Oxygen can be Dangerous but is Vital

Published on July 27, 2018

Many doctors champion the use of oxygen and its therapeutic use in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. However, it is dangerous to think of and use pure oxygen in isolation, so dangerous that if you use it without carbon dioxide it will kill you quite quickly. Higher levels of oxygen are perfectly safe if CO2 is plentiful. What makes oxygen even safer is hydrogen gas and that is why the subtitle of my Hydrogen Medicine book is Combining Oxygen with Hydrogen and CO2.

While it’s generally safe, Oxygen Therapy carries with it the risk of complications that in rare instances can be life threatening and/or result in permanent or long-term disability. Oxygen is given to millions of patients around the world every day, but too much of it can be harmful according to new Canadian research. Published in April 2018 in The Lancet, evidence presented shows supplemental oxygen, when given liberally to acutely ill patients, increases the risk of death in people with sepsis, stroke, cardiac arrest, as well as those with trauma or requiring emergency surgery.

Most people believe that oxygen therapy is harmless when sometimes it is not. These medical scientists concluded that for every 71 patients treated with excessive oxygen an additional death occurs in hospital. “What this is suggesting is that we need to move away from being too liberal with oxygen,” said the study’s lead author Dr. Derek Chu, who is a clinical fellow at McMaster University.

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The study found that supplemental use of oxygen:

Didn’t decrease any infections.

Didn’t improve a patient’s length of hospital stay.

And for those with a stroke or brain injury it didn’t improve a patient’s level of disability.

In 1947, the British military discovered that oxygen could be toxic (Oxygen Toxicity) as a result of underwater research. The same research discovered that nitrogen (78% of air) caused Nitrogen Narcosis. Oxygen toxicity is a condition resulting from the harmful effects of breathing molecular oxygen at increased partial pressures. It is also known as oxygen toxicity syndrome, oxygen intoxication, and oxygen poisoning. Severe cases can result in cell damage and death, with effects most often seen in the central nervous system, lungs and eyes.

The result of breathing increased partial pressures of oxygen is hyperoxia, an excess of oxygen in body tissues. The body is affected in different ways depending on the type of exposure. Central nervous system toxicity is caused by short exposure to high partial pressures of oxygen at greater than atmospheric pressure. Pulmonary and ocular toxicity result from longer exposure to increased oxygen levels at normal pressure. Symptoms may include disorientation, breathing problems, and vision changes such as myopia. Prolonged exposure to above-normal oxygen partial pressures, or shorter exposures to very high partial pressures, can cause oxidative damage to cell membranes, collapse of the alveoli in the lungs, retinal detachment, and seizures.

“There’s no clear consensus in North America or around the world on how to use oxygen," says Dr. Chu, meaning there is quite a bit of medical ignorance surrounding the most prescribed drug used in hospitals. Obviously, as demonstrated by all manufactures and suppliers of oxygen cylinders CO2 is always added because CO2 makes oxygen safer.

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Cardiologist John William McEvoy believes the results will lead to a reconsideration of guideline recommendations around supplemental oxygen, which in the end should always include mixing hydrogen with oxygen. McEvoy, who is an assistant professor at John Hopkins University School of Medicine said the new research will change how he administers oxygen in his own coronary care unit. “This is definitely a practice-changing study. I read very many papers and meta-analyses, and this is one of the few that I think truly should change how we think about oxygen.”

Oxygen is often administered because it’s widely believed to be safe and not considered a harmful substance. The most common reasons to give extra oxygen is for patients who are short of breath, who have lung conditions or who are oxygen deficient, he said. “It’s just common practice — traditional practice — that we give them some excess oxygen because they’re in the ICU, they’re intubated, and we don’t think it’s harmful,” McEvoy said. It is common because it should be because most seriously ill people are oxygen deficient and this goes double for cancer patients.

Oxygen is an Extremely Important Subject

Within the past several years, scientists have found that oxygen (O2) in the atmosphere has been dropping, and at higher rates than just the amount that goes into the increase of CO2 from burning fossil fuels, some 2 to 4-times as much, and accelerating since 2002-2003. Simultaneously, oxygen levels in the world’s oceans have also been falling.

Although there is much more O2 than CO2 in the atmosphere – 20.95 percent (209,460 ppm) of O2 compared with around 380 ppm of CO2 – humans, all mammals, birds, frogs, butterfly, bees, and other air-breathing life-forms depend on this high level of oxygen for their well being. In humans, failure of oxygen energy metabolism is the single most important risk factor for chronic diseases including cancer and death. ‘Oxygen deficiency’ is currently set at 19.5 percent in enclosed spaces for health and safety, below that, fainting may result.

It is not difficult to diagnose oxygen deficiency, all one needs to do is slip on an inexpensive oximeter on one’s finger to see oxygen levels in the blood. One can also simply count one’s breathing rate for the faster one breathes the more CO2 a person blows off and the lower oxygen levels will fall. When chronically ill or with cancer one will have a hard time recovering without recovering one’s oxygen levels through slower breathing and oxygen supplementation.

In my book Anti-Inflammatory Oxygen Therapy, I champion exercise with oxygen therapy (EWOT), which is safe because of the massive increase in CO2. According to the research documentation, oxygen toxicity effects do not occur with EWOT systems because they cannot produce high enough levels of oxygen for a long enough period to produce these effects. EWOT is safe but not practical for ICU, surgery or emergency rooms.

Hydrogen makes oxygen safer for several reasons. First, we need less oxygen for healing when hydrogen is present and that is illustrated by the fact that at 2000 feet below sea level divers breathe up to 96 percent hydrogen and only 4 percent oxygen. Also, hydrogen puts out the oxidative fires inherent in the body’s use of oxygen. Hydrogen turns the nastiest free radicals into water.

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Director International Medical Veritas Association
Doctor of Oriental and Pastoral Medicine

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