Dr. Ray Peat says, “Breathing too much oxygen displaces too much carbon dioxide, provoking an increase in lactic acid; too much lactate displaces both oxygen and carbon dioxide. Lactate itself tends to suppress respiration. Oxygen toxicity and hyperventilation create a systemic deficiency of carbon dioxide. It is this carbon dioxide deficiency that makes breathing more difficult in pure oxygen, that impairs the heart’s ability to work, and that increases the resistance of blood vessels, impairing circulation and oxygen delivery to tissues. In conditions that permit greater carbon dioxide retention, circulation is improved, and the heart works more effectively. Carbon dioxide inhibits the production of lactic acid, and lactic acid lowers carbon dioxide’s concentration in a variety of ways.”
Carbon dioxide is a nutrient as well as a product of respiration and energy production in the cells and its lack or deficiency is of itself a starting point for different disturbances in the body. Carbon dioxide has many protective functions including increasing Krebs cycle activity, which is the key to health and the greatest way of avoiding cancer, which happens when Krebs cycle activity slows down in the mitochondria. This is one of the principle reasons that bicarbonates are such important medicines for cancer patients for they increase the amount of CO2 reaching the mitochondria.
CO2inhibits toxic damage to proteins. Carbon dioxide is a harmless, colorless, non-toxic, natural gas that is the key link in the carbon cycle of life. Increasing carbon dioxide inhibits lactic acid formation thus helps control systemic acidification, which decreases oxygen utilization. CO2 has been found to lead to the better coordination of oxidation and phosphorylation and increased the phosphorylation velocity in liver mitochondria.
People who live at very high altitudes live significantly longer;
they have a lower incidence of cancer (Weinberg, et al., 1987)
and heart disease (Mortimer, et al., 1977), and other
degenerative conditions, than people who live near sea level.
“The end product of respiration is carbon dioxide, and it is an essential component of the life process. The ability to produce and retain enough carbon dioxide is as important for longevity as the ability to conserve enough heat to allow chemical reactions to occur as needed. Carbon dioxide protects cells in many ways. By bonding to amino groups, it can inhibit the glycation of proteins during oxidative stress, and it can limit the formation of free radicals in the blood; inhibition of xanthine oxidase is one mechanism (Shibata, et al., 1998). It can reduce inflammation caused by endotoxin/LPS, by lowering the formation of tumor necrosis factor, IL-8 and other promoters of inflammation (Shimotakahara, et al., 2008). It protects mitochondria (Lavani, et al., 2007), maintaining (or even increasing) their ability to respire during stress,” writes Dr. Ray Peat.
“The suppression of mitochondrial respiration increases the production of toxic free radicals, and the decreased carbon dioxide makes the proteins more susceptible to attack by free radicals. The presence of carbon dioxide is an indicator of proper mitochondrial respiratory functioning. In every type of tissue, it is the failure to oxidize glucose that produces oxidative stress and cellular damage,” Dr. Ray Peat says, and then concludes, “A focus on correcting the respiratory defect would be relevant for all diseases and conditions (including heart disease, diabetes, dementia) involving inflammation and inappropriate excitation, not just for cancer. Carbon dioxide has a stabilizing effect on cells, preserving stem cells, limiting stress and preventing loss of function.”
Over the oxygen supply of the body carbon
dioxide spreads its protecting wings.
Swiss physiologist, 1885
Without enough oxygen, the electron transport chain becomes jammed with electrons. Consequently, NAD cannot be produced, thereby causing glycolysis to produce lactic acid instead of pyruvate, which is a necessary component of the Krebs Cycle.
In general, we tend to assume that cancer cells are generating energy using glycolysis rather than mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation, and that the mitochondria are dysfunctional. Advances in research techniques have shown the mitochondria in cancer cells to be at least partially functional across a range of tumour types. However, different tumour populations have different bioenergetic alterations in order to meet their high energy requirement meaning the Warburg effect is not consistent across all cancer types.
 Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide, abbreviated NAD+, is acoenzyme found in all living cells. The compound is a dinucleotide, since it consists of two nucleotides joined through their phosphate groups. One nucleotide contains an adenine base and the other nicotinamide. In metabolism, NAD+ is involved in redox reactions, carrying electrons from one reaction to another. The coenzyme is, therefore, found in two forms in cells: NAD+ is an oxidizing agent – it accepts electrons from other molecules and becomes reduced. This reaction forms NADH, which can then be used as a reducing agent to donate electrons.
Normal arterial levels of CO2 have antioxidant properties. Indeed, a group of Russian microbiologists discovered that "CO2 at a tension close to that observed in the blood (37.0 mm Hg) and high tensions (60 or 146 mm Hg) is a potent inhibitor of generation of the active oxygen forms (free radicals) by the cells and mitochondria of the human and tissues" (Kogan et al, 1997).
As we have seen arterial hypocapnia (CO2 deficiency) causes tissue hypoxia that trigger numerous pathological effects. Cell hypoxia is the main cause of free radical generation and oxidative stress and CO2 deficiency in the blood is one of the main causes of hypoxia (low oxygen).
Having a normal level of CO2 in the lungs and arterial blood (40 mm Hg or about 5.3% at sea level) is imperative for normal health. Do modern people have normal CO2 levels? When reading the table below note that levels of CO2 in the lungs are inversely proportional to minute ventilation rates, in other words, the more air one breaths the lower the level of alveolar CO2.
Dozens of studies have shown that modern "normal subjects" breathe about 12 L/min at rest, while the medical norm is only 6 L/min. As result, blood CO2 levels is less than normal.
Dr. Artour Rakhimov writes, “The minus 4-th and -5th degrees of health in the above chart corresponds to patients whose life is not threatened at the moment, but their main concern are symptoms. People with mild asthma, heart disease, diabetes, initial stages of cancer, and many other chronic disorders are all in this zone. Taking medication is the normal feature for most of these people. As we see from the table, heart rate for these patients varies from 80 to 90 beats per minute. Breathing frequency is between 20 and 26 breaths per minute (the medical norm is 12, while doctor Buteyko’s norm is 8 breaths per minute at rest). Physical exercise is very hard, since even fast walking results in very heavy breathing through the mouth, exhaustion, and worsening of symptoms. Complains about fatigue are normal. All these symptoms are often so debilitating that they interfere with normal life and the ability to work, analyze information, care about others, etc. Living in the chronic state of anxiety due to effects of stress and being preoccupied with one’s own miserable health are normal, while efficiency and performance in various areas (science, arts, sports, etc.) are compromised. Sitting in armchairs or soft couches is the most favorite posture.”
Dr. Lynne Eldridge and many others have noted most modern adults breathe much faster than what would be considered a healthy respiratory rate. Respiratory rates in cancer and other severely ill patients are usually higher, generally about 20 breaths/min or more. Meaning the general population is driving down oxygen available to cells opening the door to increased incidences of cancer. Heavy metal and chemical toxicity of the cells further impede oxygen with nutritional deficiencies are a slam dunk that leads to cancer.
Oxygen availability to cells decreases glucose oxidation, whereas oxygen shortage consumes glucose faster in an attempt to produce ATP via the less efficient anaerobic glycolysis to lactate. This is much of the basis of oxygen therapy in cancer and a full range of other diseases because most chronically ill people, if not all, are having a hard time with both oxygen and its perfectly mated gas, carbon dioxide.
We can take some lessons from our muscles when they are worked hard. When the body has plenty of oxygen, pyruvate is shuttled to an aerobic pathway to be further broken down for more energy. But when oxygen is limited, the body temporarily converts pyruvate into lactate, which allows glucose breakdown—and thus energy production—to continue. Even in healthy athletic individuals, when we put the muscles to great challenges oxygen levels fall temporarily showing us what happens in cells when they are oxygen starved.
In cancer the change becomes permanent. Cancer cells will continue with fermentation of glucose and the production of lactate even in the presence of oxygen though there is some evidence that some cancer cells, especially young cancer cells can be reverted back to normal cells if they can be provided enough oxygen.
Lactic acid in our tissues is a cause of biological problems for many reasons principle among them is the fact that lactic acid displaces carbon dioxide. The main features of stress metabolism include increases of stress hormones, lactate, ammonia, free fatty acids, and fat synthesis, and a decrease in carbon dioxide. Lactic acid in the blood can be taken as a sign of defective respiration, since the breakdown of glucose to lactic acid increases to make up for deficient oxidative energy production.
Glucose can be metabolized into pyruvic acid, which, in the presence of oxygen, can be metabolized into carbon dioxide. Without oxygen, pyruvic acid can be converted into lactic acid. The decrease of carbon dioxide generally accompanies increased lactic acid production.
The ability of lactic acid to displace carbon dioxide is involved in the blood clotting system. It contributes to disseminated intravascular coagulation and consumption coagulopathy, and increases the tendency of red cells to aggregate, forming "blood sludge," and makes red cells more rigid, increasing the viscosity of blood and impairing circulation in the small vessels. (Schmid-Schönbein, 1981; Kobayashi, et al., 2001; Martin, et al., 2002; Yamazaki, et al., 2006.) Lactate and inflammation promote each other in a vicious cycle (Kawauchi, et al., 2008 ).
Low thyroid leads to low production of
carbon dioxide and wastage of glucose.
Dr. Ray Peat
Carbon dioxide protects cells in many ways. By bonding to amino groups, it can inhibit the glycation of proteins during oxidative stress, and it can limit the formation of free radicals in the blood; inhibition of xanthine oxidase is one mechanism (Shibata, et al., 1998). It can reduce inflammation caused by endotoxin/LPS, by lowering the formation of tumor necrosis factor, IL-8 and other promoters of inflammation (Shimotakahara, et al., 2008). CO2 protects mitochondria (Lavani, et al., 2007), maintaining (or even increasing) their ability to respire during stress.”
Carbon dioxide has a stabilizing effect on cells, preserving stem cells, limiting stress and preventing loss of function. Carbon dioxide can be used to prevent adhesions during abdominal surgery, and to protect the lungs during mechanical ventilation.
Enough carbon dioxide is important in preventing an exaggerated and maladaptive stress response. A deficiency of carbon dioxide (such as can be produced by hyperventilation, or by the presence of lactic acid in the blood) decreases cellular energy (as ATP and creatine phosphate) and interferes with the synthesis of proteins (including antibodies) and other cellular materials.