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Lowering Oxygen Saturation Levels

Thread Status: Hello , There was no answer in this thread for more than 60 days.
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Deeper Blue Hypoxyphiliac
Oct 24, 2002
For the medically minded

As far as I can tell, the reason people suffering from sleep apnea can allow their bodies to enter low SaO2 without suffering hypoxemia and blackout is the same reason people living at altitude have a higher red blood cell count - the body adapts to the different oxygen levels available.

My question is, and forgive me if this sounds stupid, but is it possible to lower the saturation of oxygen in the body for extended periods of time? Say for a few hours or so? This would appear to have an immense benefit on apnea ability.

Thanks in advance,

I've thought of building a doohickey that is just a mask with an open tube attached. The dead-volume would accumulate CO2 and reduce the available O2, thereby providing two sources of stimulation that could result in positive adaptations -- increased CO2 tolerance and increased hematocrit levels.

On the other hand, the side effects of sleep apnea all seem to be bad, so this might not be such a good idea. Also, if the tube is too long, you might die, which would suck.

At any rate, since I have 4 kids and since my wife would divorce me on the spot if she ever saw me wearing such a device, I never went through with it.
Just as a warning:

Breathing through a waterhose of 1.5 metres in length will kill you in an hour.

Same thing with a snorkel that is too long. Besides I have only heard of negative effects with apnea sleeping. Such as heart problems. Altitude on the other hand would be much better, so start sleeping on the roof : )
How much altitude is enough to make a noticeable difference?

Interval Hypoxic Training (IHT) will have the same effect without any of the potential complications.

You can find more information at http://www.sporto2.com/alt_int1.htm

If you do some research on the net, you may be lucky enough to find someone in your area who offers IHT.


Thanks for the link Ash!

This sounds interesting... the hypoxicator - I'm getting flashbacks of the gun with the microwave from Beverly Hills Cop 3!

Has anyone had any experience using some sort of low oxygen system?
There's IHT, and you may also have heard about the airproof 'tents' that some athletes sleep in. They both do the same thing, basically using mixed gas to lower the %O2 of what you breathe.

This simulates the lower O2 partial pressure at high altitude, although the air pressure is still sea level. They would have this stuff at the AIS. Good luck asking them if you can use it. :D

P.S. If you do enough breatholds then you should get the same effect as high altitude training.
But you keep telling me I do too many breath holds :p
The doohickey :confused: from Pezman, or any other device that is attached to your mouth / nose in any which way can be very dangerous !!

Imagine blacking out with such a device and there would be no one to help you... what a sad way to die.
Very true, however something he said made sense to me.. what about sleeping with a mask and snorkel on? That wouldn't seem too danegerous...
I know, I have been thinking about a cheap homemade hypoxicator / hypercapnicator (is that a word??) too.

But sleeping with a snorkel and mask wouldn't just be very uncomfortable and very weird:duh , it wouldn't make any difference I guess. A snorkel is just 150-200 ml of extra dead space which will be compensated by more intense breathing.
So then at the very least, you're still getting a mild cardio workout?
Yep, I guess so. But isn't sleep meant to rest and recover from training ?? :eek:
What about just getting a tank filled with say 10% O2, and breathing dry one of them a day for a week or two?
Hi Brad

My wife and I were lucky enough to have access to a hypoxiator and compressor at home for a while and we used them to do an IHT course.

I don't have that luxury any more, so I recently looked into getting G bottles of lower PO2 mix delivered to my home by our local industrial gas suppliers.

Unfortunately getting low PO2 mixes is really expensive for some reason, probably because it's a special order type product for them. Maybe you will have more luck with gas supplies in your neck of the woods but bear in mind that a critical component of the IHT course is a pulseoxymeter.

You need to be able to monitor the % of O2 in your blood during the treatments. You don’t want it to get too low and you need to keep it in a specific range for the IHT to be really effective.

Just breathing a low PO2 mix for an hour a day isn't going to have the same benefits as a structured IHT course and if you get your blood O2% into the low zone, you will encounter problems.

PM me if you want any more info.

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