Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Athletic advantage of Co2

During exercise the muscle cannot get enough oxygen and starts inefficiently breaking down glucose into small amounts of energy and lactic acid; this is known as anaerobic glycolysis.  Anaerobic glycolysis sets off many inflammatory signals and produces far less Co2/energy than the more evolved oxidative metabolism. 

Training at high altitude has been used by competitive athletes as a means of improving their potential.  Because of low oxygen pressure at high altitude athletes retain more Co2 which allows more efficient use of oxygen so glucose is shuttled through oxidative metabolism.(1).  Increased oxidative metabolism produces less lactic acid so athletes can train longer(2, 3). 

Methods that increase Co2 concentrations in the body such as baking soda improve athletic performance and recovery(4, 5, 6).  Nose breathing increases Co2 compared to mouth breathing(7).  High carbohydrate diet increases Co2 more compared to low carbohydrate diet(8).  A high sugar diet increases Co2 more compared to a high starch diet(9). 

1. http://jap.physiology.org/content/100/6/1938.long
2. http://physiologyonline.physiology.org/content/17/3/122.full
3. http://jap.physiology.org/content/70/5/1963.abstract
4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8388767
5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9296948
6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15514504
7. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3141357
8. http://www.annals.org/content/103/6_Part_1/883.abstract
9. http://ajpendo.physiology.org/content/264/4/E504.abstract 


  1. Hey Cliff thanks for putting up this blog and the great info on DR. Any opinon on the Frolov breathing device, Breathslim or any of those breathing resistance trainers? Thank you in advance

    1. Don't have any experience with them but they probably work, I think breathing into a bag is effective and cheap.

  2. Thanks for the super fast response. Don't mean to badger you can you recommend a protocol for that? Here I was, until a few years ago thinking fructose was bad for, now my colleagues think I am sugar crazed. I have been hitting the paintball CO2 tank but I was concerned about getting too much. Thanks!

    1. Breath in and out of a paper bag for a couple minutes or until it feels uncomfortable.