Can HBOT Treat Alzheimer’s Disease? Oxygen Therapy For Mitochondrial Dysfunction

  • Neurology
  • Alzheimer's - HBOT
  • February 10, 2023

Mitochondrial dysfunction is one of the hallmark traits of Alzheimer's disease. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy may help.

Oxygen Therapy For Alzheimer’s

Plaque buildup in the brain is commonly associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Known to cause some of the worst health outcomes, Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia. Although research is preliminary, hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been shown to slow down or even reverse the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Oxygen therapy offers a glimmer of hope for patients and caregivers affected by this difficult progressive disease.

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A breath of fresh, pure air

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy provides patients with pure oxygen through a pressurized chamber. The treatment is commonly used to treat decompression sickness, severe infections, air bubbles in blood vessels, and slow-healing wounds. In the pressurized chamber, air pressure is 2-3 times higher than normal. In this environment, the patient’s lungs can absorb more oxygen than usual, providing tissues and the brain with the proper oxygen levels.

Go with the blood flow

In patients with Alzheimer’s, blood flow to the brain is low, which is believed to be a major factor in the death of nerve cells. Additionally, the amyloid protein can build up around nerve cells and the walls of blood vessels in the brain. Amyloid can damage blood vessels, reducing blood flow in the brain. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a promising option that may improve cognitive performance and reduce brain hypoxia.

What’s mitochondria got to do with it?

Most of the body’s oxygen is consumed by mitochondria. These organelles produce most of the chemical energy needed to perform many biological processes, including hormone and neurotransmitter production. Mitochondria is also critical in making proteins, the building blocks of the body. Mitochondrial dysfunction in the form of reactive oxygen species (ROS), impairment in neuronal intracellular calcium, and reduced adenosine triphosphate (ATP) can cause Alzheimer’s.

Oxygen therapy improves cellular health

Research suggests that restoring mitochondrial function through several approaches can delay the onset and slow the progression of the disease. When done consistently, HBOT increases the formation of ATP by improving cellular respiration and repairing damaged mitochondria. Hyperbaric oxygen therapy also reduces the production of ROS, promotes neuroprotection, and increases antioxidant defense mechanisms.

HBOT to the rescue

Modern treatments for Alzheimer’s can only fractionally slow the progression of the disease. Oxygen therapy has shown promising results in improving oxidative stress, neuroinflammation, mitochondrial function, brain blood volume, and protein synthesis. Researchers are now focused on the long-term effects and safety of oxygen therapy for treating Alzheimer’s disease.

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