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    How To Use Your Breath To Prevent Disease

    enJanuary 23, 2023

    About this Episode

    This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, InsideTracker, and Pendulum.


    Of all the things we do each day, breathing is arguably the most important. While breathing’s most important job is to literally keep us alive, breathing can help in many more ways than just survival, including activating your parasympathetic nervous system, which helps slow your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.


    In today’s episode, I talk with James Nestor, Dr. Louis Ignarro, Wim Hof, and Dr. Jim Gordon about using breathing to support your health.


    James Nestor is an author and journalist who has written for Scientific American, Outside, The New York Times, and more. His latest book, Breath: The New Science of a Lost Art, was an instant New York Times bestseller. Breath explores how the human species has lost the ability to breathe properly—and how we can get it back.


    Dr. Louis Ignarro is a medical research scientist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his breakthrough discovery of nitric oxide and how it positively impacts health and longevity. His groundbreaking research on nitric oxide paved the way for—among other innovations—Viagra. He is an award-winning Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Molecular & Medical Pharmacology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and has his PhD in pharmacology.


    Wim Hof, also known as “The Iceman,” holds multiple world records for his feats of endurance and exposure to cold. He is the author of The Wim Hof Method: Activate Your Full Human Potential. The benefits of Wim’s method, now practiced by tens of thousands, have been validated by eight university research studies.


    Dr. James Gordon, author of Transforming Trauma: The Path to Hope and Healing, is a Harvard-educated psychiatrist and the founder and CEO of the nonprofit Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, DC. He is a clinical professor at Georgetown Medical School and was chairman (under Presidents Clinton and G.W. Bush) of the White House Commission on Complementary and Alternative Medicine Policy.


    This episode is brought to you by Rupa Health, InsideTracker, and Pendulum. 


    Rupa Health is a place where Functional Medicine practitioners can access more than 2,000 specialty lab tests from over 20 labs. You can check out a free, live demo with a Q&A or create an account at RupaHealth.com.


    Right now InsideTracker is offering my community 20% off at insidetracker.com/drhyman.


    To receive 20% off your first Pendulum purchase, go to Pendulumlife.com and use code HYMAN.


    Full-length episodes of these interviews can be found here:

    James Nestor

    Dr. Louis Ignarro

    Wim Hof

    Dr. Jim Gordon




    Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.


    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Our breathing patterns impact our overall health and can be measured using wearable technology. Nose breathing is better than mouth breathing for filtering out airborne bacteria and viruses. Practicing breathing techniques can positively impact our mental and physical health, immune function, and athletic performance.
    • Breathing through your nose filters, warms, and moistens air, and produces nitric oxide which fights bacteria and inflammation. Mouth breathing can make you sick and cause health and facial structure damage. Encouraging nose breathing may be helpful.
    • Taping your mouth shut at night can help you breathe through your nose, improving your overall health. Try using micropore tape by 3M for a gentle adhesive, but it may not work for severe sleep apnea.
    • Breathing through your nose while sleeping, working out, or even sitting at your desk has significant health benefits, including maintaining a healthy pH balance in your mouth, reducing the risk of cavities and periodontal disease, and producing nitric oxide to relax your airways. Try using sleep tape to help maintain nasal breathing at night.
    • Breathing through your nose can increase airflow and blood flow while also protecting the lungs with the antimicrobial effects of nitric oxide. Deep breathing and controlling your breath can also activate the adrenal response to decrease stress.
    • Deep breathing techniques can help to alkalize the body, activate the adrenal axis, and reduce inflammation caused by cytokines - all of which can fortify the body against COVID-19. Practicing these techniques regularly can improve mood and overall well-being.
    • Just 20 minutes of deep breathing per day can lower stress, improve brain function, and even boost immunity against viruses. Soft belly breathing activates the vagus nerve, calming the fight or flight response and decreasing fear and anger in the brain.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    Understanding How Breathing Affects Our Mental and Physical Health, Immune Function, and Athletic Performance

    Breathing is an unconscious activity that we do about 25,000 times a day, but how we breathe is critically important to our overall health. We get most of our energy from the air we breathe, and breathing practices have been around for at least 5,000 years. Ancient cultures understood our breathing as a medicine. Through wearable technology, we can objectively measure the benefits of changing our breathing patterns for just a few minutes. Nose breathing is better than mouth breathing because it allows us to filter out airborne bacteria and viruses. Practicing breathing techniques can significantly impact our mental and physical health, immune function, and athletic performance.

    The Benefits of Breathing Through Your Nose

    Breathing through your nose is important because it filters and heats up the air, moistens it, and produces nitric oxide, which helps kill viruses and bacteria, fights inflammation, and dilates blood vessels. Mouth breathing wears you down and can make you sick, especially in polluted environments. There have been clinical trials giving nitric oxide to severe COVID-19 patients, and even humming can increase nitric oxide 15-fold. Using mouth tape at night to encourage nose breathing may be worth exploring. Animal studies show that mouth breathing can cause health and facial structure damage, and a human study at Stanford University found that mouth breathing for just 10 days can have negative effects.

    How Mouth Taping Can Improve Your Health

    Mouth breathing can cause extreme fatigue, high blood pressure, snoring, and sleep apnea. Nasal breathing is better for our health, and taping our mouth shut at night can help us breathe through our nose. There are many types of tape available, but micropore tape by 3M is a good option with a light adhesive for sensitive skin. Taping our mouth shut at night can be a free and easy hack to improve our breathing and overall health, but it may not work for everyone with severe sleep apnea.

    The Surprising Benefits of Nasal Breathing for Overall Health and Well-being

    It is the important to breathe through your nose, especially while sleeping, as it contributes to overall health and well-being. Breathing through your nose helps maintain a healthy pH balance in your mouth and reduces the risk of cavities and periodontal disease. You can use sleep tape to help maintain nasal breathing during the night. Additionally, nasal breathing while working out, practicing breathing techniques, or even just sitting at your desk can have significant health benefits. Finally, breathing through your nose helps produce nitric oxide, which relaxes your airways, providing further benefits to your health.

    Nitric oxide and its effects on respiratory and overall health

    Breathing through your nose allows nitric oxide to enter your lungs and widen the bronchial, increasing airflow and dilating pulmonary arteries to increase blood flow for oxygen exchange. Nitric oxide also has antimicrobial effects, killing bacteria, parasites, and certain viruses to protect the lungs from damage. Deep breathing can increase nitric oxide production, but it is important to inhale through the nose whenever possible to fully enjoy these benefits. Exhaling through the mouth slowly during practices such as yoga can also allow more time for nitric oxide to build up, promoting a healthier respiratory system. Controlling and manipulating your breath can also activate the adrenal response, helping to protect against emotional, mental, and physical stress.

    Boost Your Immunity with Breathwork: A Powerful Ally Against COVID-19

    Breathing techniques can be used to fortify the body against coronavirus by reducing inflammation caused by cytokines. These techniques involve taking deep breaths, exhaling and holding the breath for a minute or two, and then repeating the process. This helps to alkalize the body and activate the adrenal axis, which eliminates any harmful substances in the body, such as cytokines. The technique also helps to detoxify the body and regulate mood, making people feel better and more in control. Practicing this technique regularly can help to regulate the body's response to inflammation, which is crucial in fighting off illnesses like coronavirus.

    The Power of Breathing Exercises for Physical and Mental Health

    Breathing exercises can have a positive impact on our physical and mental health. Just 20 minutes a day of deep breathing can lower stress, improve brain function, even fight off viruses like COVID-19. One technique is soft belly breathing. Close your eyes, breathe deeply in through your nose and out through your mouth, while focusing on the feeling of your belly being relaxed. This activates the vagus nerve, which helps to calm the fight or flight response and decrease activity in the amygdala, the center of fear and anger in the brain. All you need is a few minutes a day to start reaping the benefits.

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