Longevity Science

Mouth Breathing and Your Health

A lot of people, including health care professionals, are unaware of the problems associated with mouth breathing, but studies have shown that it can cause major issues for your health. In my own investigations, I have discovered that mouth breathing is an easily overlooked cause of many problems, especially when it comes to sleep disorders.  Mouth breathing is typically caused by an inability to breathe through the nose, whether the obstruction is temporary (as with allergies during pollen season) or more long-term because of a chronic infection or anatomical issue. If you’re a mouth breather you should know that it can cause hypocapnia if you tend to breathe in too deeply or breathe out too quickly. Hypocapnia is a state of reduced carbon dioxide (CO2) in the blood.

Among other functions, carbon dioxide regulates the pH in the blood. Without enough CO2 the body becomes too alkaline. Symptoms can include anxiety, visual problems, muscle cramping, panic attacks and dizziness. You can even pass out if your CO2 levels get too low (that’s what happens when you hyperventilate).

It turns out that though hypocapnia may be an extreme consequence of mouth breathing, it’s by no means the only risk. There are numerous health concerns associated with this habit, for both children and adults.  

For me, having been a practitioner of yoga for many years, I find this news about mouth breathing especially interesting. The ancient yogic tradition maintains that you should only breathe through your nose because the prana (a.k.a. life force) that animates all life can only be inspired through nose breathing.

Check out Somastruct for more info on mouth breathing and the health concerns linked to it.

Author: Vic Love, www.Fb.com/Vityalove

Birth and the Microbiome

Midwives, doctors and doulas have known for a long time that the transfer of beneficial microbes from the mother to the newborn is essential for jumpstarting a healthy immune system for the baby.

But what about babies born by C-section? In recent years a flurry of new research has shown that these babies are at increased risk for certain health issues and there is widespread speculation that the lack of bacteria (normally transferred from mom to baby during vaginal birth) is the culprit.

A really exciting new pilot study has shown that even babies born surgically can have the mother’s microbiome transferred to them easily, giving them the same bacterial benefit as a natural birth.

Our bodies are 1-2% bacteria by mass. By comparison, your brain is also about 2% of your total weight. Bacteria cells actually outnumber our human cells by 10 to 1 in our own bodies. Having a healthy population of beneficial bacteria in and on your body is fundamental to good health… and that begins at birth.

Visit Science Daily to learn more about how surgeons are transferring mothers’ beneficial bacteria to their babies at birth.


B12 and the Aging Brain

Vitamin B12 is one of the most important nutrients our bodies need to stay healthy, yet it is often overlooked.  B12 works by keeping your nerves and blood cells in top shape, as well as aiding in the production of DNA.  It also helps the body absorb folic acid and prevents megaloblastic anemia (a condition in which red blood cell counts are low), which makes sufferers tired and weak. Our bodies absorb B12 from food as stomach acid separates it from dietary proteins and combines it with a glycoprotein secreted by the stomach walls called intrinsic factor (or gastric intrinsic factor).



Without intrinsic factor, no vitamin B12 can be absorbed regardless of intake. Some people develop pernicious anemia because their body doesn’t produce intrinsic factor, making it impossible to absorb B12 from food and oral supplements. B12 is mostly found in animal products, such as meat, fish, eggs, milk, yogurt, cheese and shellfish. Vegans can get their B12 from supplements and from fortified foods. Specific bacterial cultures are used to fortify these foods. Non-dairy milk, breakfast cereals, meat substitutes and nutritional yeast often include this vital nutrient. 

If a person is lacking intrinsic factor to bind and absorb B12, B12 supplements are available that can be taken sublingually (under the tongue), as a spray or via injection. Regular oral B12 supplements won’t be absorbed if your body is not producing intrinsic factor. The US Recommended Dietary Allowance of B12 for adults 14 years and older is 2.4 mcg.  It’s recommended that pregnant and lactating women get between 2.6 and 2.8 mcg per day.  For children 9-13 years old, the number drops to 1.8 mcg.



New research has shown that B12 levels decrease significantly with age and low B12 levels are also connected to other neurological conditions, such as autism and schizophrenia. Richard Deth, Ph.D., professor of pharmacology at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU) College of Pharmacy, led a team of international researchers who discovered that B12 levels in the brain decreased significantly in the elderly and were much lower in people with autism and schizophrenia. “These are particularly significant findings because the differences we found in brain B12 with aging, autism and schizophrenia are not seen in the blood, which is where B12 levels are usually measured.” said Dr. Deth. “The large deficits of brain B12 from individuals with autism and schizophrenia could help explain why patients suffering from these disorders experience neurological and neuropsychiatric symptoms.” A form of B12, Methylcobalamin, known as Methyl B12, is a necessary nutrient needed for proper brain development.  As a result of this study, it was found that otherwise healthy elderly adults have 10 times less Methyl B12 than younger people.  

That’s not all.  Lower levels of Methyl B12 in young people seem to be connected to neurological problems later in life. Scientists at the Rush University Medical Center reported in Neurology magazine that the elderly people with low vitamin B12 levels tend to suffer from cognitive decline and even brain shrinkage. They tested 121 seniors aged 65 or older, taking blood samples as well as testing their memory and cognitive abilities. 52 months later, they did MRI scans to see if any brain damage had occurred during that time. It was found that those tested who had at least four out of five markers for B12 deficiency were much more likely to have lower test scores and even smaller brain volumes than in the first round of testing.

This connection appears to be due to the oxidative stress that is often associated with autism and schizophrenia.  The same oxidative stress is evident with aging and could be the cause for the lower B12 levels in the brain.  The researchers concluded that more study was needed to see if Methyl B12 supplements would actually help to fight oxidative stress and potentially treat those issues. To learn more about this exciting new research, check out the article in Science Daily.

 Female scientist looking through a microscope


The best way to check your vitamin B12 levels is through B12 testing.  This is a blood test used to find deficiencies and to help diagnose any potential anemias that may result. This test may also be used, along with other tests, to evaluate those who are demonstrating behavioral changes or altered mental states, especially in the elderly. If you believe you might be anemic and/or deficient in B12, your B12 test may be accompanied by folate testing and other screenings like a complete blood count (CBC) and a comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP), among others.  

It is important, especially as we age, to make sure our bodies and brains remain in optimum shape.  Test early and test often to get ahead of any neurological symptoms that may develop later in life.



ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminB12-Consumer/ www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160122144730.htm www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/172774.php labtestsonline.org/understanding/analytes/vitamin-b12/tab/test/  

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