New medical research studies suggest that obesity has its roots in low body oxygen levels. Tissue hypoxia leads to elevated levels of HIF-1 (hypoxia inducible factor-1). This is the substance that causes insulin resistance and increased formation of adipose tissue (fat).

A team of medical doctors from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas (Texas) announced their discovery in the article "Hypoxia-inducible factor 1alpha induces fibrosis and insulin resistance in white adipose tissue" that was published in 2009 in the Molecular and Cell Biology Journal.

Also in 2009, French scientists discovered that low levels of oxygen in cells leads to reduced efficiency of insulin. Their article "Hypoxia decreases insulin signaling pathways in adipocytes" was published in Diabetes Journal.

In 2010, a team of Australian doctors at the Garvan Institute of Medical Research (Sydney) confirmed the same finding "Hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha regulates beta cell function in mouse and human islets".

All these studies are listed below. These conclusions are not very surprising since lack of oxygen in cells brings about the majority of, if not all, serious medical conditions. All of us can stay alive for approximately a month without having physical exercise and food, quite a few days without having water, but no much more than several minutes without air. It has been recognized that lowered oxygenation of cells also leads to chronic inflammation, allergies, cancer, angina pain, suppressed immune system and many other unfavorable health effects.

How could it relate to physical exercise and breathing routes? A group of about two hundred Russian medical doctors have been teaching the Buteyko breathing technique for several decades. The purpose of the technique is to increase body oxygen levels naturally by ... breathing slower and less. These doctors tested more than 200,000 patients and found that sick people have less than 20 seconds for the body oxygen test (a very special breath holding time test: done after usual exhalation and only until the first signs of stress - not for as long as possible). They have low cell oxygen due to their heavy breathing (chronic hyperventilation). Bear in mind that over 80% of modern people breathe about 2 times more than the medical norm (search the web for "hyperventilation prevalence medical research").

These doctors have found that physical exercise with mouth breathing reduces oxygen delivery to cells due to the decrease in body CO2 levels: people breathe out more CO2 than they produce due to exercise. When CO2 levels start to decrease, blood vessels shrink (spasm) and this causes lowered delivery of oxygen to cells and higher heart rates.

In contrast, physical exercise with strictly nasal breathing leads to higher arterial CO2. This causes widening of arteries and arterioles and enhanced oxygen transport to cells of all organs. Furthermore, the main benefit of exercise with nose breathing is slower and easier breathing after exercise. Slower breathing with higher CO2 also increases oxygen levels in cells for many hours after exercise.

These Russian MDs also claim that physical exercise with nose breathing is the most natural way to increase body oxygen stores. However, since obese and sick people have less than 20 s for the body oxygen test, they cannot exercise rigorously and need to start very slowly and increase the duration and intensity gradually (only 2-3 additional min for the next day).

Thousands of Russians successfully defeated obesity and lost weight with this natural lifestyle change. The patients report that exercise with nose breathing greatly reduces hunger for junk food, carbohydrates and fats.

These doctors also discovered many other simple and natural lifestyle adjustments that lead to increased oxygen content in cells and better health - see the link below.

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Hyperventilation Treatment - Details of main lifestyle factors that can either decrease and increase oxygen levels in body cells
Cause of Diabetes: Summary of medical studies related to oxygen levels and minute ventilation rates in people with diabetes
CO2 Deficiency: Very Common in Modern Man. - Hub page has hundreds of research quotes and references, graphs and charts, tables, analysis of numerous respiratory techniques, results of clinical trials and free breathing exercises, lifestyle modules and manuals, techniques, and other resources to increase cell and body oxygen levels and improve health.