You’ve heard about the benefits of getting more oxygen… but do you know all the benefits of more carbon dioxide?
—-Important Message From Our Sponsor—-
This is pretty shocking… (watch at your own risk, NSFW)
Why men want more carbon dioxide and how to get it
Elevated levels of lactate, or lactic acid, is not a good sign.
We generally associate lactic acid with effort, or activity, but it is also a fundamental feature of disease states and mortality.
Basically, whenever oxygen becomes depleted, lactic acid starts to accumulate.
Accordingly, a fundamental characteristic of critically ill patients is elevated lactic acid levels.
During stress (e.g., emotional trauma, intense exercise, malnutrition or illness), energy and oxygen requirements rise.
When the supply of energy and oxygen starts to become inadequate, lactic acid becomes the main source of energy, via its (inefficient) conversion into glucose by the liver.
For example, it has been found that during psychogenic (mental, emotional) stress, hyperventilation often occurs.
Hyperventilation is associated with elevated levels of lactic acid.
In a healthy individual, the process of energy production from food produces carbon dioxide, and very little lactic acid.
This process is determined by thyroid function which governs the ability of our cells to make energy through the oxidative metabolism (i.e. burning sugar).
Carbon dioxide itself is extremely important in all tissues, and has a myriad of protective benefits.
Lactic acid appears to play a role in metabolic renewal, but only when it is elevated for brief periods, contrary to chronically elevated levels.
Lactate can be chronically elevated in the context of many conditions:
“Elevated lactate can be caused by a number of conditions including shock, sepsis, cardiac arrest, trauma, seizure, ischemia, diabetic ketoacidosis, thiamine deficiency, malignancy, liver dysfunction, genetic disorders, toxins, and ‘treatments.’” – Andersen et al. (2013)
And it is also a risk factor for increased mortality:
“Elevated lactate has been associated with increased mortality in a number of diseases such as sepsis, trauma and cardiac arrest.” – Andersen et al. (2013)
While there are many pathways driving the increase in lactic acid, such as a lack of riboflavin, thiamine (vitamin B1) appears to be an important player:
“Different studies have shown that critical illness in adults and children is characterized by absolute or relative thiamine depletion, which is associated with an almost 50% increase in mortality.” – Manzanares et al. (2013)
Indeed, thiamine is known to stimulate oxidative metabolism (oxidation of glucose; burning of sugar), and energy production, thereby producing carbon dioxide and suppressing lactic acid levels.
A 2011 study showed that severe lactic acidosis could be completely reversed by IV thiamine supplementation within 24 hours.
In conclusion, in cases of chronic illness, with worrying symptoms, it can make sense to explore thiamine supplementation, at least for a time.
Excess lactic acid carries with it an elevated risk of mortality, and it’s a simple intervention which could make all the difference in the world.
—-Important Message About Boosting Carbon Dioxide—-
Why you want more carbon dioxide as a man and how to get it
Try this quick experiment…
Exhale until your lungs are empty, and pinch your nostrils closed.
Try to stay like that for as long as possible until you need air.
You’ll notice your nose opens up, and what you may notice or feel is that your blood vessels open up.
See, this little experiment raises carbon dioxide levels in your body…
The extra boost of carbon dioxide relaxes the blood vessels all over the body, even in the brain, allowing more oxygen-rich blood to flow through…
So the more carbon dioxide you have in your cells and tissues, the more oxygen reaches those cells and tissues.
This is the Bohr effect — and it proves that oxygen reaches the cells and tissues more efficiently when there’s more carbon dioxide present.
So how do you naturally raise carbon dioxide and raise oxygen?
Andersen, L. W., Mackenhauer, J., Roberts, J. C., Berg, K. M., Cocchi, M. N., & Donnino, M. W. (2013). Etiology and therapeutic approach to elevated lactate levels. Mayo Clinic proceedings, 88(10), 1127–1140. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.mayocp.2013.06.012
Peat, R. (2020) Lactate, metabolic regression & political-medical implications. Ray Peat’s Newsletter.
ter Avest E, Patist FM, Ter Maaten JC, Nijsten MW. Elevated lactate during psychogenic hyperventilation. Emerg Med J. 2011;28(4):269-273. doi:10.1136/emj.2009.084103
Amrein, K., Ribitsch, W., Otto, R., Worm, H. C., & Stauber, R. E. (2011). Severe lactic acidosis reversed by thiamine within 24 hours. Critical care (London, England), 15(6), 457. https://doi.org/10.1186/cc10495
Manzanares, W., & Hardy, G. (2011). Thiamine supplementation in the critically ill. Current opinion in clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 14(6), 610–617. https://doi.org/10.1097/MCO.0b013e32834b8911
Moskowitz, Ari et al. “The relationship between lactate and thiamine levels in patients with diabetic ketoacidosis.” Journal of critical care vol. 29,1 (2014): 182.e5-8. doi:10.1016/j.jcrc.2013.06.008