Breathing and weight control!

Well, the other day I was going to my bank to do a transaction when I was asked to swipe my card to confirm my pin number, I realized I lost my ATM card. In the process of talking to my banker, she asked me what I did, and I answered that I thought breathing by conserving carbon dioxide and HRV variation. This caught her attention. So I gave a little explanation given that it is carbon dioxide levels in the brain that actually regulates the breathing if we allow it, by triggering the diaphragm. Then she asks me an interesting question; can you lose weight by breathing? This intrigued me because I only have a hypothesis at this time, I answered yes, and that it was possible given what I understood of physiology.

That is, overbreathing can cause vasoconstriction to blood vessels and impede blood flow to the all of the organs of the body including the brain. As I understood it, the brain consumes about 20-25% of the body’s oxygenation and a good amount of blood sugar. If that is compromised, I suppose one could feel hunger and still have plenty blood sugar, except that the brain does not perceive it that way. Of course, there are plenty of other reasons, like hormones, exercise, sleep cycles, the types of food being eaten, etc…

Then she proceeded to tell me that she had watched an infomercial where this one lady was selling a program which she bought. It was teaching very deep breathing for minutes at time saying that you needed more oxygen to burn of the fat. Then my banker went on to explain some of signs and symptoms of overbreathing (blowing off too much carbon dioxide) like tingling in the hands, lightheadedness, dizziness, inability to focus, and was wondering if such a program would actually work, according to what I knew. Judging on her physical appearance she still seemed overweight to me, so I said I didn’t think that severe overbreathing would be that helpful for controlling weight problems if anything perhaps making it worst. Then she said she had seen on TV for many years….so the programs must have been successful, to which I said “financially” yes perhaps but the result she got, didn’t look so good. I explained that if she conserved her carbon dioxide, she might feel less hungry because there was more blood flood going to the brain and as a result she would have more blood sugar and oxygen with the right amount of carbon dioxide to regulate the blood PH. Which would help regulate cellular oxygenation. Well anyway that is my hypothesis for the moment…until I find a better one.

John Kelly RN

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