What Is Oxygen? Benefits and Functions Inside Your Body

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on
Many people ask, "what is oxygen", so here we explain more about this crucial element and how it is used in the human body.

Oxygen is a colorless, odorless gas.[1] It is a chemical element and you can find it on the periodic table with the atomic number 8. Oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe and makes up over 20% of the earth’s atmosphere.[2] In the human body, oxygen is the single most abundant element, making up 65% of body mass.[3] You’re breathing oxygen nearly every second of every day and it’s clearly very important. So, let’s look at a few of the ways the human body uses oxygen.

The Function of Oxygen in the Body

Cellular respiration is the term used to describe the phase of the digestive process when food breaks down to supply cells with energy.[4][5] During cellular respiration, cells use oxygen to break down sugar to produce ATP, or adenosine triphosphate. ATP is a molecule that supplies cells with energy.[6] The byproducts of the process are CO2 and water.

The Benefits of Oxygen

Health status, activity level, and hydration are factors that affect how much oxygen a person needs.[7] Without adequate oxygen, health problems are guaranteed.[8] Some people have to use extraordinary measures to get their oxygen levels up. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy, for example, is one way to increase oxygen levels and may even address a variety of health concerns.[9]

There are a lot of reasons why more oxygen is better. In one study, laboratory mice that received supplemental oxygen had better T-cell counts, immune function, and lived about twice as long as mice with normal oxygen levels.[10]

Consequences of Oxygen Deprivation

Oxygen deprivation doesn’t have to be sudden, like choking or drowning, to be a problem. Oxygen deprivation can be a long term problem, occurring over months or years. The reasons are varied, but pollution and poor indoor air quality are among them. The health effects of oxygen deprivation can be severe; it’s even linked to tumor growth.[11][12] Environmental concerns are amplifying the problem and oxygen levels in the atmosphere are on the decline.[13]

Cleansing with Oxygen

Body cleansing is a great way to take advantage of the power of oxygen. Oxygen-based colon cleansing products are an alternative to harsh herbal concoctions. I recommend Oxy-Powder®; it’s formulated with oxygen to gently cleanse and detoxify the digestive tract. We get a lot of feedback from people who tell us it helps them feel great.


  1. RSC.org. Oxygen – Element Information, Properties and Uses | Periodic Table. Royal Society of Chemistry, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
  2. University of Florida. Liquid Oxygen. Environmental Health & Safety. University of Florida, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
  3. Shyamala Iyer. Building Blocks of Life. ASU – Ask A Biologist. 27 Sep 2009. ASU – Ask A Biologist, Web. 22 Feb 2016.
  4. Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al. How Cells Obtain Energy from Food. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition. New York: Garland Science; 2002.
  5. Hyperphysics.phy. Cellular Respiration. Hyperphysics, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
  6. Encyclopædia Britannica. Adenosine Triphosphate. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2016. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
  7. Nhlbi.nih. What Is Oxygen Therapy? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, 24 Feb. 2012. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
  8. LaValle, James B., and Stacy Lundin. Yale. Cracking the Metabolic Code: 9 Keys to Optimal Health. North Bergen, NJ: Basic Health Publications, 2004.
  9. U.S National Library of Medicine. Oxygen Therapy: MedlinePlus. U.S. National Library of Medicine, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
  10. S.M. Hatfield et al. Immunological mechanisms of the antitumor effects of supplemental oxygenation. Science Translational Medicine.­­­ Vol. 7, March 4, 2015, p. 277ra30. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa1260.
  11. EPA. An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality. United States Environmental Protection Agency, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.
  12. University of Colorado Denver. Lack of oxygen in cancer cells leads to growth and metastasis. ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 September 2012.
  13. Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Scripps O2 Program | Atmospheric Oxygen Research. Scripps Institution of Oceanography, n.d. Web. 22 Feb. 2016.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • Jimmee41

    I am finding it difficult to get some straight answers on the use of Ozone and what it takes to use it safely. Do you have info or can you direct me to sources that thoroughly explain the various avenues of intake???

  • NoWorldOrder.com

    Might sleeping with an oxygen concentrator or oxygen tank w/mask or nasal cannula be beneficial to people who may not necessarily medically “need” it?

  • Would love to hear your thoughts on ingesting small amounts of food-grade hydrogen peroxide to help the body heal from ME/CFS/FIBRO.

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