[00:00:52] About This Podcast
[00:01:53] Podcast Sponsors
[00:06:37] What is HBOT?
[00:08:47] Guest Introduction
[00:10:20] How Jason Began Using HBOT
[00:12:33] Further Explanation of What HBOT is?
[00:18:20] Various Delivery Mechanisms and How Much Oxygen One Needs Using HBOT
[00:21:21] Three Types of Chambers
[00:22:42] Actual Use Frequency and Volume of An HBOT Chamber
[00:30:08] Podcast Sponsors
[00:33:30] cont. Actual Use Frequency and Volume of An HBOT Chamber
[00:35:23] The Effects of HBOT On Aerobic or Endurance Activity
[00:38:03] How HBOT Promotes Angiogenesis When Cancer Cells Are Present
[00:42:35] Antioxidant Mechanisms Affected By HBOT
[00:47:10] The Effect of HBOT On Bacterial Growth in The Microbiome
[00:51:25] How HBOT Works With Bone Repair and Formation
[00:57:07] Treatments That Work Well in Conjunction W/ HBOT
[01:01:06] Safety Concerns W/ HBOT Chambers
[01:06:10] How HBOT Affects Mental Performance
[01:07:31] HBOT Vs. Exercise W/ Oxygen Therapy (EWOT)
[01:09:54] Closing the Podcast
[01:12:10] End of Podcast
Ben: On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.
Jason: Pretty severe skin and nerve and infections that aren't responding to traditional care, they then go into this high pressure, high oxygen environment, and typically with pretty good results.
Ben: So, theoretically, if I could crawl in this thing and have more oxygen for a workout, if I were to do a workout mid-morning or mid-afternoon, for example?
Jason: The Vitaeris was built to actually have two people go inside. So, you might not have to sacrifice your marriage.
Ben: Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.
Oh, well, hello. Thank you for stopping by the podcast, which is actually kind of cool today. We're going to be talking about hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which might sound like some French thing a NASA astronaut would do to recover after space travel, but that I have found increasingly interesting and useful for myself when I'm not just traveling, but now when I'm at home for everything from hyperoxygenation to aiding and killing bacteria, assisting with angiogenesis or the formation of new blood vessels, a surge of a really good antioxidant called superoxide dismutase, fibroblast production, collagen production, bone density, a decrease in inflammation. The more I look into HBOT, the more I am impressed with it. So, I figured it was high time. I did an actual podcast on what the heck HBOT is. So, I think you're going to dig this one.
Couple of things. If you've got my new book, “Boundless,” can I ask you a favor? I would love for you to leave a review, just a brief honest review. I guess it could be negative. You could read me the Riot Act, I don't care. Oh, I kind of care. I get my feelings hurt pretty easily. But you can leave a review. You can go to Amazon and go to Barnes & Noble. You can go to Goodreads, talk about maybe something useful you heard in the book. For example, someone recently said, “An encyclopedia for every ounce of knowledge you'd want on creating the ultimate one-two-three combo of mind, body, and spirit.” Another person said, “Ben did something special and exceedingly difficult. He balanced theory with the practical. He found the way to go both wide and deep and somehow made the complex not only digestible but engaging practical and actionable.” Wow, that person speaks good English.
Anyway, so the book is at boundlessbook.com. You probably know that already if you've been a podcast listener for any period of time. But those reviews mean so much. They help the book out so much. It's probably one of the best things you can do is go leave a helpful review. So, if you got the book, please do me that quick favor. I have also, during this entire book launch tour, this whirlwind tour I've been on through New York City and through L.A., I've gotten a lot of comments. I realized between the reviews and what I'm about to say, I'm kind of stoked on my own ego here, but I've gotten a lot of comments on my skin. People have been asking me what I do to make my skin glow, how it is that I'm managing things like wrinkles, what it is that I do to make my skin appear young.
And I can tell you that in addition to doing a clay mask once a week, where you just smear this clay on your face, I get it from these people called Alitura, I also use the Kion Skin Serum. I use it in my hair to keep a full big head of hair. I also use it on my skin. I use it morning and evening. It's my own formulation, a blend of organic hypoallergenic ingredients that originally, it was just me, and my aunt bottled it up for me. She's kind of an essential oil wizard in her own right. We would make aloe vera, and jojoba, and amla, and wild oregano, and turmeric, and all these things that not just heal the skin, but also feed the skin and give it this wonderful glowing complexion. And we have that available for the entire world to use now. It's called the Kion Serum. I call it my anti-aging serum. It's wonderful in the hair, it's wonderful on your face. It can be even used topically in things like wounds and cuts. Anyways though, the stuff is fantastic. It's all-natural, totally organic, and you can get a 20% discount on it. You just go to getkion.com. That's getK-I-O-N.com and you use discount code BGF20.
Now, if you're also in the skin game, the other thing that can help a ton with skin rejuvenation, you can combine this with things like a clay mask or putting the serum on your face to help drive it more deeply into the tissue. You can use this for collagen, for elastin, for wrinkles, just a fantastic full-body beauty treatment. As a matter of fact, a lot of anti-aging and biohacking facilities are now featuring this in the clinic for those same effects. It's called red and infrared light therapy. And the one that I use is made by the wonderful company, Joovv. I think their stuff's top-of-the-line. It's low EMF, low flicker. You need a shorter treatment time because of the power of these devices. You only need to be in front of it for 10 to 20 minutes instead of a full hour like many of these other devices.
And if you have not yet tapped in to the beauty of using natural light therapy to enhance your skin and to enhance things like hormone production and nitric oxide production, you are missing out. So, you can get one of these Joovv devices that does infrared and red-light therapy. And when you do, you get a free copy of my book Boundless, a free copy of Boundless when you get a Joovv, at least while supplies last. So, you go to joovv.com/ben. And it's spelled J-O-O-V-V.com/ben. When you go to joovv.com/ben, that'll get you Boundless, it'll get you any size Joovv you want. So, check these things out between that and the skin serum, you're going to be, oh, so beautiful. And now with hyperbaric oxygen, which you're about to hear about, you're also going to feel amazing. So, enjoy today's episode.
Alright, folks. It's Ben, and I have talked about this a few times, alluded to it before on a few podcasts. And many of you know I now have this strange tube in my basement that I climb into, and that my kids and my wife are also now using to concentrate pressurized oxygen that we breathe for recovery, for jet lag. I take naps in there. I do breathwork protocols in there. It's called hyperbaric oxygen therapy. It's also known as HBOT. Now, you may have heard about HBOT before. It's been used in medical clinics for a long time, but it's kind of like hitting the biohacking and the health scene now for uses that go beyond simply medical management of, say, a wound or TBI or concussion or something like that.
And I recently got my hands on this brand-new book called, “Oxygen Under Pressure: Using Hyperbaric Oxygen to Restore Health, Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Aging, and Revolutionize Health Care.” And this book really is a great scientific [00:07:55] ______ of exactly what HBOT is and how to use it properly. Everything from how frequently should you use it, to the effect it has on stem cells, to how it might surge an increase in antioxidants, specifically superoxide dismutase, how it works for the gut, and how it can impair bacterial metabolism of certain type of gut issues, how it can increase fibroblast and collagen production, osteoblast production for bone density. Really interesting host of things that I wanted to dive into today.
So, the hyperbaric chamber I've been using in my basement now, it's right next to my sauna, it's a soft-shell chamber. I can pick it up, move it anywhere in the house, and it was very simple to set up. It's called the Vitaeris 320. And I got it from this company called HBOT USA. Well, Jason Sonners, my guest today, is actually the owner and clinical director of New Jersey Hyperbaric Oxygen Center and also a family wellness center there where he practices as a chiropractic physician. But he's also the owner of HBOT USA and just studies this stuff all day long, and is one of the few guys who I found who can speak to just about every single aspect from both practical to scientific when it comes to HBOT. So, I decided I should get him on the show and we should chat about all things breathing pure oxygen.
Everything that we talk about you can access in terms of the shownotes, if you want to check out the model, the HBOT chamber I've been using, et cetera, all of that's going to be at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbot. I also have a link over there to–or I'm sorry, BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbotpodcast. It's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbotpodcast. But if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbot, you can check out the chamber I've been using and learn more about what Jason does, and they've set up a discount for my listeners too if anybody wants to get a chamber for their home or for their clinic.
So, Jason, sorry about that long intro, but welcome to the show, man.
Jason: That was a great intro. Thank you. Thanks for having me. Good summary.
Ben: Yeah. I pride myself on my fantastic introductions. I've been practicing for a long time. I practiced in front of the mirror last night just to prepare for that.
Ben: Yeah. So, you, I don't think from what I understand, just kind of like stumbled across HBOT and began to implement it in your clinic. Did you begin to use this personally for personal issues before you realized everything else they could do?
Jason: Yeah. Like you said, so we have a clinic in New Jersey and we've been in practice for 16 years. I actually herniated a disc and I had a really pretty terrible neuropathy on my right foot. My wife's also a chiropractor. I was getting treated. We're very into nutrition and all different modalities. So, at the time, we were doing everything we knew how to do to help me. And I was back to work and I was pain-free in about maybe two weeks, but I was left with this drop foot in my right foot for over a year and a half after that injury and looking for a solution everywhere because I was twenty–gosh, I think I was 25 or 26 at the time. Just trying to figure out how am I going to get my leg back, how am I going to get my foot back.
And so, we came across hyperbaric oxygen and that was the thing, that was like the one thing that actually–it took a few months of treatment, but that was the one thing that finally gave me my foot back, the feeling and the function back. Actually, my stepdad has MS and at the time was recently diagnosed with a pretty aggressive version of MS. And so, we started treating him next and he had amazing results. So, once I saw it helped my neuropathy, and even though MS was a totally different mechanism, but it's also neurologic, neuropathic, and it helped him so much, I said, “Wow, there's something here I need to–before I even bring it to my clinic, I need to know why this is happening.” And that's when I started really diving pretty deep into the science and the research to try to figure that out.
Ben: Okay. So, I–well, go ahead. I don't want to interrupt you for it.
Jason: No. I'd just say that's when we started actually implementing it in our clinic.
Ben: Okay. Now, I want to know a little bit more about how it would have existed anyways from a pure medical standpoint, like how this thing has been used in medicine because I don't think a lot of people realize how rich a history it has in medical use. But before we do, I think we should probably step back and clarify exactly what HBOT is. So, can you explain hyperbaric oxygen to people?
Jason: Sure. So, hyperbaric oxygen, honestly, so hyperbaric, so increased pressure, and then oxygen. So, increased pressure of oxygen. And there's a lot of different setups. So, it could literally just be increased pressure of air because we know air is 21% oxygen. So, if you took air and just pressurized it, that would be hyperbaric oxygen. It would also be hyperbaric nitrogen for that matter. And then you could add–
Ben: Because air has nitrogen.
Jason: Yeah, exactly. And then you could add different amounts of pressure and different amounts of oxygen to create different doses, if you will, of gases to affect our body. And so, it's been used traditional medicine for a while. I mean, it's been around 300 plus years in a couple different ways, but I'd say since the '60s and '70s, it's been used more traditionally in hospitals. But really, it's only saved for very particular, pretty severe conditions. So, they'll use it for gangrene, osteonecrosis, osteomyelitis, radiation burns or other skin burns, non-healing wounds, diabetic neuropathy. So, pretty severe skin and nerve and infections that aren't responding to traditional care, they then go into this high pressure, high oxygen environment, and typically with pretty good results.
Ben: Okay. So, in terms of something like, let's say, wound care, how exactly would exposure to high amounts of oxygen actually affect that?
Jason: And it's in the book, too. There's a handful of mechanisms that happen to all of us. If we go into a hyperbaric environment, pressurized oxygen environment, there are things that happen to us and they happen to all of us. And they have to do a lot with just increasing oxygen levels, increasing mitochondrial performance, so the ability to make cell energy, ATP, stem cell release, bacterial management as you alluded to earlier, collagen synthesis, fibrinogen. Basically, all the energy and the cell signaling that our body requires to heal happens because as the body is exposed to this increased oxygen level, it sees a fuel source or a nutrient if you will that it could use to further push that process.
Even with those indications that are used in the hospital, most of those have to do with microcirculation damage, so damage to the capillaries, and that's where gas exchange occurs. So, where our body is collecting oxygen and bringing it into the cell or dumping carbon dioxide back into the bloodstream to go back to be exhaled, that all happens in these small capillaries. And anytime we have trauma, infection, any kind of injury like this, the microcirculation is damaged, and therefore, gas exchange is hindered. And hyperbaric oxygen, because of the way that it works, it actually bypasses a lot of where that damaged microcirculation is and it's able to get oxygen into places that are literally oxygen-starved for that time.
Ben: Okay. So, when you climb into one of these chambers, how exactly are they built to achieve that effect? I mean, is this like some kind of a pressurizer combined with an oxygen concentrator or what's exactly happening inside that chamber?
Jason: So, right now, as we're having this conversation, I'm sure a lot of your audience is aware of this, but in order to get oxygen moving around your body, we require red blood cells.
Ben: I thought you were going to say you were inside an HBOT chamber over the course, which wouldn't surprise me.
Jason: I should be, I should be. I don't have a good signal in there, so I can't do that. But yeah. So, if we require oxygen to be attached to a red blood cell, the red blood cell travels around to the circulation, dumps the oxygen into our cell, picks up carbon dioxide, brings it back to our lungs, and we exhale. That's normal gas exchange, if you will, in our body. But right now, as we sit here, we're about 97%, 98% saturated. Meaning, our bodies are getting almost as much oxygen as we could possibly get.
Ben: You mean if you were to put on like a pulse oximeter on your fingertip, which is actually a great way to monitor your oxygen status, you should ideally–just in a normal living situation outside the chamber, you're going to be about 90–what did you say, 97%, 98%?
Jason: Without any heart or lung issues, we all typically run very high 90s in terms of our ability to deliver oxygen to our cell. So, if we had a mask and a tank of oxygen and we were to breathe that right now, we can go from let's say 97 to 100, so we can get about 3% maybe, but you could never be more than 100% saturated. And so, the biggest difference here is under pressure, you're increasing the gradient, the pressure gradient of oxygen, which means you're increasing the diffusion, how much oxygen you could absorb. And so, as a result of pressure, you're actually going to dissolve oxygen into the plasma. Usually, we only carry oxygen in red blood cells, not in the plasma of our blood. But because of this pressurized environment, we're actually dissolving gas, oxygen into the plasma, the liquid of the blood. And so, all of a sudden, we could bypass the red blood cell carrying capacity and deliver many, many times more oxygen to a particular area of our body than we could if we were just relying on our red blood cells.
Ben: Now, does the actual pressure matter? Because I know there's like hard shell chambers, there's softshell chambers, there's–I think in your book, you call it ATA, which I forget what that stands for, but it's the actual amount of saturation in the air that you're breathing. Can you get into the different forms of delivery and how much oxygen you actually need in one of these chambers?
Jason: Sure. So, all gases move because of gradient. So, things go from high concentration to low concentration, or from high pressure to low pressure. Right now, wherever you happen to live, you're in equilibrium with the air that's around you. And if you go into a pressurized environment, all of a sudden, the pressure outside your body is much greater than what your body is used to. And as a result, that gradient starts dissolving increases of oxygen into your body. So, you're asking does it matter how much you get? What I would say is the more pressure you're exposed to and the higher percentages of oxygen you're exposed to, the larger the gradient that that will create, which also means the larger the diffusion will be inside your body.
Some people could use a hyperbaric chamber that just uses air. So, air is 21% oxygen. And let's say the chamber you have goes to ATAs, atmospheres absolute. So, the relative amount of pressure. You could also use PSI and millimeters of mercury. All these pressure units virtually mean the same thing. But you can go to 1.3 atmospheres, which is what your chamber does, at 21% oxygen, and that will create a certain amount of diffusion into your body. Or you could add, let's say like we just did, add oxygen concentrator to that. And now all of a sudden, instead of 21% oxygen you're breathing, you're going to be breathing, let's say about 94%, 95% oxygen.
Ben: And if you're using an oxygen concentrator in a soft-shell chamber, you would actually need a mask placed over your mouth to be able to breathe the extra oxygen that's being delivered or is that just getting pumped into the chamber itself?
Jason: Well, I mean, the way it's set up it could just be pumped into the chamber, but to maximize the absorption for you, you would have a mask on. The more of that you breathe under the whatever pressure you're in at the chamber, the higher the dosage of oxygen.
Ben: Okay. Now, what about these big hard shell ones you find in hospitals? Do people need to wear masks when they're in those or are those built differently so the oxygen is more concentrated?
Jason: So, it could be both. You could have a hard chamber, which is also pressurized with air, and then have oxygen, either concentrated oxygen or 100% green tank oxygen. And that could be supplied through a mask or a hood of some type. Or typically in a hospital setting, the entire chamber is actually filled and pressurized with 100% oxygen so that there's literally nothing else in–no other gas is really in there other than the oxygen itself.
Ben: Alright. Now, I have a quick question for you. How much does one of those hard-shell chambers inside a hospital cost? Do you know the approximate price point?
Jason: I'd say there's three types of chambers. There's going to be like hospital-grade versions that are 100% filled and pressurized with oxygen, and you're looking at probably close to 200,000, plus the cost of oxygen obviously, which is–it's not that expensive, but when you're filling a full chamber and running it for an hour or two, it's quite a bit, it adds up. And then a chamber that might be a hard chamber but is not filled with 100% oxygen, it's filled with air and you could add oxygen separately, you're looking closer to like somewhere between 90 and 100.
Ben: Okay. And then this one that I have, this Vitaeris 320, how much was that one?
Jason: That's about $22,000.
Ben: Okay. It's $22,000. And then for more of an entry-level unit, what's the cost of something like that?
Jason: Maybe more like 15.
Ben: Okay. Got it. So, basically, what you can do with a soft shell if you have an oxygen concentrator with it, you can get close to most of the performance and recovery effects you'd be looking at with one of these fancy, like the hospital hard shell chamber units or these bigger hard shell chamber units, but you just got to pump a little extra oxygen into it?
Ben: Okay. Got it. So, I want to ask you a few questions too about this whole performance and recovery piece and what exactly you see. But before I do, I'm curious, when we're talking about the type of effects that these things can have, are we talking about doing like multiple treatments multiple days in a row? Are we talking about one single time that you're laying inside it? Or what's the actual use frequency and volume of one of these things?
Jason: So, just like the tool you would choose, let's say soft versus hard and 100% oxygen, mild pressure versus high pressure. You have to match the right tool, let's say, to the right goals, I would say, and same thing in terms of frequency and duration. So, depending on what goals you're looking to achieve would determine how often, how long you should stay in, how many times you should use it, for how many months or should it be ongoing. I try to match patient or client goals with equipment and protocol. I usually break it down into short-term and long-term benefits.
So, short-term, like literally, from the first time you step in there and you get pressurized in your breathing, you'll see an increase in an oxygenation period every single time. You'll get more ATP production because you're going to light up your mitochondria to produce more energy. You're going to get some level of immune activation. So, white blood cell activation, neutrophil-macrophage activity tends to stimulate pretty quickly. But then there's the long-term. In the long-term, you're talking 20 hours, 40 hours, 60 hours, and more, just an ongoing level, depending again on what you're trying to accomplish. Some of those long-term, that would be more, you mentioned earlier like superoxide dismutase increases.
You actually, not only will your mitochondria make more ATP so they become more efficient, but your body will actually recognize this enormous amount of excess oxygen, your body will start replicating mitochondria. So, you'll actually start doubling and tripling mitochondrial content so that you could process the oxygen better. You'll get a release of stem cells, you get balance of the microbiome, you alluded to that earlier too, the angiogenic effect. So, when you're rebuilding blood vessels or remodeling that capillary structure that I was saying earlier that gets damaged, so to really rebuild that, that's a long-term benefit. And then more of the antimicrobial, like if you're trying to kill an infection of some kind, you would need higher pressure, higher oxygen, and you would need longer [00:25:10] ______.
Ben: Okay. Yeah. So, one interesting study on stem cell proliferation–and we'd love to hear your comments on what this thing can do to stem cells. And most of those protocols–I think there were seven or eight additional studies that were referenced in the paper that I was reading, which I'll link to in the shownotes for people if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbotpodcast. But most of these treatments were anywhere from like five to six days a week for a total of 30 sessions down to–I think as infrequently as a total of 10 sessions. But for the stem cell effect, it looked like multiple times. Like being in there almost every day for a period of time is what it took to get a significant kind of like an anti-aging or longevity response. Is that correct?
Jason: Yeah. What I tell people who are interested in the longevity quality of life anti-aging, you would front-load it for sure. So, if you had access to it, you would do minimum 20 hours, but you're really looking to do like 40 to 60 hours over the course of maybe two-month period. That's where you're going to really build a lot of those long-term benefits I was mentioning. After you do that, then you don't need that level of commitment to have the ongoing effect. But to really front-load it that way to be that intense about it in the beginning, that's where a lot of the benefits come.
Ben: Okay. It sounds kind of similar like NAD, another anti-aging tactic and mitochondrial health tactic a lot of people are using. You can do multiple IVs anywhere from four to five days in a row of 750 to 1,000 milligrams of NAD, and then just keep yourself cruising along with oral supplementation after that or an occasional IV. So, once you get a hyperbaric, you should spend ideally multiple days in a row inside it if you can, and then you can just start to use it, whatever, like one or two times a week after something like that.
Jason: Exactly. The first two months roughly, three, four or five times a week at least, and then spreading it out.
Ben: Now, how long would you need to be in there?
Jason: So, typically, for this kind of effect, you're looking at about 60 minutes at least. I love it in there, so I'll easily do 90 minutes at times or even sometimes two hours. You hit a point where it's like diminishing return.
Ben: You do. Okay. That's what I'm going to ask you about because when I first got it–and I actually want to ask you about this, too. I have so many questions for you. I fall asleep like a baby in that thing, like a well-slept baby. Meaning, I get in and after about 10 minutes, once it pressurizes and your ears are done doing their popping, I get this–and I don't know if it's the full-on sensory deprivation just because nobody can bug you in there, I don't know if it's like what I call the car effect where you can hear the motor buzzing in the background, there's like this mild vibration that lulls you to sleep like when you're in the backseat of a car when you were a kid, or I don't know if it's the actual gaseous interchange that's causing that type of effect, but I get super sleepy.
And so, the first time I got it, I actually slept in there on four separate occasions and had wonderful sleep score. So, literally crawled in that thing for like eight hours and slept the whole night in there, which obviously because I'm a married man and valuing my relationship is not something I make a regular habit of, but I gave it a try and I fall asleep in there and slept in there the whole night multiple times. So, first of all, is there any danger to me spending the night inside a hyperbaric chamber that you're aware of?
Jason: So, let me start by saying the Vitaeris was built to actually have two people inside. So, you might not have to sacrifice your marriage and get hyperbaric [00:28:58] ______.
Ben: I like to spread out.
Jason: I'm just kidding. I mean, you could do that, but yeah. So, there's a few things. I think it's all of the above. Some people get very energized by it. So, some people do a session and they feel like they want to get up and go work out, while other people get the exact experience that you're describing. I'm more the I kind of zone out and I often fade and take a nap in there, but you'll see things like on the sleep score, you might see you get really high HRV scores. The increased oxygen actually helps increase heart rate variability. So, that's one piece of that. The extra oxygen also stimulates parasympathetic activity. So, it's for somebody who might be leaning towards sympathetic fight-or-flight on a regular basis. You could feel a really strong shift into your parasympathetics. And so, that often comes with the chemistry of relaxation. So, I think there's a few reasons why you probably feel that. In addition, I do think the same thing. You know you could let go, you know nobody could bother you, so you could really relax. And the sensory deprivation piece, I love too. So, it's probably a combination of all the above.
Ben: Hey, I want to interrupt the show to tell you about these bee products that I've been using. So, you're probably familiar, unless you've been living under a rock, with honey and even the benefits of raw honey, organic honey for your immune system, for amino acids, for a boost to your gut bacteria. But what a lot of people miss out on are all the other components of what comes from the hive, like the propolis, which is wonderful for immune support, for soothing sore throats and coughs, like the royal jelly, which is–it's almost like a nootropic. It's bee food, but it's like brain food as well. And then there's bee pollen, which is one of the most nutrient-dense forms of nature's multivitamin you can find. It's got protein, it's got B vitamins, it's got minerals, it's got free-formed amino acids.
And this company, Beekeeper's Natural, now makes these things like a bee propolis throat spray for your immune system for when you're traveling. They're brain fuel, which has royal jelly in it, but also ginkgo biloba, and bacopa monnieri, and all these things that help to enhance memory and performance and cognition for the brain. They've got their bee pollen, which is basically this super tasty stuff you can sprinkle on food, but it's low sugar and it's like a multivitamin. It's also fantastic for your immune system. So, don't just stop that honey when it comes to bees. You need to try this other stuff from Beekeeper's Naturals. And they also do things like cacao honey and CBD honey, and they'll mix their honey with royal jelly and propolis and pollen and it tastes absolutely amazing. So, to get all of this stuff from Beekeeper's at a 15% discount, you go to beekeepersnaturals.com/ben. That's beekeersnaturals.com/ben. And when you're there if you use code, Ben, that'll get you 15% off of anything from Beekeeper's Naturals. Now, before getting honey and bee products, you might as well get meat, too.
Now, if you want to get free filet mignon and free bacon, then here's how to do it. There's this company, it's called ButcherBox. What they do is they get grass-fed and grass-finished beef. And the grass-finished part is important. So, your beef isn't finished on things like corn and grain. They've got free-range organic chicken, heritage breed pork, tasty, wonderful wild Alaskan salmon with that crispy, crispy skin when you cook it up in your cast iron skillet. All of their meat just tastes bomb, out of sight, and it's all hormone-free, it's antibiotic-free. It's humanely raised so they're ethically treating their animals. It's just all high-quality, healthy protein, and it's affordable. They have these boxes that they curate and ship to your house. And this month, they're giving two pounds of ground beef and two packs of bacon when you go to butcherbox.com/ben and use promo code BEN at checkout, butcherbox.com/ben. Enter promo code BEN at checkout. It's going to give you $20 off your first box from ButcherBox. You will be amazed the flavor of this meat, the quality of the meat, and its guilt-free because this stuff is ethically and humanely raised. So, check them out, butcherbox.com/ben.
Ben: Alright, so not a huge issue from like an excess free radicals, from too much oxygen being breathed or something like that just to stay in there for a while.
Jason: Right. Not in the version you have. Like I said, I think what you'd see, if you could do like a gas analysis as you're in there, you'll see that the first hour and a half to two hours, you're going to see a pretty rapid increase in dissolved blood gas oxygen in your system. And then once you start pushing between two and three hours, it's really going to start leveling off, and then you're just going to be pretty close to saturation. It's not going to hurt you in that version, but at the same time, it's not a super-efficient use of time if you had other things you were trying to do besides sleep. And in different chambers, if you were in higher pressure and higher oxygen levels, that would not also be the same. You can reach levels of oxygen toxicity. And so, with different equipment and different types of chambers, that's not the same story. But in the version that you have at home, it would be safe to do that.
Ben: Okay. Got it. Now, I want to delve into some of these effects that you have alluded to. And my first question is if we know there's direct pressure to oxygen molecules–and as you highlighted earlier, that allows oxygen to cross cell membranes more readily and enter into areas it normally would enter less readily, like plasma or synovial fluid in your joints or cerebrospinal fluid or kind of like that interstitial space between the cells. There's a lot of places that oxygen can go when it's under pressure in concentration like this that it normally wouldn't go. And of course red blood cells are what we use to transport oxygen through the body. All these other body fluids can provide these alternate transfer roots for getting extra oxygen into different areas. But specifically when it comes to the red blood cells, do we see any type of effect on aerobic capacity, red blood cell production, erythropoietin production, anything from almost like an endurance or anaerobic capacity standpoint related to red blood cells?
Jason: So, there are, and we could talk about that, there are performance, if we're looking at it that way, performance enhancement effects of hyperbaric oxygen, but they don't come from red blood cell changes. So, the red blood cell adaptation, if you will, is really from a lack of oxygen. And so, that's the whole training at altitude scenario where even though air at 8,000 feet is also 21% just like I'm at sea level right now, so at sea level it's 21% and at 8,000 feet it's 21%, but the pressure is different at altitude. And because the pressure is different, there's less molecules. So, at 8,000 feet, you're looking at about a relative 16% oxygen. And so, the body recognizes that as hypoxic. And what you do is you build more red blood cells to make up for that deficiency. So, the red blood cell adaptation that we have has everything to do with hypoxia, not hyperoxia. So, because in a hyperbaric chamber, you're flooding your body with oxygen, you get other adaptations like your mitochondria recognizing the fact that there's more oxygen so that we need more mitochondria to process that, but you won't have a red blood cell reaction to that same process.
Ben: Okay. Alright, got it. So, it's more all these other fluids that are delivering oxygen to tissue. So, it'd be a little bit more of like a recovery repair type of scenario that would provide more than like a red blood cell direct effect.
Jason: Right. I mean, people use it for performance. So, the reason people, let's say on a performance side, the reason you would train at altitude to build more red blood cells would be then if you went to sea level, you have this excess oxygen-carrying capacity, right? That's the whole thought process. So, without that extra red blood cell carrying capacity, by being in a hyperbaric chamber, you are increasing your oxygen even though you're not increasing your red blood cell count. And so, you still have excessive oxygen to be used for performance, but it doesn't let you know it'll last. As you get out of the chamber, it's already dissipating. It depends on how much pressure, how much oxygen, and how long you were in the chamber, but that oxygen may stay for three to six hours, it may stay for six to nine hours, it may stay for —
Ben: So, theoretically, if you had a bunch of reading or if I were going to go through my morning research journals, I could crawl in this thing and have more oxygen for a workout if I were to do a workout mid-morning or mid-afternoon, for example?
Ben: Okay. That makes sense, that makes sense. Okay. Another piece I wanted to ask you specifically about blood is I know that hyperbaric oxygen can stimulate angiogenesis. So, that is the growth of new capillaries and can build new circulatory systems, which is one reason that vascularization can be helpful for areas that have compromised oxygen delivery, like pockets of hypoxia and damaged or injured tissue, et cetera. First of all, is that correct?
Jason: Yes, that's true.
Ben: Okay. Alright. So, do you get concerns? I interviewed Dr. William Li recently and we talked about his anti-angiogenic foundation, which looks into reduction of capillary growth to tumors, for example. Would there be any concern if one had like a pre-existing tumor or cancer or something like that in terms of angiogenesis to a tumor growth?
Jason: Twelve plus years ago when we first started getting into this, hyperbaric was on the list of contraindications for cancer. And I'd say over the last six years, especially over the last two or three years, the thought on that has changed dramatically, and a lot of that is owed to a lot of the work of Thomas Seyfried and Dom D'Agostino looking at metabolic causes of cancer. And so, the understanding would be–we just spent a weekend with them in L.A. last week.
Ben: Yeah. I saw you there at the Metabolic Health Summit.
Jason: Exactly. And that's what they were talking. The whole thing was about metabolism of cancer. One, looking at the glucose driving factors associated with cancer, but the other, the actual energy metabolism of the cell, of the cancer cell. So, bottom line is if you believe in and understand the metabolic concepts around cancer, you would say that basically, these cancer cells are dysfunctional, but they have this specific metabolic dysfunction where they don't use oxygen to make ATP anymore. So, what they're doing is they're fermenting lactose, they're using sugars, different types of sugars, and they're fermenting them anaerobically in the absence of oxygen.
And so, in this approach to cancer care, these people are doing different keto fasting to certain medications like diabetic medications like metformin and others to really try to drive blood glucose levels down, and then drive oxygen levels really high because if you basically–if a cancer cell is metabolizing sugar without oxygen, what you would be doing is you'd be starving it of the glucose, and then you'd be pushing the cell into aerobic respiration, which it can't handle. So, cells that can't adapt die. And so, if we start shifting the metabolism, we could start killing off a greater degree, naturally killing off through autophagy, naturally killing off these sort of broken and dysfunctional cells so that we could actually, at the same time, drive healthy cells. A normal healthy cell that's able to adapt actually loves this whole fat-burning ketosis, high oxygen environment.
So, you're shifting this whole environment to create what you say extraordinary discomfort for a cancer cell, and at the same time, literally feeding and nourishing healthy cells to continue to be able to adapt. So, long story short, it appears that the angiogenic effective of cancer cells has everything to do with increasing blood flow to increase glucose access, more blood vessels to deliver more sugar to make more energy. And so, the angiogenic effect of hyperbaric is about delivering more oxygen. And so, even though it's the same angiogenesis, if you're metabolically shifting the person away from glucose in the first place and you're increasing their oxygen, I wouldn't be worried at all. In fact, I would encourage using those two tools in that person versus worrying about the reason for the angiogenesis in the first place.
Ben: Okay. Alright, got it. That's good to know. Alright. So, we have formation of new blood vessels, we have the increased delivery of oxygen to a wide variety of tissues, including I know the brain, which is why this thing can be so darn effective for jet lag where you're breathing poor air and lower amounts of oxygen to TBI and concussion where you have impaired oxygen delivery to neural tissue. But then there's this fascinating antioxidant response. And I threw this term around earlier, the concept of SOD, superoxide dismutase, which is an enzyme in the cells that can deactivate free radicals or superoxides, which are some of the more destructive free radicals. And from what I understand, hyperbaric is actually somehow stimulating an upregulation or production of superoxide dismutase. Is that correct?
Jason: That is correct.
Ben: Okay. Are there any other anti-oxidant mechanisms that are affected by this?
Jason: I mean, there are–so here's the thing. People talk about the–right, it's oxygen. So, there's an oxidative reaction to hyperbaric, which is the opposite of what we're talking about here. So, the interesting thing about–it all goes back to really hormesis, right? So, can we introduce a type of a stress to the body and then have the body react in a way such that it's increasing adaptation to whatever that stresses? So, healthy stress equals healthy adaptation. Hyperbaric in many ways has this mild oxidative effect on the body. And so, the body's reaction to that is upregulation of its own natural antioxidant effect. That's why SOD is so greatly stimulated through that process.
Ben: Could you make an argument that because of that and the decrease in inflammation–because I know that that's another huge thing that you see in the literature is a very significant drop in inflammation, which from a longevity and overall chronic disease standpoint is important. But from an exercise standpoint, just like metformin or synthetic vitamin C or synthetic vitamin E or longer, like 10 plus minute periods of time in the cold, we know any of those examples can blunt the hormetic response to exercise. So, is this something that you think you wouldn't necessarily want to sit in for those couple of hours following an exercise session? Or have you seen any literature on the exercise effects of like a post-exercise hyperbaric?
Jason: So, there's no–or at least I haven't seen any research on where we place hyperbaric relative to a post-workout, its effect overall on either improved healing/decreased hormetic effect. But what I would say is yes, it absolutely reduces inflammation, and yes, because of the same mechanisms that it helps heal non-healing wounds, it's the same mechanisms that I would actually heal the damage associated with exercise. So, with exercise, we're obviously breaking tissue down purposefully with the idea that once we recover, we're faster, we're stronger, et cetera.
And so, hyperbaric would increase the healing. The question you're saying is, does it also decrease the hormetic effect? My understanding would be that there's a stimulus, and then there's a response. So, the stimulus was the exercise, and you broke that tissue down. And now the inflammatory cascade that occurs, because of that, it's all about cell signaling, that cascade is necessary for signaling a healing response. So, while hyperbaric would reduce inflammation, the way it does it is through stimulating the healing response. So, I feel pretty good about the fact that it's not going to negate the cell damage from the tissue. If you happen to do like a really hard central nervous system workout where you're really trying to exhaust the nervous system or you're pushing PRs on a regular basis, you may want to delay the hyperbaric a little bit just to allow for that full inflammatory cycle to kick in. But ultimately, you're going to want to get in there and start healing stuff so that you could do it again.
Ben: Yeah. I've mostly been using it because I'll typically do some kind of a movement session in the morning around–sometimes about 7:00 and 9:00 a.m. And then typically, I'll do a harder workout sometime between about 5:00 and 7:00 p.m. And what I've been doing is after lunch, going into the hyperbaric with all the magazines and books that I want to go through for that afternoon, and I'll combine reading and a quick nap or sometimes just crawl in there and take a nap. So, I've got it spaced kind of in between the two exercise sessions anyway just to play it safe, but I was just curious if you'd seen anything about that.
So, another question is this whole bacterial effect. And this was something I wasn't aware of until I read your book. But apparently, there is an effect in terms of the way that HBOT synergizes with antibiotics and also an effect on–from almost like a bactericidal standpoint. Meaning, a drop in certain bacteria and fungi and viruses. That was a new one for me. So, can you go into what the effect is in terms of the biome with HBOT?
Jason: Sure. So, the full effect on the immune system, more or less, besides the anti-inflammatory piece, one is that it's going to upregulate your neutrophils and macrophages. So, those are part of your white blood cells that help fight infection. So, right off the bat, and that's a short-term benefit, so right off the bat, you're going to start getting an upregulation in your own immune system's ability to fight whatever infection it needs to fight. Outside of that, like I said earlier, even in traditional medicine, they're using hyperbaric oxygen for gangrene and osteomyelitis. So, they're using it for really, really tough infections for a few reasons. One is most of these pathogens are anaerobic. Meaning, just like I was saying with cancer cells, these bacteria live without oxygen. So, they actually thrive in a low or no oxygen environment. And they grow these biofilms around them, which actually helps protect them from oxygen and medication and other things we might throw in there to try to kill the infection. So, it's almost like a wall that it builds up.
So, this hyperbaric environment actually again increases the oxygen level obviously in the body. So, that creates a higher oxygen than what these pathogens are willing to accept, but also helps to break down the actual biofilm making whatever other therapies we might be choosing for those infections much more effective. So, there's a piece of it that has to do with killing bacteria who are anaerobes. But beyond that, I would say that even less powerful anaerobes like H. pylori or C. diff that are often found, E. coli even in our intestines. So, it's the same phenomenon where as you're increasing oxygen in the body, you're making it very uncomfortable for these anaerobes to thrive. And most of our probiotic are either aerobic. Meaning, they love oxygen, high oxygen, or they're at least oxygen tolerant.
And so, as your body just starts to bathe in this increased oxygen from the hyperbaric therapy, you're basically–same thing you're feeding those healthy bacteria, you're creating an environment that helps them to thrive and to balance. So, at the same time that it's creating a high oxygen environment and making it very difficult for these anaerobes and these pathogens to live in our intestines, we are creating an environment of high oxygen, which actually makes the majority of our healthy bacteria very comfortable and to thrive in.
Ben: Okay. Alright, got it. Yeah. It's really interesting just because I know, and I don't know if I will have released it by this point, I just recently did a podcast with Matt Cook where we really explored biofilms and SIBO in great detail, and even the fact that based on some of my own recent testing, I have some biofilm issues. So, that's also been kind of a motivation for me to get into the hyperbaric. And as a matter of fact, on that last trip to L.A. where I saw you at the metabolic health summit, I went to Next Health, a clinic that I visit down there in L.A., and almost every afternoon, went in there and did what I call my trifecta. I do an NAD IV, and then I crawl in the hyperbaric, take a quick nap, get up, and do a three-and-a-half-minute cryotherapy session. And one of my motivations for doing that is I just want to kill off this biofilm as fast as possible so that hyperbaric combined with the NAD especially can be really useful.
Jason: NADs, yeah.
Ben: Yeah. Over there, they had one of the big hard shell chambers, and same thing, I crawl in that thing within like 10 minutes. I'm dead to the world, like all my body wants to do is sleep, which is for me great because I'm not one of those guys whose brain turns off that easily. Okay. So, now, how about bone? How about bone repair, bone formation? I know multiple research studies have shown this stem cell proliferation and stem cell building piece, which in and of itself is great news for anybody who doesn't want to do like a stem cell injection per se, or is in this for the anti-aging and longevity piece, but what about bone?
Jason: Yeah. Again, it's all about cell signaling, how our body is communicating once it gets stimulus of a certain kind. And so, again, this increased oxygenation in addition to the nitric oxide synthase, which they measure for almost a full day post-hyperbaric from a stem cell standpoint, such a powerful stimulator, there's a ton of growth factors, and these growth factors are the signals for healing and recovery. So, you'll get different types of regenerator cells, you'll get platelet-derived growth factors, you'll get brain-derived growth factors, glial cell-derived growth factors, VEGF. All of these are our signaling tools that our body uses to spark healing response. And so, not just fibroblasts, but also osteoblasts. So, the cells that are going to heal ligaments and tendons, but also the cells that are going to start healing bones. So, there are a few studies that I've seen looking at, let's say post-fracture and speed of recovery, and certainly show similar effect.
Ben: Now, this VEGF is one that you talked about in your book quite a bit. So, can you highlight that one and explain what the importance of that one would be?
Jason: I mean, these are all growth factors that I'm talking about, like BDNF, PDGF, VEGF, these are all things that are again signals. And so, the VEGF also has a lot of work in cancer. So, you'll see it show up so much in cancer research. And VEGF has a lot to do with the angiogenic effect. And so, when we see rising levels of VEGF, we know that one of the things that's happening is there's going to be angiogenesis, neovascularization, healing, recovery, and building of new blood vessels. And so, again, in certain circles, that sounds very scary because they recognize that as an adaptation of a cancer cell. At the same time, if you look a little bit deeper, you could also see how, in so many other ways, especially in the healing capacity or in a performance capacity, that increased vascularization is huge for oxygen delivery.
Ben: Okay. Alright, got it. Now, what about the effects on connective tissue, tendons, skin matrix? I know some people are using things like light therapy for that. Others are using peptides like thymosin beta or TB-500, or in some cases, BPC for the inflammatory component in conjunction with that. How about the effects on things like fibroblast and collagen?
Jason: Yeah. Exactly. So, the fibroblast and collagen growth are the two main mechanisms for skin healing. So, same as healing a wound, yet it doesn't have to be broken down to a point of a non-healing wound, it could simply just be loss of the typical elasticity or loss of the integrity. So, it keeps cracking or breaking, or it's the beginning of a, let's say in a chronic case like a beginning of a bedsore, but it doesn't have to be this enormous non-healing ulcer, it could just be the breaking down of skin the way we know it, and this is going to help stimulate that.
Now, we use–I love like red light, green light. We use different light therapies. In addition, by the way, we're talking about hyperbaric because we're talking about hyperbaric and I love it, but even in our clinic, we use multiple modalities. There's not a single modality that by itself does everything we needed to do. But to me, it's one of those fundamental tools because oxygen is such a fundamental nutrient that our body requires. So, when you add oxygen to peptide therapy or oxygen to red light therapy or NAD or all these other modalities, the synergy is always greater and —
Ben: Yeah. You're stacking the effect. I've found that to be useful. And I'm fully aware, by the way, for those of you listening in, like sometimes I'll throw off something I'm doing at home like a full-body pulsed electromagnetic field or PEMF table or HBOT, and I realize some of these things are a little bit spendier. And many people who listen in are health clinic owners, or people like Jason who are running health facilities, who want to add these to their facility, and I realized in a case like that, sometimes being able to monetize a purchase like this makes better sense. I'm lucky enough that as an immersive journalist, I'm kind of putting a lot of these things in my home and using them in my business to blog about and to write about and to fill others in on. I'm a voracious self-experimenter anyway, so I love to toy around with this stuff.
PEMF is another example where if I consume some type of an antioxidant supplement, or even if I'm using say like plant medicine for a journey, laying down on that PEMF table and doing a full-body or even a localized to the head PEMF treatment can amplify the effects of something like that or something like a peptide injection, for example. And when you combine some of these biohacks like doing hyperbaric along with things like certain nutrients or PEMF, you certainly get like this stacking effect that begins to make you feel just absolutely amazing. Now, regarding this whole stacking effect with HBOT, is there anything in particular that you found to be really useful as far as producing surprising effects when you administer pre or prior to hyperbaric, whether that's a treatment, an oil, a supplement, anything like that that you've found to combine really well with hyperbaric?
Jason: I mean, hands-down my favorite combination for myself is a high dose red light right before oxygen. We have a particular red bed, we call. So, a pretty high dose 10 to 12-minute red light session because of–so there's parts of the hyperbaric that could become a little vasoconstrictive. Even though you're getting more oxygen, there's a bit of a vasoconstrictive effect. And so, I love the idea of the red bed creating vasodilation, the synergy and the nitric oxide between the red light and the oxygen. So, I love that sort of pre-treating with the red bed. And then jumping into the hyperbaric chamber after that, I find that synergy to be like nothing else for me.
Ben: Yeah. Another thing I've found to be useful just because a lot of times, especially until I fall asleep inside that thing, I focus on really deep, deep breathwork just to get a little bit of extra oxygen delivered. And this would be kind of a proceed at your own risk because you're zipped up in there by yourself in case you pass out. There could be risk, but I've done holotropic breathwork sessions inside the hyperbaric chamber. One of the ideas is that that was originally created by Stanislav Grof I believe as a way to get a lot of the effects from a DMT standpoint and a brain standpoint is something like the use of LSD.
And I've always noticed the ability to be able to kind of like journey or merge left and right hemispheres of the brain far more easily during one of these hour-long hyperbaric sessions that I do. But I started doing sessions like that, and even shorter breathwork sessions that–my friend has been on his podcast before, Niraj, he has this wonderful 21-day SOMA breathwork program. And I have a bunch of audios on my phone that I've downloaded to my phone. So, I'll put my phone in airplane mode and go in there and do this breathwork. But man, doing the holotropic breathwork, yeah, inside the hyperbaric, absolute game-changer.
Then the other thing that I do in there is–there's another doc who's been on this podcast before. He makes these essential oils for specific purposes. He has one called Inspire that opens up your lungs, and it's got the things you would expect like peppermint and rosemary, and I believe there's a little bit of cinnamon in there and some very uplifting, lung opening kind of oils. And I'll sprinkle some of that in there and get in there and do breathwork and it's absolutely amazing.
Jason: Let me just add to that. So, also if you happen to do breathwork and you're doing breath-holds, I think you'd be also amazed to see how long after you've been in the chamber for a bit —
Ben: Oh, I've gone almost six minutes at the end of a holotropic breathwork session inside the whole thing.
Jason: Yeah. Exactly. Now, let me just add to that too just for you personally, but also for your listeners. You cannot hold your breath when you're transitioning between pressure. So, it takes five or eight minutes to get to pressure and it might take another five minutes to get down from pressure. You know what I'm saying, when you're at pressure like you know you're at four-and-a-half PSI? You can do whatever you want at pressure, okay, because once you're at pressure, your airways are already equalized, but you cannot hold your breath, let's say at pressure.
Ben: Because you're not going to equalize?
Jason: Exactly. And then let the air out. So, just make sure that during transitional periods, going the initial pressurization and the depressurization, you breathe normally throughout those transition periods. But once you're at pressure, you could do whatever you want, just for you for safety. I just want to make sure.
Ben: Yeah. That makes perfect sense. Okay. Cool. And speaking of safety, tell me if this is a myth because someone found out that my kids go in there to lay around and read books, and they absolutely love it. They love to zip themselves up and do the hyperbaric. I think it's wonderful for them based on everything that I've seen, but someone told me that there is risk of spontaneous combustion if you have something like a phone in there and it throws off a spark, or if you have pieces of paper such as a book that are rubbing together, and that you could literally, kind of like that movie, “Deadpool,” just blow the whole thing up. Is this a concern?
Jason: Yeah. I cover so many, right? I think that's one of the reasons that hyperbaric never really got the understanding recognition until now that it pretty well deserves I think, is that there's just so many myths around hyperbaric. We could do a whole podcast just on that. But understand this, there's no risk of, in other words, rubbing paper together right now in your house. You're at 21% oxygen. You could light a lighter at 21% oxygen. It's going to burn because it's 2% oxygen, but it's not any more risk in or out. So, inside that chamber, you're still 21% oxygen. You're compressing with 21% oxygen. The risk is in a hospital setting, when you're at 100% oxygen and your entire environment that you're bathing in is 100% oxygen, you're literally the equivalent of being inside a green tank of oxygen. Oxygen is not flammable, it's an accelerant. So, you need something to be that initial sort of trigger anyway, but in a hospital setting, you're wearing very special clothing, you can't bring anything in there. It's a very regularized area because of if there were a spark in that chamber, that could happen for sure.
Ben: Okay. So, that's kind of trickled down from the bigger hospital setting.
Ben: Okay. Any other risks that folks should be aware of when using one of these things or contraindications?
Jason: I mean, the main contraindication, especially when we're talking soft chamber stuff, is just pneumothorax, right? If you have an air space, which is a [01:03:10] ______ basically, if you have an airspace that you cannot equalize, you can't go to pressure. You'll never be able to get that particular airspace properly equalized with the environment. So, you might see over time too, Ben, if you ever have like a little allergy or congestion or something, you're going to have a hard time clearing your ears. The whole thing is about can you equalize with your new environment in your air spaces, which is basically your lungs–for the most part, your lungs and your ears. We have other airspaces too, but they tend to equalize pretty easily.
So, if you have a lot of ear pain, back off. It's just not worth it. Go back tomorrow or go out, do a sinus rinse and try it again if you want. But as long as you're equalizing and you don't have any other issues, there's really very few absolute contraindications the way pneumothorax would be, but there are some relative like clearing your ears. There's certain chemo drugs that–actually, their mechanism works on superoxide dismutase primarily. So, those are contraindicated, especially for high pressure. But generally speaking, the equivalent, just so you know, the equivalent of the pressure that you're in is about nine, somewhere between nine and ten feet underwater. That's the amount of pressure. So, as long as you feel comfortable like, “Hey, I can get to 10 feet of water. I can go the deep end of a pool without a problem,” you're going to be fine.
Ben: Okay. So, basically, the main things we would be looking at would be for someone who's injured, oxygen delivery to tissue to speed return to pre-injury activity levels, and for people looking at it from the performance standpoint, obviously, you get the increase in ATP synthesis from the hyperoxygenation and a removal more of the metabolic byproducts that build up within tissue. But then you would also potentially get like the mitochondrial and stem cell and blood vessel proliferation response. And then if folks were sick, if we're talking about autoimmunity like MS or Crohn's or inflammatory arthritis, you're looking at the anti-inflammatory component. If it's the case of the nerves, like you were talking, who was it? Did you say it was your brother who had —
Jason: It was me with the initial neuropathy, and then my stepdad with the [01:05:28] ______.
Ben: Oh, your stepdad, yeah. So, with the nerves, it's actually allowing for repair of damaged nerves in the case of neurological conditions such as that or even something like Parkinson's or concussion or TBI. And then in the case of again healing or recovery, we've got the stem cells, post-surgical recovery, things like that. And then finally, what you brought up earlier, the immune system component, food with lyme, SIBO, C. diff., et cetera. Basically, you're giving aerobes, the necessary oxygen for life, while allowing for killing off of pathogens. I think those are the main benefits that I think I came across in your book and that I've discovered thus far. Did I sum it up pretty well?
Jason: I think that's a great summary. The only other thing I would add to that is on the performance side–because we often look at the physical performance, but we don't often talk about the mental performance. And so, they're studying now out of Israel especially, [01:06:24] ______, who's done a lot of research on hyperbaric. The mental or sort of a brain performance effect of hyperoxygenation. So, we know that the brain uses up about 20% of the body's oxygen. So, the question becomes, is that 20% the total amount that the brain requires to function the way that we want it to or is that the total amount the body allows the brain to have because the body needs so much also on any given minute for each performance? And so, what they do now is they're studying dual tasking, so complex motor, like complex movement patterns with complex mental acuity tests, the combination. Watching that with increased oxygenation, these folks are able to perform more complex motor and more complex mental tests.
Ben: Interesting. Okay.
Jason: Pretty consistently across the board.
Ben: Yeah. I haven't messed around too much with using like nootropics or something like that just because honestly, I'm sleeping inside the thing and don't want to spark up my brain prior to sleep, but off to mess around with that a little bit. Now, what about exercise with oxygen therapy? I was actually doing that this morning. I did an exercise with oxygen therapy session on the Vasper, where I breathe the pure oxygen and cycle between that and hypoxia using, in this case, one of those LiveO2 machines. What would be the difference? Because they will make claims that this thing will simulate, that doing exercise with oxygen therapy would simulate a hyperbaric, and thus, remove the need for crawling inside of a chamber. And I'm curious what your thoughts are on the whole hyperbaric versus the EWOT, or the exercise with oxygen therapy scenario.
Jason: Yeah. So, I get that question a lot. I love hyperbaric obviously, but I love oxygen modalities. I like EWOT, I like Ozone. I'm not a purist when it comes to oxygen saying hyperbaric is the only one that works. It's just again different tools for different goals and different purposes. So, I think the biggest difference just for people to understand is that with EWOT, what you're doing is you're exercising. As you exercise, you're using up more oxygen. And then instead of breathing 21% oxygen the way we all are right now, you're breathing maybe 95%, 98% oxygen. So, basically, you're increasing the demand through exercise. So, you're utilizing a much higher degree of oxygen and you're increasing supply. So, as you increase demand and supply, you're going to turn over a lot more oxygen in that process than you would if you were just breathing normal ambient air while you're exercising.
So, from an oxygen delivery standpoint, I think it's great. The biggest difference is that you're still relying completely on red blood cells to do that work. So, in order for this to work, you have to deplete your red blood cells and have them cycle through. And with hyperbaric, first of all, it's passive. So, depending on the issues, some people can't do the mobility that they need to get EWOT to be performing optimally. So, hyperbaric is–obviously, it's a passive therapy. You're just laying there and breathing. But more than that, it's also bypassing the red blood cells and increasing your oxygen just by pure diffusion.
Ben: Okay, okay. That makes sense. And plus, I guess for people who can't exercise obviously, or who are repairing an injury, the EDOT might be a little bit more difficult to pull off. Okay. Cool. There's ton of stuff here. And your book really delves even more deeply into the science. It's a really good manual. For those of you who want to wrap your heads around this even more, the book is called, “Oxygen Under Pressure,” and you can get it on Amazon. And then also, I know the folks at HBOT USA, Jason's company, they've worked out some discounts and some ways for you to get your hands on a hyperbaric soft shell chamber for your home that might allow you to overcome any of the price point issues.
So, if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbot, that's where you can get a special offer for one of these softshell chambers for your own home or for your clinic, or to even just find a practitioner who has one of the soft shells if you want to go try it a few times before getting one for yourself. And then also, all the shownotes for everything we talked about, studies, Jason's book, everything, I'm going to link to if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbotpodcast. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbotpodcast. Aside from that, I think that covers most of what I wanted to ask you, Jason. Is there anything else you want to throw in there?
Jason: I think it's a great summary for people just getting started. We do have a channel for YouTube, HBOT USA. We put out a few videos pretty regularly. So, for people just looking and learning and wanting more, there's probably some content there that they could latch onto and keep their education going.
Ben: Okay. Awesome, awesome. Alright, folks. Well, I hope this has been helpful. For those of you who needed to kind of wrap your head around HBOT, how it works, what it is, and how to use it properly, so again shownotes are at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbotpodcast. And then you can get your hands on one of these chambers if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/hbot. Jason, thanks so much for coming on and sharing all this stuff with us, man.
Jason: Oh, of course, Ben, man. Thanks for having me on the show.
Ben: Alright, folks, I'm Ben Greenfield along with Jason Sonners signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Check out this hyperbaric thing. It's absolutely amazing. It's been a game-changer for me and until next time. Have an amazing week.
Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned, over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also know that all the links, all the promo codes that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. So, when you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that they generate because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.
I've recently become a huge fan of something called “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy” treatment.
After getting an HBOT USA softshell unit for my home (the Vitaeris 320 model), I've been in it every day for 40-60 minutes for reading or napping, and it's become a complete game-changer in my personal recovery and health protocol.
You can read more in my guest's new book “Oxygen Under Pressure: Using Hyperbaric Oxygen to Restore Health, Reduce Inflammation, Reverse Aging and Revolutionize Health Care,” but the benefits include:
- Hyperoxygenation: The delivery of 100% oxygen under pressure (1.5 to 3 ATA) within the hyperbaric chamber provides up to 20 times normal oxygen to all tissues within the body. This oxygen supersaturation is in marked contrast to breathing room air (21% oxygen at 1 ATA).
- Direct Pressure to Oxygen Molecules: Inside the hyperbaric chamber, oxygen molecules are compressed and become more soluble, obeying the scientific principles of Boyle’s Universal Gas Law. This phenomenon allows oxygen to effortlessly cross cell membranes and enter all of the body’s fluid systems, including plasma, synovial, lymphatic, interstitial (between cells) and cerebrospinal fluids. Normally, only the red blood cells are capable of transporting oxygen throughout the body. Now, all body fluids combine to provide alternate transport routes for extra oxygen and cumulatively can provide up to 20 times normal O2.
- Bactericidal Ammunition – Aids in Killing Bacteria:Conditions created within the hyperbaric oxygen chamber are not favorable for the viability of bacteria, fungi, and viruses – organisms that cannot survive in an oxygen-rich environment. Extra oxygen is provided to the white blood cells (leukocytes) which become supercharged in the battle against bacteria responsible for causing infection and illness.
- Angiogenesis – The Formation of New Blood Vessels: Hyperbaric Oxygen stimulates the body to grow new capillaries (angiogenesis), essentially building a new collateral circulatory system to serve injured and healthy tissues alike. The resulting neovascularization is extremely helpful for reaching tissues and organs that have restricted blood flow (ischemic areas) as well as areas of the body that are lacking or compromised in available oxygen (hypoxic areas).
- Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) Stimulation – A Surge of Antioxidant Capabilities: Superoxide Dismutase (SOD) is an important enzyme found in human cells that inactivates superoxides, the most common free radicals in the body, responsible for the destruction of cells. Hyperbaric Oxygen stimulates SOD production thereby helping the body to rid itself of the byproducts of inflammation and damaging free radicals.
- Synergy With Antibiotics: Hyperbaric Oxygen has been proven to create a synergistic effect when administered in conjunction with certain antibiotics. Synergy can be understood as two or more agents working together to produce a result not obtainable by any of the agents independently. Administration of HBOT biomechanically potentiates the effectiveness of antibiotic therapy. The capabilities of sulfonamides are increased up to ten-fold when HBOT is added. Increased oxygen levels from HBOT alone also act as antibiotics by impairing bacterial metabolism.
- Improves Osteoblast and Osteoclast Production: Faster regeneration of bone is derived by hyperbaric oxygen’s ability to stimulate and increase the production of specialized cells (osteoblasts and osteoclasts) responsible for bone repair and formation.
- Increases Fibroblast and Collagen Production: These essential building blocks of connective-tissue, tendon and skin matrix (fibroblasts and collagen) provide the structural framework throughout the body and play a critical role in wound healing. Fibroblast and collagen reproduction and growth are aided by the added availability of increased oxygen provided during hyperbaric conditions.
- Decreases Inflammation:Inflammation, one of the most common mechanisms of disease and injury, is caused by biochemical byproducts that are manufactured by the body’s natural immune response. Hyperbaric oxygen markedly decreases inflammation by stimulating the body’s own anti-inflammatory defenses. This may be the single most important function of HBOT.
This podcast is all about HBOT. Jason Sonners DC, DIBAK, DCBCN is the owner and clinic director of Core Therapies Family Wellness Center, New Jersey Hyperbaric Oxygen Center, and HBOT USA Corp. As the owner and one of the doctors at Core Therapies, Dr. Sonners primarily practices functional medicine, taking on complex cases including autoimmune conditions, chronic inflammation, and neurologic dysfunction and using treatment methods to help improve function and tap into the body’s innate ability to heal. He uses nutrition, detoxification, hyperbaric oxygen, and herbal therapies to improve the health and quality of life for his patients. Dr. Sonners works with families all over the country helping them find answers to their toughest health questions.
As the clinical director of New Jersey HBOT and HBOT USA, Dr. Jason Sonners utilizes hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for many of his chronic patients and helps get hyperbaric oxygen both into the homes of patients in need as well into the offices of doctors who want to build hyperbaric therapy clinics.
Dr. Sonners is on the faculty for the Medical Academy of Pediatric and Special Needs (MedMAPS) as well as the International Hyperbaric Association (IHA) educating other doctors on alternative and complementary treatment methods. He also lectures for various functional medicine conferences around the country talking about the use of nutrition, fasting, red light therapy, and hyperbaric oxygen in helping the chronic illnesses plaguing our country.
During our discussion, you'll discover:
-What HBOT is, and how Jason began using it…10:22
- Herniated disk and injured foot; suffered drop foot for 18 months as a result
- Several months of HBOTled to full recovery
- Jason's father had amazing improvements in his MS after HBOT
- Eventually implemented it in his clinic
- What is HBOT?
- Hyperbaric = increased pressure
- Air is 21% oxygen
- Add varying amounts of pressure and oxygen to create different “doses”
- Used traditionally in hospitals for more severe conditions: gangrene, radiation burns, diabetic neuropathy, etc.
- How HBOTassists w/ wound care:
- Trauma, infection damages micro-circulation (in the capillaries)
- Hyperbaric oxygen can get into areas of the body that are oxygen-starved
- HBOT is able to bypass the red blood cells and inject oxygen into the plasma; much more expedient delivery mechanism
-Various delivery mechanisms and how much oxygen one needs using HBOT…18:20
- All gases move in gradient (high to low pressure)
- A pressurized environment causes the pressure in your body to increase
- The more pressure you're exposed to, and higher percentages of oxygen, the larger the gradient of pressure
- Oxygen concentrator increases the amount of oxygen you're breathing in (and that's pressurized in an HBOT chamber)
- HBOT chambers in hospitals can have 100% oxygen inside
- 3 types of chambers:
- Hospital-grade (~$200k + cost of oxygen)
- Hard chamber ($90-100k)
- Home model ($15-22k)
-Actual use frequency and volume of an HBOT chamber…22:42
- Match the right tool to your goals
- Short-term benefits:
- Increase in oxygenation
- More ATP production
- Some immune activation
- Long-term benefits:
- Superoxide dismutase increase
- Body begins replicating mitochondrial content
- Increase in stem cells
- Rebuilding blood vessels
- Antimicrobial benefits
- Stem cell proliferation study
- Front-load the therapy for the most efficacy in therapy (first 3-5 months), then space it out
- Sessions range from 60-120 minutes
- There is a point of diminishing returns
- Extra oxygen stimulates parasympathetic nervous system (increased relaxation)
-The effects of HBOT on aerobic or endurance activity…35:23
- Performance-enhancing effects do not come from red blood cell changes
- Red blood cell adaptation has to do w/ hypoxia, not hyperoxia
-How HBOT promotes angiogenesis when cancer cells are present…38:04
- BGF podcast w/ Dr. William Li
- The understanding of the metabolism of cancer has changed in recent years
- Cancer cells don't use oxygen to make ATP
- Drive blood glucose levels down, oxygen levels high
- Starve cancer cells, while nourishing healthy cells
- Bottom line: Angiogenesis isn't the concern
-Antioxidant mechanisms affected by HBOT…42:35
- Superoxide dismutase (SODS) upregulation is stimulated by HBOT
- Hormesis: induce stress to the body, produce an adaptation
-The effect of HBOT on bacterial growth in the microbiome…47:11
- Upregulation in your own immune system:
- HBOTwill affect neutrophils and macrophages
- Used on anaerobic pathogens (serious infections)
- Environment of high oxygen is conducive for healthy bacteria to thrive
- Watch out for a new BGF podcast w/ Dr. Matt Cook!
-How HBOT works with bone repair and formation…51:25
- It's all about cell signaling
- Growth factors are the signals for healing and recovery
- Regenerator cells
- Platelet derived growth factors
- Vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) promotes angiogenesis
- HBOTis one of many modalities used for healing
-Treatments that work well in conjunction w/ HBOT…57:07
- High-dose red light right before HBOT
- Synergy between red light and oxygen
- Ben uses holotropic breathwork
- BGF podcast w/ Dr. Nick Berryof Essential Oil Wizardry
- Nick's Essential Oil Wizardry“Inspire” Oil
- Do not hold your breath while transitioning between pressure
-Safety concerns w/ HBOT chambers…1:01:05
- The risk is when there's 100% oxygen, not a home chamber
- Oxygen is not flammable, it's an accelerant
- Pneumothorax (collapsed lung) will be problematic in an HBOTchamber
- Don't do w/ ear pain
- The pressure you're in is equivalent to being 10 feet under water
-How HBOT affects mental performance…1:06:10
-HBOT vs. exercise w/ oxygen therapy (EWOT)…1:07:31
-And much more…
Resources from this episode:
– Book: Oxygen Under Pressure by Jason Sonners
– Dr. Nick's Essential Oil Wizardry “Inspire” Oil
– JOOVV Red Light Therapy
– LiveO2 for EWOT
– BGF podcasts mentioned:
- Sebastian Wasowski of Vasper Co.
- Nick Berry of Essential Oil Wizardry
- Niraj Naik, The Renegade Pharmacist
- William Li
–Kion Serum: Use Kion Serum anywhere you’d like for more vibrant, youthful skin and hair. BGF listeners, receive a 20% discount off your order when you use discount code: BGF20
–JOOVV: After using the Joovv for close to 2 years, it's the only light therapy device I'd ever recommend. Give it a try: you won't be disappointed. Order using my link and receive my brand new book, Boundless absolutely free! (While supplies last)
–Beekeeper's Naturals: A wellness company specializing in innovative nutraceuticals made from healing hive compounds and plant-based ingredients. Get 15% off your order when you use discount code: BEN
–ButcherBox: Delivers healthy 100% grass-fed and finished beef, free-range organic chicken, and heritage breed pork directly to your door on a monthly basis. All their products are humanely raised and NEVER given antibiotics or hormones. For 2 lbs of 100% grass-fed beef and 2 lbs of pure bacon for FREE, PLUS $20 off your first box enter promo code: BEN20 at checkout.