A good diet is a strong foundation for building a healthy life. Consuming adequate nutrients from a well-balanced diet from fresh ingredients can help alleviate various health conditions. Furthermore, it can help enhance physical output and cognitive prowess.
Blood oxygen is one health indicator that can be optimally enhanced by following a good diet or supplementing with the right nutrients. This article looks at specific nutrients that can be supplemented to enhance blood oxygen levels.
What are blood oxygen levels?
Blood oxygen level is a measure of the amount of oxygen present in the blood. Hemoglobin in the blood binds to oxygen molecules and carries them from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Oxygen is an essential element required for the production of ATP in the mitochondria of the cells. ATP is the body’s primary energy source, and hence oxygen is extremely vital to maintain the energy levels required to sustain life.
Various factors, like altitude, physical activity, health conditions, lifestyle choices, and diet, can determine the amount of oxygen in the blood.
Well-oxygenated blood is bright red, and a dark red color characterizes deoxygenated blood. A blood oxygen level of 95% is considered to be ideal.
A blood oxygen level of 90% is considered low and may indicate health conditions like hypoxemia. This can lead to symptoms like shortness of breath, confusion, and blue-tinged skin.
When left untreated, such conditions can progress to complications like organ damage and respiratory failure.
Individuals living in higher altitudes and smokers may have lower blood oxygen levels than average individuals. Other conditions affecting blood oxygen levels include lung disease, anemia, heart disease, and sleep apnea.
Blood oxygen levels can be determined by performing blood tests. Additionally, devices like the oximeter can be used to determine the amount the oxygen in the blood.
Maintaining healthy blood oxygen levels is vital in keeping the body functioning optimally. Apart from maintaining overall good health, it is crucial to maintain energy levels for daily activities.
Supplements that can help increase blood oxygen levels
One of the ways to increase blood oxygen levels is by integrating certain nutrients into your diet. Supplementing these nutrients can increase red blood cell production and improve the blood’s oxygen-carrying capacity. Some of the nutrients are:
Iron is an essential mineral that is vital for the production of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the protein that performs the crucial function of carrying oxygen in the blood.
Adding sufficient iron to your diet can help increase the amount of hemoglobin which can, in turn, enable the blood to carry more oxygen.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) for iron is 8mg per day for adult men and post-menopausal women. Menstruating women have an increased RDA of 18mg daily to compensate for the blood lost during the menstrual cycle.
Some rich dietary sources of iron are legumes, shellfish, red meat, spinach, pumpkin seeds, and nuts.
ii). Vitamin B12:
Vitamin B12 is a vital nutrient that produces red blood cells. These levels are a crucial factor in determining blood oxygen levels. A deficiency can lead to anemia, characterized by low blood oxygen levels, and results in fatigue and weakness.
The Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of vitamin B12 is 2.4 micrograms per day.
Some dietary sources of vitamin B12 are fish, meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products. Vegans must incorporate vitamin B12 through supplements as it cannot be obtained from a plant-based diet.
iii). Vitamin C:
Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid, is an essential nutrient that produces collagen, which supports the structure of blood vessels in the body. It is also vital in the absorption of iron, which is crucial for producing hemoglobin.
It is also an antioxidant that helps combat oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Adequate intake of vitamin C helps improve oxygen uptake by the body.
90 mg per day for adult men, and 75 mg per day for adult women, is the Recommended Dietary Allowance of vitamin C.
Vitamin C can be incorporated into your diet by including citrus fruits, tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and kiwi.
Coenzyme Q10, popularly known as CoQ10, is a coenzyme that is vital in the production of ATP, which is the body’s primary energy source.
CoQ10 improves oxygen utilization by the body and enhances the overall function of the cardiovascular system. CoQ10 is also an antioxidant and helps prevent damage from oxidative stress due to free radicals.
There is no prescribed RDA from WHO for CoQ10. However, as per scientific data, the accepted dosage of CoQ10 is between 30 to 200 mg per day, with an average dosage of 90 mg per day.
Some sources of CoQ10 are organ meats, fatty fish, and whole grains. However, the amount of CoQ10 from dietary sources might not be sufficient, and supplements are recommended when CoQ10 levels are inadequate.
Vitamin B3, or Niacin, is an essential nutrient crucial in helping the body convert food into energy. It is especially vital for the health of the digestive system and is responsible for transporting electrons from digested food to oxygen in the blood.
Due to this function, niacin is considered a marker for blood oxygen levels. Adequate consumption of niacin can help increase blood oxygen levels.
The RDA of vitamin B3 is 16mg and 14mg for adult men and women, respectively.
Fish, chicken, beef, legumes, nuts, and seeds are good dietary sources of niacin.
Magnesium is a vital nutrient crucial for various functions of the body, like protein synthesis, nerve function, control of blood glucose levels, muscle function, and control of blood pressure.
It can enhance oxygen delivery to tissues by improving blood flow and relaxing the blood vessels. The RDA of magnesium is 400-420mg and 310-320 mg daily for adult men and women, respectively.
Whole grains, leafy green vegetables, yogurt, beans, lentils, and peanuts are some rich sources of magnesium that can be easily incorporated into your diet.
As they say, prevention is better than cure. Consuming adequate nutrients through your diets or supplements can help prevent most ailments from occurring.
Blood oxygen level is a crucial health parameter, and deficiency can lead to conditions like anemia and, in severe cases, can escalate to symptoms like organ failure.
Consuming the listed nutrients can help avoid such issues by maintaining adequate or higher oxygen levels in the blood. Furthermore, it can offer benefits like improved cognition and enhanced athletic performance.
Q1: What is the blood oxygen level?
Ans: The amount of oxygen in red blood cells in our body is known as the blood oxygen level. A blood oxygen level of 95% is considered healthy, and anything above that is considered excellent. Having blood oxygen levels less than 95% can be a cause of concern, and 90% is considered unhealthy.
Q2: What is the importance of having adequate oxygen levels in the blood?
Ans: The optimal functioning of the body’s organs and tissues depends on having adequate blood oxygen levels, especially in the case of the brain and heart. Oxygen is vital for various life processes like cellular respiration, which helps the body produce ATP. Low blood oxygen can lead to conditions like anemia, characterized by symptoms like fatigue, dizziness, breathing difficulty, and organ damage in severe cases.
Q3: What are the benefits of maintaining adequate blood oxygen levels?
Ans: Having adequate blood oxygen levels is essential for the body’s optimal functioning. Maintaining high blood oxygen levels can have benefits like increased energy levels, improved cognitive function, enhanced physical performance, prevention of diseases, quicker wound healing, and a stronger immune system.
Q4: What factors determine blood oxygen levels?
Ans: Various behavioral, environmental, and physiological factors determine your blood oxygen levels. These include breathing rate, lung function, altitude, hemoglobin levels, circulatory system condition, exposure to toxins like carbon monoxide, medical conditions like sleep apnea, lifestyle choices like drinking or smoking, and consumption of adequate nutrients in the diet.
Q5: Can blood oxygen levels be increased through diet?
Ans: Blood oxygen levels are determined by the amount of oxygen in your blood and are largely affected by the amount of oxygen you breathe in. However, adequate nutrition can help support higher oxygen levels by making oxygen easy to transport and readily available for the rest of the body. These nutrients include iron, vitamin C, B12, magnesium, CoQ10, and niacin.