunction. Nobel Prize-winner Otto Wahrburg says:

“The primary cause of cancer is the buildup of carcinogens and other toxins within and around cells, which blocks and then damages the cellular oxygen respiration mechanism.”


Poor blood oxygenation is the #1 cause of declining health and disease.

 What Are Optimum Blood Oxygen Levels?

  • At sea level, healthy oxygen uptake should be 95% to 100%.
  • Mild Hypoxemia occurs between 90% and 94%.
  • Moderate Hypoxemia occurs between 75% and 89% O2 in blood.
  • Severe Hypoxemia below 75% results in loss of consciousness and brain damage.

High Altitude Makes a Difference
Oxygen levels in the air decrease at higher altitude. This has a significant effect on one’s blood oxygen uptake. A person may have a reading of 98% at sea level, but it may decrease to 95% at 5,000 ft. and further to 90% at 10,000 ft. Above 10,000 ft., a person may be unable to adjust to the low level of oxygen and O2 uptake may become dangerously low.

  Average Oxygen Levels at Different Altitudes

Altitude in feet Oxygen Percent Example
29,000 6.8 Mt. Everest
27,000 7.4
25,000 8.0
23,000 8.6
21,000 9.3
19,000 10.1 Kilimanjaro
17,000 10.9
15,000 11.7
13,000 12.7 Lhasa, Tibet
11,000 13.7 Bolivia
9,000 14.8 Ecuador
7,000 16.0 Santa Fe, NM
5,000 17.2 Boulder, CO
3,000 18.6 Tucson, AZ
1,000 20.1 New York
Sea level 20.9 Los Angeles

Anemia Causes Low Oxygen Levels
Normal red blood cells are full of iron, found in hemoglobin. Low iron levels are very common. In fact anemia is considered the #1 nutritional cause of hypoxemia, according to Harvard Medical School and Stanford Blood Center. To treat anemia, consume iron-rich foods such as clams, liver, sunflower seeds, nuts, beef, lamb, beans, whole grains, dark leafy greens (like spinach), and dark chocolate.


Iron binds to oxygen from the air you breathe, carries it throughout your body and releases it so it can enter your cells and tissues.

Sleep Apnea Can Cause Hypoxemia
Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) can cause low blood oxygen levels. During OSA, the tongue slips down against the back of the throat, blocking the flow of air. When the oxygen level in the brain becomes low enough, the sleeper partially awakens, the obstruction in the throat clears and the flow of air starts again, usually with a loud gasp. Chronic low levels of oxygen can lead to very serious cardiovascular problems, daytime sleepiness, depression, ADHD, and poor concentration.

sleep-apneaLeft: Normal breathing. Right: In sleep apnea the breathing passageway is blocked.

How to Improve Your Blood Oxygenation

  1. Maintain an Alkaline Body pH

There is a proportional relationship between oxygen and pH level. As the pH level lowers, the affinity of oxygen in hemoglobin molecules also decreases. Therefore as the body becomes more alkaline, more oxygen is released.

The pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral. Below 7 is acid and above 7 is alkaline. The blood, lymph and cerebral spinal fluid in the human body are designed to be slightly alkaline at a pH of 7.4. When the body is alkaline, you will stop craving addictive substances like donuts, sugar, coffee, tobacco. Hooray!

In 1931 Dr. Warburg won his first Nobel Prize for proving cancer is caused by a lack of oxygen in cells. He stated “The cause of cancer is no longer a mystery, we know it occurs whenever any cell is denied 60% of its oxygen requirements.”

Cancer, like other diseases, has countless secondary causes. But the prime cause of cancer is the replacement of the respiration of oxygen in normal body cells by a fermentation of sugar. Poor oxygenation is usually associated with a buildup of carcinogens and toxins within and around cells, which blocks and damages cellular oxygen respiration. Clumping up of blood cells slows down in the bloodstream, and restricts flow to capillaries. The cellular mitochondria become damaged by lack of oxygen, leading to unwanted cells and ill health.


“Alkaline tissues hold 20 times more oxygen than acidic tissues.” – Annelie Pompe (athlete)

  1. Diaphragmatic Breathing Optimizes Oxygen

Also called Yogic Breathing or Pranayama, Diaphragmatic breathing uses the entire lungs. We can take in much more than normal quota of oxygen and Qi, or Prana. This has been measured in laboratory tests. In a normal breath, most people inhale five hundred cubic centimeters of air, and exhale out the same. After an exhalation, the lungs are almost empty, but there is residual air in the lungs. To optimize your breathing, after the normal exhale, pull the abdomen in slightly, and you can exhale some more air.

This type of full exhalation and inhalation uses about sixteen hundred cubic centimeters. You will find that your inhale capacity will increase over time and may even double. With regular practice, you can make every breath a full one, take in more oxygen, more Qi and more Prana.

“Breath is the life of beings and so is called ‘THE LIFE OF ALL’.”
From the Upanishads

 The diaphragm is a circular horizontal muscle that connects to the rib intercostal muscles all the way around. As you inhale, put your thumbs on your back lower ribs (floating ribs). Squeeze, and notice the expansion of the air in the BACK of the lungs. Using this method, you can optimize your oxygen intake, greatly expand your breath capacity, and perhaps become a world-class opera singer. Slow, relaxed, even breaths without tension are the only way to build strength. Count or use a stopwatch. Inhale to a count of 6, hold 4, exhale 6, and repeat 6-8 times. This is recommended to do before meals, combined with mindfulness and gratitude. It relaxes the nervous system, stimulates the organs, and improves digestion.


Improve your health with 3 daily sessions of 5 minutes of Diaphragm Breathing.

  1. Stay hydrated to improve your oxygen levels. H2O is made of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Drinking enough water will help you stay hydrated and increase the oxygen in your blood. If you want to try other fluids, fresh vegetable juices and smoothies can be a good choice. Fresh fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, therefore juicing them or blending can help you absorb their benefits in a more easily digestible form. Caution: Avoid sweet fruit juices – for example from oranges, pears, grapes, mangos, and pineapple – which have a very high sugar content, and therefore increase acidity in the body.
  1. Glutathione – Known as your body’s most powerful antioxidant, glutathione is a tripeptide found in every single cell in your body. It is called “master antioxidant.”
  1. Alpha-Lipoic Acid (ALA) – Aside from its free radical scavenging abilities, this powerful antioxidant can modify gene expression to reduce inflammation. It is a potent heavy metal chelator, and the only antioxidant that can be easily transported into your brain, which offers numerous benefits for people with brain diseases, like Alzheimer’s disease. ALA can also regenerate other antioxidants, like vitamins C and E and glutathione. This means that if your body has used up these antioxidants, ALA can help regenerate them.
  1. CoQ10 (Ubiquinone) – Used by every cell in your body, it aids mitochondria during energy production. Aside from naturally protecting you from free radicals, it helps produce more energy for your cells, supports heart health, immune system, and nervous system, and anti-aging. Diseases associated with low COQ10 levels include Fibromyalgia, Post-myocardial infarction, Depression, Prader-Willi syndrome, male infertility, Peyronie’s disease, Migraines, and Parkinson’s. People under 25 can produce it, however, when you get older, you may need to take a ubiquinol supplement.
  1. Iron – You need 8 to 18 milligrams of iron daily to prevent anemia, depending on your age and sex. Meat and fish serve as great sources of iron to help you meet your goals. Oysters are very high in iron, at 5 milligrams per 6-oyster serving. A 3-ounce serving of dark-meat chicken has 1.1 milligrams of iron. An ounce of cashew nuts or a medium baked potato each offers 1.9 milligrams of iron, while 1/2 cup of kidney beans boosts your iron intake by 2 milligrams. Lentils contain an impressive amount of iron — 3.3 milligrams per 1/2 cup.
  1. Chlorophyll strengthens the blood making organs, prevents of anemia and gives the body an abundance of oxygen. Loaded with antioxidant power, chlorophyll exerts beneficial effects against cancer, insomnia, dental ailments, sinusitis, pancreatitis and kidney stones. Chlorophyll has anti-aging and anti-microbial properties and helps strengthen the immune system. Choose foods rich in chlorophyll such as dark green leafy foods like spinach, broccoli, kale, mustard greens, spirulina, chlorella and blue-green algae. Juice them for optimal results.

ChlorOxygenTry a daily dropper-full of ChlorOxygen by Herbs Etc.

  1. Vitamin B-12 or Folate – If your diet lacks folate or vitamin B-12, eating foods rich in these nutrients might boost your blood oxygen levels. Folate, also called vitamin B-9, helps your body make red blood cells — the iron-rich cells that carry oxygen in your blood. Vitamin B-12 helps you make hemoglobin, the protein that contains oxygen-carrying iron.Boost your folate intake by including citrus fruits and dark leafy greens in your diet. You can get more vitamin B-12 through meat, fish and shellfish — a single 3-ounce serving of salmon, mackerel, beef, mussels, clams or Alaskan king crab will provide all you need for the day.
  1. Baking Soda – Perhaps the first medicinal use of baking soda was written in 1924 by Arm & Hammer to treat and prevent colds and flu. They found that people who consumed baking soda in water prevented the flu and colds. Those who already had a flu or cold could take baking soda in water and their symptoms would dissipate. It is also recommended for reducing cravings for sweets or cigarettes. Dr. Mark Sircus, wrote this well-known book about the many medicinal uses of Baking Soda: Sodium Bicarbonate: Nature’s Unique First Aid Remedy.

    1/4 teaspoon of baking soda added to 1/2 glass of purified or filtered water (not tap water). This is taken once in the morning and once before bedtime. To measure your pH, get some pH strips to measure your saliva. Take the above formula this as many times each day as needed to bring your saliva pH up to at least 7.4.
  1. Vitamin A – is needed to make oxygen-carrying red blood cells. Your body constantly pumps out new red blood cells to replace old, damaged ones. If you’re deficient in vitamin A, getting more of it can boost your blood hemoglobin levels, so that blood cells can carry more oxygen. Sources of Vitamin A include dairy products, red and orange produce such as sweet potatoes, cantaloupe, mangoes, pumpkin, butternut squash, and leafy greens such as collards and kale.
  1. A Ketogenic Diet Can Increase Oxygen Uptake
    A recent study evaluated the effects of a ketogenic diet on oxygen levels. While ketogenic diets can be interpreted in many ways, this particular ketogenic diet consisted of 50% of calories from fat, 45% from protein and 5% from carbohydrates.ketogenic dietAfter three days on a ketogenic diet, subjects performed an exercise test in which they worked out at varying intensities. In comparison to subjects on the mixed diet, those on the ketogenic diet showed increased maximal oxygen consumption (oxygen taken in by the lungs per minute, an excellent predictor of overall fitness). Moreover, the ketogenic subjects showed a decreased respiratory exchange ratio, meaning more fat was burned for energy.
  1. The Budwig Diet Can Increase Oxygenation
    Johana Budwig, German physician nominated 7-times for the Nobel Prize discovered one of the best-known and most established alternative cancer treatments. Blood oxygen content can be stimulated by protein compounds of high sulphuric content, such as cottage cheese, yogurt, combined with flaxseed oil, which makes omega-3 oils water-soluble. The diet stops the spread of cancer and kills cancer cells.It has been shown that the oxygen levels in cancer cells largely determine how aggressive the cancer is at spreading. The less oxygen in the cancer cells, the more aggressive the cancer cells are at spreading.“Sulphur-rich proteins (such as those found in fermented diary products) increase oxygenation of the body. Dr. Budwig applied this discovery in clinical trials by feeding cancer patients a mixture of 3-6 Tbsps. flaxseed oil and 4 oz. (1/2 cup) low-fat cottage cheese or Quark (yogurt) daily. The mixture is most effective if the flaxseed oil and low-fat cottage are thoroughly mixed or blended. You can add pineapple or other fruit to improve the taste.” Source:
  1. Exercise, Movement, Increase Joy, Reduce Stress – Joyful movement and mindful living open the flow of blood, Qi, and oxygen to all cells. Exercise promotes mitochondrial health. Mitochondrial damage can trigger genetic mutations that contribute to disease. In fact, mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of virtually all diseases. Numerous studies show that conscious movement such as Qigong, Taichi, and Walking increase oxygen flow to all the organs, promoting optimum health.
  1. Walk an hour a day, in addition to your regular workout regimen.  Try to limit sitting to less than three hours a day, because the mere act of standing up triggers beneficial changes in your body. Avoid sitting as much as possible.

walk-walkingFor maximum benefits, aim for 7,000 to 10,000 walking steps or 3-5 miles per day. 

  1. Intermittent Fasting Improves Cellular & Mitochondrial Function
    Mitochondrial dysfunction is at the core of virtually all diseases. It is not only important WHAT you eat. But WHEN and HOW OFTEN you eat are of key importance. You can optimize your mitochondrial health by eating real high-fat food, avoiding carbohydrates, avoiding food at least 3 hours before bedtime, and practicing intermittent fasting.Fasting shifts your body from using glucose as its primary fuel to burning fat as fuel, which benefits your health way beyond weight loss. Efficient fat burning promotes health. Fat is a far cleaner burning fuel than carbohydrates and generates far less free radicals. Glucose is an inherently “dirty” fuel as it generates far more reactive oxygen species (ROS) than fat. A great deal of research is available on intermittent fasting, sometimes called TRF (Time Restricted Feeding) which promotes eating in a narrow window of time, typically 6-8 hours every day. Healthy cells can burn fat. Cancer cells cannot. This is why a healthy high-fat diet appears to be such an effective health strategy. For more information:
  1. Massage increases circulation which carries more oxygen to the individual cells of the body. Massage enhances all essential body processes by opening the passageways of liquid and energy movement within the body. It improves circulation of nerves, blood, and lymph, which provide nourishment and remove toxins. See more ideas for improving blood circulation below:


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