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Oxygen and Its Role in Life

O2 Oxygen Background

Oxygen and Its Role in Life

Before we can talk about ozone (O3), we must talk first about oxygen (O2), from which ozone is formed. The oxygen we breath originates primarily from two places—the plankton of the sea and the new growth of forests. An oxygen molecule (the smallest amount of a chemical substance that can exist without further breaking down) is composed of two oxygen atoms, called O2.

Oxygen and Its Role in Life

Fossils encased in amber, many thousands of years old, contained bubbles which when analyzed, were found to contain 30% O2. Presently, our atmosphere contains 21% O2. In cities that are badly polluted this percentage is reportedly around 15%. Oxygen content of the air in Gary, Indiana with its steel mills and blast furnaces has been measured at 9-11 %. At 7% O2 mammalian life ceases.

Oxygen carries and ultimately stores the sun’s energy so that all life can feed on it. Oxygen is the most abundant element of the earths crust. It easily dissolves in water. Oxygen compounds form a major part of the elements in the oceans, rocks, and all living things. Oxygen makes up 65% of the elements of our body tissues such as blood, organs, tissues, and skin.

All organisms (microbes, animals, and plants) have spent countless centuries swimming and evolving in or are contained in a sea of water and oxygen. It is these two molecules, oxygen and water, which support the milieu of all the chemicals which make up all the cells held together to interact and react to create and maintain life.

The Relationship Between Oxygen and Health

Oxygen is absolutely essential for the health of cells. It removes toxins from the body and is the key element in the “combustion” of glucose molecules (the primary mammalian energy source) to produce energy in the form of ATP, the bodies primary form of stored energy at the biochemical level. When glucose is metabolized to ATP anaerobically, six ATP molecules are produced. When the same molecule of glucose is metabolized in the presence of O2, thirty eight molecules of ATP are produced.
Our personal energy can suffer from lack of exercise. The brain, comprising 2% of human body mass, requires 20% of the bodies oxygen needs. Exercise increases circulation and therefore the delivery of oxygen to cells. Many centuries ago Chinese physicians proclaimed stagnation to be the root of all ill health. It is of interest to note that the effectiveness of treatment modalities in Chinese medicine such as cupping, moxibustion, and bleeding is due to the fact that they bring increased circulation of blood and therefore increase oxygenation of tissues.
In a room full of people, we know how uncomfortable we get, and seek larger open spaces or moving air for relief from this discomfort. This discomfort is due to excessive amounts of CO2 in the air. Many temporary maladies, such as headache, fatigue, eye, nose, and throat discomfort have been shown to be caused by high CO2 levels in airplane cabins. These same symptoms promptly disappear upon departing the aircraft and breathing more oxygenated air.
In 1966 the Nobel Prize winner Otto Warburg demonstrated that the key condition for the formation of cancer is lack of oxygen at the cellular level.
Almost every virus, fungus, parasite, and many bacteria such as Lactobacilli, Campylobacter, Clostridium, and Bacteroides are facultative or strictly anaerobic—-they do not thrive in oxygenated environments. As time goes on, we are finding more and more microorganisms associated with cancer. These are bacterial, viral, and parasitic forms of life.
Water is the other basic element which contributes to stagnation and lack of oxygen. It takes adequate hydration of the body to transport oxygen, especially to the brain. Again, stagnation, which translates into lack of oxygen, is the major cause of disease.
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