Mouth breathing affects body chemistry

The way you breathe affects much more than your respiratory system, but has a direct link to cardio-vascular, metabolic and digestive health.

  “Breathe with your mouth as much as you eat with your nose.”


Humans are designed to do ALL breathing through the nose. Very few instances (think critical situations, life-threatening scenarios) warrant mouth-breathing, when we need quick oxygen/energy fix to make this run for life from danger.

Nose is the organ for breathing. It fulfills THREE main functions: filters, moistens and warms the air for the lungs. But it also significantly reduces the amount of air we inhale and exhale in comparison to breathing through the mouth, which disturbs carbon dioxide- oxygen balance. Carbon dioxide is often thought of as a waste gas, something we need to eliminate at all costs and leave only oxygen. While, undoubtedly, we need oxygen for living, we need carbon dioxide to utilise oxygen. Nasal breathing helps preserve just the right amount of carbon dioxide, which plays an important role in oxygen delivery to the cells and vasodilation.

We have come to the point where I must bring up the Bohr effect.  Through the Bohr effect, more oxygen is released to those tissues with higher carbon dioxide concentrations. The sensitivity to carbon dioxide in the blood can be suppressed in chronic diseases, leading to decreased oxygenation of peripheral tissues. Chronic conditions such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, or even diabetes miellitus can lead to a chronic state of hyperventilation to maintain adequate tissue oxygenation. These states can have ventilation of up to 15L per minute compared to the average normal ventilation of 6L per minute. The hyperventilation minimizes the potential of the Bohr effect through excess exhalation of carbon dioxide resulting in hypocapnia (insufficient carbon dioxide in the blood), causing a left shift in the oxygen dissociation and unnecessarily increased oxygen-haemoglobin binding affinity with impaired oxygen release to peripheral tissues, including our most vital organs (brain, heart, liver, kidney). Thus, the Bohr effect is essential in maximizing oxygen transport capabilities of haemoglobin and functionally dynamic oxygen-binding/release secondary to carbon dioxide equilibrium.

And to recap the paragraph above – the harder and bigger (volume-wise) you breathe, the less oxygen can be released from the haemoglobin molecule and delivered to the cells (including the brain).  Hence, a dysfunctional breathing pattern leads to tiredness, poor concentration, quicker fatigue and slower recovery when doing any sport.

Carbon dioxide is a muscle relaxant is important in muscle recovery for athletes or anyone participating in vigorous physical activity. For asthmatic individuals carbon dioxide relaxes the muscles in the lungs, reducing the spasms and coughs. Remember that the heart is a muscle too, so it benefits greatly from the right amount of carbon dioxide!

There is another important gas which our body takes advantage of when we breathe through the nose – nitric oxide. It is produced in the nasal cavity and is a potent antimicrobial – antiviral, antibacterial, agent.  Every time you take a breath through the nose, you push nitric oxide into the lower respiratory system. This is our first line of defence against viral and bacterial diseases.

And last but not least, breathing exclusively through the nose plays a role in the correct craniofacial formation in children up to 15 years of age. The functional breathing pattern, when the mouth is closed and the tongue is sitting on the roof of the mouth, supporting the teeth, ensures good wide jaws and enough room for all adult teeth. While mouth-breathing promotes narrow jaws and, as a result, crooked teeth.

 With teenagers and young adults you can ask a question if they have heard the term “mouth-breather”. And look it up in the dictionary, where it is defined as a “stupid person”, which is mainly based on the idea that someone who breathes though their mouth often has their jaw hanging open, which has a tendency to make them look rather vacant or stupid. Mouth-breathing can actually affect one’s mental alertness, intellectual capabilities, physical appearance (craniofacial development, how the face looks), fitness and more. Fitness is an area of interest for many people nowadays, especially young adults, so I cannot stress enough how important nasal breathing for better performance and muscle recovery!

 Nasal breathing is important for the optimal function of the whole body.  We must not underestimate its role in our well-being. Our heart rate is slows down with gentle, light, slow breathing. Digestions improves as excess air does not go down the esophagus, creating aerophagia, which disturbs digestive function. Metabolic rate is improved greatly with nasal breathing as nasal breathing regulates the nervous system, takes us our of the sympathetic nervous system dominance, down-regulating stress hormones, thus improving insulin sensitivity.

Retraining nasal breathing pattern is the foundation of health.


For holistic breathing therapy, support, and naturopathic solutions, I invite you to get in touch for an appointment with me to see how I can help you achieve the best of health.

Julia Rudakova
Naturopath, Buteyko Breathing Educator, Herbalist.
Melbourne, Australia.


My Story

I grew up in a small Russian town, 40km south-east of Moscow.  My mom was very sick and so I spent much of my childhood in clinic waiting rooms. By 7 years of age I knew how to spell complex names of medicines, like acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).

I started suffering from bronchitis and other respiratory Issues at the age of 16.

This continued all throughout my 20’s … Read more

My Values & Beliefs

Healing is done by you.

On your health journey YOU do the healing, I’m just a guide, your support person, your accountability buddy.

Anyone can heal

There is no exception to this rule. The extent of healing depends on how much you want it.

Symptoms (physical, mental, emotional) are just healing responses

Whatever is presenting for you is your body’s way to go back to homeostasis, to balance within the given circumstances. If it is phlegm – it’s the body’s way to expel something, if it is pain – it’s the body’s way to draw your attention to inflammation happening there, a call for help, etc.

Your safety and success is of utmost importance to me

I work with clients who are committed to healing. My goal is, in collaboration with you, to work out a protocol to promote healing in your body and mind.

My Mission

is to empower and educate individuals with asthma and other respiratory conditions, cardio-vascular and digestive issues, anxiety – with practical tools and proven holistic methods to take charge of their health.


If you’d like to get in touch for a complimentary 15 min conversation about how I can support you, click the button below.

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