Manfred von Ardenne, Ph.D., a student of Otto Warburg, published his clinical research on oxygen training in his treatise Oxygen Multistep Therapy. This detailed East German research was done by a company with 500 hundred employees with specifically detailed oxygen training.
Dr. von Ardenne presented what he called a “positive feedback loop” with a reversible switching mechanism taking place in the endothelial cells of the capillaries. The “positive feedback loop” described how the low oxygenation situation becomes magnified and worsens. It was from this viewpoint that von Ardenne provided clinically significant protocols for the optimal reversal and thus undoing of the positive feedback loop typically associated with the decline of health.
The positive feedback loop Dr. von Ardenne described is seen within the continuous speeding up of the circulatory system decline found predominately in the second half of life. It is the positive feedback loop, where the rate of the process accelerates until the weakest link of the individual produces an event. Ultimately that event will be death, but even death can be preceded by degradation of any number of health issues.
Von Ardenne’s research showed is that the lining of the capillaries has an endothelial switching mechanism. This switching mechanism is both fluid and reversible. There is a defined time frame of decline that without correction will ultimately manifest in disease. But most significant and important, there is a specific oxygen training that when performed consistently, can result in complete or significant reversal of the endothelial cell capillary inflammation and halting of the positive feedback loop causing health decline.
The downside of this positive feedback loop is that long-term low tissue oxygenation will generate an increasing multitude of negative effects in the body. The feedback loop will cause a greater intensity of the same problem as a result of being stimulated.
Why is this important? Because vasoconstriction, low oxygenation without vasodilation of the vessels by the endothelial cells, systemically controls blood pressure, inflammation, and repair of injured organs. With the primary oxygen deficiency, the endothelial cells of the venous side of the capillary system begin to swell and enlarge as oxygen deficiency develops in the cells of the vessel walls.
It is this swelling of the endothelial cells that limits and ultimately can prohibit the normal capillary function and blood flow. The problem originally manifests at the start of the venous end of the capillary as it is the most susceptible to lowered oxygen levels. The narrowing of the capillary vessels reduces blood flow and thus increases the viscosity of blood due to stagnation.
From von Ardenne’s research, it is apparent that the pathology of oxygen deficiency sets the positive feedback loop into signaling the endothelial cells to change their shape, which in turn creates poor circulation, chronic inflammation, and edema in the body. Or in other words, a primary oxygen deficiency over time becomes an increasingly reinforced pattern within the circulatory system of the body.
This sequence of events is the pattern that takes place, in most cases, years before evidence of disease in the body. Specifically, at first, the body adapts to metabolic changes but then it becomes overwhelmed ultimately showing up in various health conditions.
According to von Ardenne, the appearance and progression of a disease is nothing more than the acceleration of the positive feedback loop beginning years ago in the venous ends of the capillaries. First, by understanding the normal physiology of the capillary vessels, we can grasp what is happening. The capillary blood vessels demand that red blood cells often must travel in a single file. The smallest endothelial cell-lined capillaries of the body range in diameter from 5 to 10 micrometers. A red blood cell ranges in diameter of 6.2-8.2 microns. These are the normal tolerances of capillary blood flow.
As such, it often is required that the red blood cell deforms by elongating or folding to pass through the smallest diameters of the capillary. With this in mind, the deviation between flow with minimal resistance (good health) and flow that is impeded (poor health) in terms of the capillary vessel size is minuscule, +/- 0.6 microns (0.0006 mm).
In the cases of poor or impeded flow, there is little to no capillary exchange of oxygen for the tissues as well as little to no absorption of CO2 from the tissues. The result is a decrease in pH in the tissues, which is normally advantageous for oxygen exchange into the tissues. Here this is of no help because the condition is due to a lack of circulation caused by endothelial cell inflammation. The inflammation causes the oxygen deficiency to remain in gridlock until oxygenated blood flow is restored through the entire capillary exchange of the tissue.
Out of necessity, the tissue does have the ability to survive during these times when oxygen delivery to cells is not sufficient. However, this method of producing energy is far from optimal. To understand this mechanism, we first need to know that aerobic metabolism is supported by oxygen. There are three parts of aerobic metabolism: glycolysis, the Krebs cycle, and the electron transport chain. Together they comprise the major energy mechanism, aerobic respiration, which utilizes oxygen during normal metabolism.
The key end products are ATP and carbon dioxide (CO2). The ATP provides cells with energy for synthesis and replication while the CO2 stimulates oxygen delivery and breathing. For each molecule of glucose completely oxidized during aerobic metabolism, the net number of ATP molecules theoretically obtained is 38. There is a lower state of energy production produced by anaerobic (without oxygen) metabolism. Anaerobic metabolism only produces two ATP molecules per glucose molecule consumed.
However, it is also an unsustainable cycle because the lactic acid produced during anaerobic metabolism will go from the tissues to the liver to undergo recycling (gluconeogenesis) in what is known as the Cori cycle. This process actually consumes six ATP molecules for each lactic acid molecule converted. Thus, the ATP production of the Cori Cycle produces a net loss of four ATP molecules to produce each molecule of glucose. This is a long-term energy catastrophic debt. Therefore, our energy abundance or deficit in our body is determined by our capacity to maintain aerobic respiration. Put simply: Cellular oxygenation is the origin of health. Lose it and we go into energy deficit.
Dr. von Ardenne intensely studied the mechanism to restore the oxygen flow through these chronically inflamed capillaries with the goal of restoring the aerobic respiration of the body. This discovery is found in the body’s ability to utilize oxygen above and beyond its consumption rate. Through research, von Ardenne determined that the partial pressure of oxygen at the venous capillary end (PO2-ven) was of critical importance to monitor the threshold at which a switching mechanism would result in positive changes to the endothelial cells.
Also, there are PO2-ven differences within the body systems which show that the body tissues have a variable priority and differentiated need for oxygen. Overall, if the determined normal PO2-ven thresholds are not being achieved regularly then a loss of functionality of that tissue or organ will increase over time if the normalization events lengthen or cease to take place.
The key to resolving low PO2-ven values is to increase the arterial oxygen (PO2-art) to levels beyond what is generally obtainable even in youth. This is found in the art of balancing between aerobic and anaerobic exercise. Too little effort and you don’t reach a beneficial PO2-art. Too much effort and areas of your body shift over to anaerobic respiration which you must further recover from through aerobic respiration.
If you have ever started an exercise regime and then gave up exhausted, after a few weeks or less, you have seen the experience of being trapped in the positive feedback loop. The guiding principle is seen as long as the oxygen demand does not exceed the oxygen supply, PO2-art (oxygen partial pressure oxygen of arterial capillaries) can be raised to levels otherwise unobtainable (above 140mmHg) and PO2-ven levels can be elevated (above 60mmHg) to satisfy even the most demanding requirement of specialized tissues in the body. This is done by Dr. von Ardenne’s process to clinically elucidate the series of events that allow the endothelial cells to not just partially open but to go above and beyond and open completely in order to allow the maximum blood flow (carrying oxygen) into the capillaries. When PO2-art levels measuring in excess of 140mmHg, even in some participants age 75, von Ardenne’s protocols are able to substantially increase PO2-ven levels during the session to therapeutically reduce endothelial cell swelling. The reversible switch in the endothelial cells is the key component to oxygenating the surrounding tissues as it allows blood flow to re-enter the capillary.
Above and beyond any other oxidative researcher of this century, Dr. von Ardenne understood that the delivery of oxygen in the body is an event controlled by microcirculation. This is contrary to most theories that place primary focus on the heart, lungs, blood, or the oxygen itself. In all truthfulness, they are the major players but the endothelial cells are the gatekeeper. When one sees the simplicity of exercised with oxygen (EWOT) and the more advanced Adaptive Contrast systems, one can go about regaining health.