Scientific Highlights

When you bring up breathing for better health, it immediately gets put into the “woo-woo,” pseudo-science category. However, I have been pleasantly surprised to discover so many articles written on different aspects of breathing. There are an endless number of connections to be made between breathing and diabetes throughout the literature. Each of the categories below have summaries of key articles I have read, along my attempt at making some of these connections.

If you want to skip the nerdy science, I have consolidated everything I have learned into the Three Breathing Principles. Enjoy!

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Science Highlights by Category

All Articles by Publication Date

Total Articles Reviewed: 76
Last Updated: 6 October 2019

Below are all of the best articles I have reviewed, listed in reverse chronological order (newest first) based on the date the article was published. Scroll through and pick one that interests you. You might find something “new” that was published decades ago!


- Slow breathing could potentially promote deep, restorative sleep
- How slow breathing improves physiological and psychological well-being (hint: it might be in your nose)


- Hypoxia has positive impacts on insulin and blood glucose levels while also increasing energy expenditure
- Slow breathing improves blood sugar by reducing body’s endogenous production of glucose
- Slow breathing improves autonomic function in type 1 diabetics
- Breathing center in brain has powerful effects on higher-order brain functions…calm yourself by breathing slowly
- Controlled breathing lowers sympathetic activity, even when performed at a relatively fast pace
- Breathe slowly (and pause) to improve heart rate variability
- Treat & reverse the root cause of diabetic complications (tissue hypoxia) with slow breathing
- Intermittent hypoxia is beneficial in sedentary, non-athletic, and clinical populations
- Intermittent hypoxia increases brain blood flow by 20%
- Diaphragmatic breathing improves subjective and physiological indicators of anxiety


- “Spit out” inflammation with Yogic breathing
- A pivotal paper: The fundamental roles of the breathing and cardiovascular systems in diabetes
- Slow breathing restores autonomic function in type 2 diabetics with severe complications
- Oxygen administration increases arterial stiffness in type-1 diabetics


- Nitric oxide carried by the red blood cells is essential for blood flow regulation and whole-body oxygenation
- NO is essential for blood flow and tissue oxygenation (again!)
- The saliva produced during yogic breathing beneficial to health


- 3-15 cycles/day of intermittent hypoxia elicits therapeutic benefits for the heart, autonomic nervous system, immune system, glycemic control, & more
- Balance your breathing: equal inhales and exhales for better heart rate variability
- Inhalation-to-exhalation ratio plays key role in relaxation and heart rate variability
- The many important roles of the nose during sleep


- Relaxation breathing significantly lowers blood sugar after an oral glucose tolerance test
- Sleeping in moderate hypoxia decreases weight and fasting blood sugars
- Slow breathing decreases blood pressure and increases heart rate variability in hypertensive diabetics
- One session of intermittent hypoxia induces positive adaptations in type 1 diabetics


- Hypoxic, intermittent exercise improves insulin sensitivity and beta cell function in type 2 diabetics
- Moderate exercise in hypoxia improves insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics
- Diaphragmatic breathing improves antioxidant status & HbA1c in type 2 diabetics
- Daily practice of slow breathing leads to higher resting heart rate variability


- Diaphragmatic breathing reduces oxidative stress in athletes after exhaustive exercise
- Diaphragmatic breathing increases insulin, lowers blood sugar, and reduces oxidative stress
- Resting or exercising in moderate hypoxia increases insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics
- Intermittent hypoxia improves the innate immune system and has a net anti-inflammatory effect
- Autonomic function can be restored by slow breathing even after a long-duration of diabetes
- Slow breathing improves autonomic function to same extent as oxygen administration


- Slow breathing decreases blood pressure, heart rate, and sympathetic nerve activity in mildly hypertensive patients


- Diaphragmatic breathing lowers HbA1c by up to 2%
- Slow breathing improves blood pressure in hypertensive type II diabetics
- Intermittent hypoxic training improves cardiovascular, autonomic, and respiratory control in COPD


- A sitting breathing exercise lowers the blood sugar of type 2 diabetics following a meal
- More evidence that CO2 biofeedback reduces panic disorder through reducing breathing rate and volume
- Slow breathing reduces sympathetic activity and improves autonomic function in COPD


- Breathing slowly reduces blood pressure, natural breathing rate, and sympathetic activity


- Resting breathing rate is associated with resting sympathetic activity
- Inhaled nitric oxide has positive impacts outside of the lungs in peripheral areas of the body
- Hyperbaric oxygen significantly lowers blood sugar in diabetic subjects
- Slow breathing is the best “workout” for your autonomic nervous system


- Two minutes of slow breathing restores autonomic and respiratory balance


- High HbA1c in diabetics negatively impacts blood flow regulation and tissue oxygenation mechanisms of nitric oxide
- Relaxation improves HbA1c to a greater extent than moderate exercise
- Even short bouts of high blood sugar significantly increase oxidative stress
- Slow breathing for less than 5 min/day reduces blood pressure
- Reduce blood pressure easily, without negative side effects, using slow breathing
- Biofeedback improves panic disorder by reducing breathing rate and increasing CO2


- Mouth breathing during sleep significantly increases upper airway resistance and obstructive sleep apnea


- Diabetics have less bioavailable NO due to high blood sugars
- Slow breathing combined with mouth tape at night might be the key to preventing and/or treating hypertension


- Ten minutes of slow breathing significantly reduces blood pressure
- Excessive sighing might explain low CO2 in panic disorder


- The sympathetic nervous system increases glucose production directly and indirectly
- Nasal breathing during sleep potentially increases circulating nitric oxide
- Obstructive sleep apnea significantly reduces circulating nitric oxide
- The protective role of nitric oxide during adaptation to hypoxia


- Intermittent hypoxia increases production and storage of nitric oxide


- Breathing and relaxation reduces heart rate and breathing rate in heart attack patients
- Slow breathing reduces spontaneous breathing rate, increases resting oxygen saturation, and improves exercise performance in chronic heart failure patients


- Obstructive sleep apnea causes hypertension


- Slow, controlled breathing improves anxiety independent of CO2


- Hypoxia lowers blood glucose independent of insulin


- The autonomic nervous system of diabetics has a disrupted circadian rhythm


- Controlled breathing reduces the frequency and severity of panic attacks by increasing carbon dioxide levels


- While asleep, shut your mouth and save your brain”
Sighs during sleep: Good or bad?


- "Shut your mouth and save your brain