Why Is Oxygen So Important For Our Bodies?

While an obvious essential when it comes to basics like breathing, why else is oxygen so important for our health and our bodies - and what does it actually do?

Scientifically speaking, oxygen is a non-metal element that is found naturally as a molecule. Each molecule is made up of two oxygen atoms and sits in a gas type state at room temperature. Without oxygen, many of the earth’s varied life forms simply wouldn’t exist.

What Does Oxygen Do For The Human Body

We know it’s important, but why is oxygen important in order for the body to function? Oxygen is brought into our bodies via breathing, and essentially provides fuel to our cells. When combined with other elements, oxygen provides things like protein and carbohydrates, and is essential when it comes to constructing replacement cells for our bodies. After all, we wear out around seven hundred billion of these cells every day, and oxygen is required to build new ones.

What Causes Low Oxygen Levels

If you’re undertaking certain physical activities like scuba diving or hiking in higher altitudes, you will (ideally) be prepared for a change in oxygen levels and access. However, there are a number of other factors that can contribute to a drop in your blood oxygen levels including. 

  • Lung conditions such as asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia or emphysema
  • Sleep apnea (impaired breathing and air access during sleep)
  • Anemia (lower number of red blood cells in the body which carry oxygen)
  • Congenital heart disease in both children and adults
  • Ongoing stress and anxiety
  • Long flights (minor oxygen deprivation)

Signs and symptoms of low oxygen in the body and in the blood (hypoxia) include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • High blood pressure
  • Purple hue of the sclera (white part of your eyes)

How Are Oxygen Levels Measured

If you have other medical conditions that are affecting your breathing, your doctor may conduct a blood test to measure the oxygen levels in your system. If you are simply curious, or aren’t showing or struggling with any major symptoms, an estimate can also be conducted by using a pulse oximeter.

This is a small electronic device that clips onto your finger and is considered to be painless and less invasive. These are relatively inexpensive, and effectively measures your oxygen saturation levels (SpO2) along with monitoring your heart rate.

Ways To Increase Your Oxygen Levels

Fresh Air - While it seems like the obvious one, our lives are increasingly urbanised - so fresh air is becoming increasingly hard to come by. Open a window, invest in some indoor plants or perhaps even try natural air purifiers like salt lamps and beeswax candles.

Exercise - Yoga and Pilates may help to reduce anxiety and keep you calm, but it also improves oxygen circulation thanks to the breathing techniques used. Physical exercise in basically any form will increase the depth of breathing and helps the body to absorb more oxygen.

Stay Hydrated - It’s important to stay hydrated, so that your body can deliver nutrients and oxygen to the vital organs and muscles. Water of course is the big one, but smoothies and fresh juices can also help - the fruits are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. 

Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber - If you’ve recently been sick, or just feel tired or sluggish, then it might be worth considering the use of a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. These increase the amount of oxygen that your blood can carries, and helps to fight infection and promote healing.

Energy Medicine - There are a wide range of holistic energy medicines available to promote cellular regeneration, and help to promote oxygen levels within the body. Frequency devices that can be used in a non-invasive fashion include Ondamed and Healy.

Now that you know why oxygen is so important for our bodies, if you would like to measure your own levels (or ways to improve them) - why not contact Anita and the team at Live Young Clinic to explore the natural options available?