In my expertise, anybody who engages in aggressive athletics of any type will gladly eat, drink, or put on something that can ethically improve their efficiency. Runners eat disgusting gels to boost their energy and spray themselves down with lubricants to scale back chafing. And we’ve all seen soccer gamers sucking down oxygen on the sidelines of video games. So it shouldn’t be too shocking which you could now truly purchase a can of pure oxygen at your local CVS and different shops. The claims surrounding these cans of air are tempting: Inhaling pure oxygen will enhance your endurance and power, scale back restoration occasions, ease stress, and even assist with hangovers.
The web is filled with rave evaluations from of us claiming that cans of O2 completely ship all this stuff. However we reside in superficial occasions populated by “influencers” who’re very happy to tout a product, and the psychology of the placebo impact is highly effective stuff. To determine whether or not a can of oxygen will make your exercises, traumatic days, and hangovers simpler, we flip to our outdated good friend: science.
The very first thing to learn about all that is that if you happen to’re wholesome, your physique is just about all the time getting as a lot oxygen as you want. The air we breathe is approximately 21% oxygen, and at a resting state, your pink blood cells might be someplace within the 95 to 99% vary of oxygen saturation simply respiratory that stuff in. Since you may’t have increased than 100% blood oxygen saturation, most of us are doing fairly good simply sitting on our butts, and we don’t want fancy pure oxygen to hit these numbers.
The speculation on supplemental oxygen is that whenever you exert your self, your physique begins burning up that oxygen, and your blood-oxygen ranges drop. And that is true! It’s why you breathe tougher whenever you do something requiring exertion, to get extra oxygen in. So the concept a can of oxygen will help you catch your breath and carry out tougher and longer appears to scan.
Besides that science has found zero evidence for this. Studies have proven that utilizing supplemental oxygen doesn’t improve efficiency or pace up restoration occasions in any important method. NFL gamers consider they will catch their breath barely quicker by way of a mix of getting extraordinarily sturdy cardiovascular methods and a shot of pure O2, however in actuality, it’s likely these multi-million greenback lungs and hearts and never the supplemental gasoline.
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That’s the real key here—if your body is rocking 99% blood oxygen to begin with, can it even use the extra oxygen you’re inhaling? Probably not.
So what about increasing mental sharpness, easing hangovers, and other claims about the benefits of supplemental oxygen? Mostly hot air. Hangovers, for example, are due to dehydration and your poor liver glowing red while it works to de-poison your body, they have nothing to do with blood-oxygen levels. And even if it did, the fact remains that even when you wake up with a hangover that feels like someone dropped you from a tall building the night before, you’re almost certainly at 95+% blood oxygen and won’t benefit from more.
That’s the bottom line: Anything people claim extra oxygen can help with, it probably can’t—due to the simple reason that your body already has all the oxygen it needs.
One final note: Breathing in short bursts of pure oxygen is perfectly safe, so if you want to drop a few bucks on a can of air and see what it does for you, go for it. Breathing pure oxygen for any extended period of time (to be clear, we’re talking several hours), however, can be very, very bad for you, resulting in conditions with scary names like “shock lung,” so you shouldn’t just hook up a can of gas and spend all day sucking on it. In other words, don’t overdo it.