The Surprising Benefits of Nose Breathing: Oxygenation, CO2, and Health

Breathing through the nose, both during sleep and exercise, offers numerous benefits that go beyond mere airflow. Despite the perceived restriction in airflow, nose breathing actually delivers more oxygen to your tissues compared to mouth breathing. In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating mechanisms behind nose breathing and its impact on oxygenation, the role of carbon dioxide (CO2), and its connection to overall health. From the humidifying and filtering properties of the nose to the important interplay between CO2 and oxygen, we will uncover the surprising advantages of keeping your mouth shut and embracing nose breathing.

The Surprising Benefits of Nose Breathing: Oxygenation, CO2, and Health

The Humidifying and Filtering Power of the Nose

Protecting the Lungs and Enhancing Oxygen Delivery

When you breathe through your nose, the sinuses act as natural humidifiers, moistening the air before it reaches your lungs. This humidification process not only improves comfort but also protects the lungs from the potential irritation caused by inhaling cold and dry air. Additionally, the nose acts as a filter, trapping particles that could end up in your lungs. It also serves as an immune barrier, preventing pathogens from reaching the lungs and facilitating their elimination in the sinuses.

The Bore Effect and the Role of CO2

Oxygenation and the Importance of Carbon Dioxide

The Bore effect reveals a fascinating relationship between CO2 and oxygenation. Oxygen carried in the blood requires the presence of carbon dioxide to be effectively released and delivered to cells. Even if the blood is saturated with oxygen, it needs the help of CO2 to be released into the cells. When individuals hyperventilate during panic attacks and exhale excessive CO2, it disrupts the balance between oxygen and CO2, leading to oxygen starvation and panic symptoms. Similarly, oxygen therapy can sometimes cause difficulties as excessive oxygen intake without adequate CO2 levels can hinder oxygen delivery to the tissues.

Nose Breathing and Increased Oxygenation

The Benefits for Sleep and Exercise

Nose breathing plays a crucial role in optimizing oxygenation, particularly during sleep and exercise. When you breathe through your nose, you increase the amount of oxygen that reaches your cells by about 20%. This improved oxygenation has significant implications for brain function, muscle performance, and overall well-being. Mouth breathing, commonly associated with snoring, reduces the efficiency of oxygen delivery and can lead to oxygen deprivation in the body.

Nose Breathing and CO2 Levels

Alkalosis, Hypocalcemia, and Other Considerations

Nose breathing helps maintain proper CO2 levels in the body, which is essential for maintaining balance. Low CO2 levels can lead to respiratory alkalosis, a condition characterized by increased alkalinity in the body. This can result in symptoms such as cramping, laryngeal spasm, difficulty breathing, and even hypocalcemia (low blood calcium levels). Altered CO2 levels can also be influenced by factors like asthma, COPD, panic attacks, lung infections, anemia, and glycated hemoglobin in diabetics.


Embracing nose breathing offers a range of surprising benefits for overall health and oxygenation. By leveraging the natural humidifying and filtering abilities of the nose and ensuring the proper interplay between oxygen and CO2, nose breathing enhances oxygen delivery to the cells. Whether during sleep or exercise, maintaining nasal airflow and focusing on nose breathing can lead to improved well-being, reduced stress, and optimized oxygenation at the cellular level.