Breathing is huge in our lives. It grows more important the older we get. Breathing also affects MS symptoms.
Fatigue and MS
It is common knowledge that one of the most often reported symptom of MS is fatigue. Breathing affects this symptom.
One study reports “ Fatigue in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) is highly prevalent and severely impacts quality of life….Sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) significantly contributes to fatigue in MS.Study” (http://www.hindawi.com/journals/msi/2013/286581/).
Why is a breathing disorder associated with fatigue? For this reason: “People with weakened ventilatory muscles have to work harder to inhale and exhale. This extra effort can be quite tiring” (http://www.nationalmssociety.org/SymptomsDiagnosis/MS-Symptoms/Respiration-Breathing-Problems#section-0).
Sleep Disorders and MS
Another study explored two forms of sleep disorders and found them both to be higher in MS patients, particularly among those with brainstem involvement, than in the general population.
- Obstructive sleep apnea [symptoms include snoring, daytime sleepiness and sudden waking cessation of breathing during sleep caused by something obstructing the breathing (VC vital capacity)]
- Central apneas [the main symptom is stopping breathing during sleep] (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3425840/).
Can we improve our breathing capacity?
Researchers from Sweden led a study that offered breathing training, aimed at improving capacity. They found that VC (the amount of air we normally breathe out after we breathe in deeply) was improved, as was FVC (the amount of air we can force out, forced vital capacity). “After 2 months of deep breathing exercises, MS patients showed a significantly different relative change in lung function, as compared with a control group” (http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/crj.12272/full).
What else is affected by breathing?
Besides lung capacity and fatigue issues-- why is breathing so essential for treating MS? The answer is mitochondria.
Mitochondria is to our bodies like the battery is to our ipod. It produces the energy needed to operate.
MS is one of the diseases which is affected by a disfunction of mitochrondria (http://www.umdf.org/atf/cf/%7B28038C4C-02EE-4AD0-9DB5-D23E9D9F4D45%7D/revised%20facts%20and%20links%20121608.pdf).
For instance, disfunctional mitochondria is now being found to support MS progression (http://multiplesclerosisnewstoday.com/2015/07/08/mitochondria-may-play-a-role-in-ms-development-and-progression/, http://www.drdalepeterson.com/
What can we do to support mitochondria?
One thing is—we can BREATHE!
Studies show that mitochondrial diseases are associated with shallow breathing (http://www.umdf.org/atf/cf/%7B858ACD34-ECC3-472A-8794-39B92E103561%7D/mito101_Pulmonary_Koumbourlis.pdf).
When we breathe deeply, using the diaphragm fully, we support the efficient use of oxygen in our body, which supports mitochondria (http://www.drdalepeterson.com/Secondwind_508daf4b1839e306a3654.html).
Supplements, losing weight, and exercising so that we increase deep breathing are suggested ways to increase mitochondrial capacity (http://www.drwhitaker.com/3-ways-to-tune-up-your-mitochondria-and-enhance-energy/, http://www.cpmedical.net/newsletter/mitochondria-resuscitation-the-key-to-healing-every-disease)
How do we breathe more deeply?
First, we can exercise, second, we can focus on deep belly breaths. A sedentary lifestyle is terrible for mitochondria. All forms of movement and exercise along with full belly breathing can improve the performance of mitochondria throughout the body. Exercise reduces oxidative stress and boosts mitochondrial activity— improving oxygen flow and our blood’s pH (http://spiritualityhealth.com/articles/3-ways-improve-your-mitochondrial-function).
Doctors report that receiving oxygen at the cellular level induces health. Here are three studies that discuss the different results from constant shallow or deep breathing:
- Dr. H. J. Schunemann found in a long-term study that lung function predicts mortality rates (Framingham study, see http://www.breathing.com/articles/clinical-studies.htm). The power of breathing makes it a predictor of long life (Framingham study and vital capacity: shttps://scholar.google.com/scholar?q=Schunemann+and+Framingham+study&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi1_o_5_MrMAhWG_R4KHWn3AFIQgQMIGjAA).
- Dr. Wendell Hendricks, (Two-time Nobel Laureate, Winner of the Nobel Prize for Cancer Research, Hendricks Research Foundation) reported that lower oxidation rates are associated with cancer and with allergies;
- Dr. Arthur Guyton theorized that all chronic pain, suffering and diseases are caused from a lack of oxygen at the cellular level (http://www.naturalhealth365.com/breathing-exercises.html/).
Deep breathing exercises are now looking more and more helpful.
My sister used to take breathing classes. I would laugh. After all, don’t we all know how to breathe?
No. We don’t. We can do better, and it will make us healthier!