Otto Warburg won a Nobel Prize for discovering that cancer cells had lower levels of oxygen than healthy cells. This fact has led to a number of holistic cancer treatments that focus on increasing the body’s overall levels of oxygen. While higher levels of oxygen can be good for general health, it’s important for cancer patients to realize that a lack of oxygen is not what causes cancer. Rather, the process of developing cancer causes a lack of oxygen inside cancer cells.
Instead of burning carbohydrates for fuel using oxygen, cancer cells develop a rogue metabolism that involves fermenting glucose. This fermentation process makes cancer cells greedy for glucose. While normal cells can use one oxygen molecule and one glucose molecule to produce about 36 packets of energy (in the form of ATP), cancer cells use only glucose. Using only glucose, the cancer cells can only make about 2 packets of energy; but they can make this energy much more quickly than a healthy cell. With a constant supply of glucose molecules, cancer cells can produce energy 100 times more quickly than a healthy cell.
As such, in treating cancer, adding more oxygen to the body may not be as beneficial as reducing the supply of glucose (sugars) available to cancer cells. Patients may benefit from an enhanced immune system having more oxygen in the body, however.
Cancer cells vary in terms of their tendency to ferment glucose. Some of them still breathe oxygen sometimes like normal, healthy cells so. Others exclusively ferment glucose for energy. The extent to which oxygen therapies will help a particular patient overcome cancer will depend to some extent on whether or not their cancer cells are using oxygen in the production of energy or not.
With this in mind, patients should never do oxygen-therapy as a stand-alone treatment for cancer. Of course, using a cancer protocol that includes several carefully selected treatments is generally considered best as a rule, but with oxygen therapies, it’s even more important. According to some theorists, cancer patients tend to breathe too quickly and take in too much oxygen, not too little. Breathing exercises that emphasize carbon dioxide can be as important as those that emphasize oxygen. The problem is not that patients have too much oxygen in their bodies, but that they use the oxygen inefficiently. People who are sick breathe much faster than people who are healthy. Too much oxygen can cause patients to have a build-up of deadly hydroxyl free-radicals in their bodies. So unfortunately, oxygen can be both the great healer as well as a savage killer, depending on the situation.
In summary, the use of oxygen as a therapy for cancer has to approached intelligently and with moderation. Oxygen therapies should be part of a protocol and never used as a stand-alone treatment.