Back in October, Nicole had to be pushed into the dialysis clinic in a wheelchair. Today, eight months later, she can take 60-minute walks outside without any assistance. We’ve been talking in this e-letter about how the Buteyko Breathing Method has helped her deal with the many complications and ride-along ailments of type-1 diabetes. But fundamental to the Buteyko Breathing Method is one simple technique… nasal breathing.
Nicole switched to exclusively using her nose to inhale and exhale. Coughing and talking are some exceptions to the exhale part of the equation. But, on the whole, she switched to using her nostrils to breathe, instead of her mouth, 24/7. We saw immediate improvements.
As it relates to managing type-1 diabetes nasal breathing, according to our research, helps in many ways. Here are three…
1. Improved Blood Circulation = Greater Insulin Perfusion: Nasal breathing reduces the amount of CO2 leaving the lungs. This increases the CO2 levels in the blood. Higher CO2 levels cause the blood vessels to expand. This allows injected insulin to circulate better, resulting in more predictable blood sugar with smaller dosages.
2. Less Stress = Less Glucagon: Higher CO2 levels relax smooth muscle tissue in the body, as well as the nervous system (which includes the brain). Low CO2 levels, in contrast, signal a flight and fight stress response. Stress hormones trigger the body to release glucagon. Glucagon causes the liver to raise blood sugars. (Likewise, nitric oxide, which is produced in the nasal cavity, also relaxes the body.)
3. More Oxygen = Less Need for Insulin: Breathing out through the nose causes exhaled air to be trapped in the nasal cavity. Thus, inhaled air is mixed with exhaled air. This further increases the CO2 content of the lungs and blood. The more CO2 in the lungs and blood, the more oxygen is released by heamglobin into the body tissues. Oxygen is needed to burn glucose to produce energy. Therefore, it would appear, the more oxygen available, the less glucose in the blood.
Back in October, when Nicole was very unwell, I remember seeing her napping on the couch. She was hardly sleeping at night. She’d tend to just fall asleep whenever she could, wherever she could. As she lay there, her mouth hung open. It looked deathly to me, though I didn’t know why at the time.
But it did spark the idea that mouth breathing may be harmful. This led us down a rabbit hole. Indeed, I doubt any real healing is possible, unless one establishes the fundamental habit of nasal breathing 24/7.
Thinking outside the type-1 matrix,
–John C. A. Manley
P.S. In future posts, I’ll share some of the methods we’ve been using to keep nasal breathing going 24/7. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Especially since most people breathe through their mouth while asleep. But even this can be stopped. Until then, for more information on how breathing retraining you can read CO2 to the Rescue: How Breathing Less Can Help Reverse Complications of Type-1 Diabetes
P.P.S. You also may like to read the 19th century classic, Shut Your Mouth and Save Your Life. Here, lawyer, painter and writer, George Catlin, describes how the nasal breathing habits of North American aboriginals provided them with superior health. Available from amazon.com, amazon.ca and amazon.co.uk.