Yogic Breathing Looks Gross but can be Good


Breathing is naturally good for you and you’re hopefully doing it right now. Interestingly there are different levels of breathing with different effects on our health. Most of us who site around all day at computers are likely breathing too shallowly and not getting complete breaths. Those of you who’ve been to yoga might know the importance of deep breathing. That is taking long, deep, breaths using the diaphragm for a serious amount of time. Early research is examining what positive effects this type of deep breathing can have on our health.

Q: What made you examine this technique through a cellular biology lens?
A: In 2005, I noticed while I was practicing pranayama, I was producing so much saliva that I was almost drooling. I wondered why and what the overall impact of that was. This led me and my team to study whether increased saliva production was a common response to the practice, and we found that it was.
Q: Most people wouldn’t think much of getting spitty when they focus on breathing and relaxing. But your 2016 study in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine showed this bump in salivation seems to matter. Why?

A: Saliva has numerous antibodies and proteins that do everything from suppressing tumors to regenerating the liver. For example, it contains immunoglobulin, which are antibodies that bind to germs, as well as DMBT1, a tumor suppressor that blocks the conversion of normal cells to cancer cells.

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How California Tracks the Air That They Breathe

California has a law that dictates the quality of air, but that needs to be tracked so it can be enforced. Here’s a video about how Berkeley Lab keeps track of the air.

Last March, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory scientist Marc Fischer boarded a small airplane loaded with air monitoring equipment and crisscrossed the skies above Sacramento and the Bay Area.

Instruments aboard the aircraft measured a cocktail of greenhouse gases: carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, methane from livestock and landfills, nitrous oxide from agriculture, and industrially produced gases such as refrigerants.

The flight was part of the Airborne Greenhouse Gas Emissions Survey, a collaboration between Berkeley Lab, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and the University of California, Davis to pinpoint the sources of greenhouse gases in Central California.

The airborne survey is intended to improve inventories of the state’s greenhouse gas emissions, which in turn will help scientists verify the emission reductions mandated by AB-32, the ambitious legislation passed by California in 2006 to slash the state’s greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020.

“In order to comply with AB-32, we need to know where the gases are coming from and how much,” says Fischer, a scientist in Berkeley Lab’s Environmental Energy Technologies Division.

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