Hand washing and social distancing are basic safety measures we should all be following right now but they do not help us if we actually get COVID-19.  What we need to be talking about is what can be done to tip the scales in our favor if we actually become infected with the virus. There are simple and all natural therapies we can use to strengthen and prepare our bodies in the chance that we become infected.  But first, we need to understand some of the basic physiology of the body and the role that oxygen plays in our immune response.


Photo of a person washing their hands.

What happens to the body when we get COVID-19? 

To start, when we get the flu, COVID-19, or any severe respiratory illness, our lungs and their ability to oxygenate our bodies dramatically decreases.  This reduction in oxygenation happens early on during the incubation period, as the infection is talking hold in the lungs, and as our immune system activates and prepares for battle with the virus.

The combination of the infection, the activation of our immune system, and the mucous production that occurs in our bodies can reduce our lung’s capacity to oxygenate our bodies by as much as 50%.  This initial reduction in oxygen may be enough to get certain people into trouble and require hospitalization. Even worse, this reduced ability to oxygenate can last for up to 3 weeks and can become a huge problem for those who are elderly or have compromised immune systems. 

What role does Oxygen play in normal life?

Oxygen is needed for everything our cells do—digestion, elimination, making antibodies, repairing tissue, building hormones, and much more.  I refer to it as the cellular “currency”. The more oxygen you have the more cellular work you can do. But oxygen levels in our tissues vary greatly and these levels make or break us. 

In daily life, oxygen supply is nuanced. It’s on a continuum and most of us simply don’t get enough.  We’re not going to die today from this compromised supply, but we’re not going to thrive either. Our environment is not as oxygen rich now as in the past, we inhale extra pollutants and our bodies experience a lot more mental stress on a day-to-day basis. And if we don’t intervene intelligently, our oxygen levels fall consistently over time as we age.

Dad and son playing outside breathing oxygen.

Why is COVID-19 so dangerous for some and not for others? 

Decrease in oxygen levels is especially dangerous for the elderly and immune compromised because they are already operating at a reduced level of oxygen as their baseline.  Said another way, the main difference of you in your 20’s and you in your 70’s is the amount of oxygen in your body’s cells. And low levels of oxygen predispose us to all kinds of degenerative diseases. Any condition including cancer, heart disease, asthma, smoking, bronchitis, and more place at a disadvantage from the start.  

The worst outcomes from COVID-19 occur when our oxygen levels in our tissues reach dangerously low levels, where we cannot survive and/or our body’s stress response to the infection (although well intended) creates so much of an inflammatory reaction that it blocks the small airway passages that line our lungs.  

This vicious cycle can progress to the point that a ventilator is needed to breathe for us, to deliver higher oxygen concentrations under greater pressure, and to meet the increasing oxygen requirements of our tissues.  If people have low levels of oxygen to begin with, there is a significantly higher chance that they will get into a danger zone rapidly. And, it will take several interventions and more time to get them back to normal.

Is there anything that can be done to improve someone’s oxygen baseline?

Yes! Yes! Yes!  Anyone can improve their baseline and thus dramatically improve both the severity and duration of COVID-19 and other respiratory illnesses by using a combination of natural oxygen and other medical therapies, and even basic breathing techniques.  And the results are even better if we use them regularly before we are in trouble. 

If we can maintain higher levels of oxygen and reduce inflammation associated with our stress response system as part of our own preventive health and wellness plan, before we ever get sick, we significantly boost our chances of beating COVID-19 (and many other diseases too). This, in my opinion, is what we should be talking about.  

You can learn more about Oxygen Therapies here

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