The official blog of the Lung Institute.

Oxygen Levels and the Digestive System

9 Jun 2016
| Under Oxygen Levels, Resources | Posted by | 3 Comments
Oxygen Levels and the Digestive System

It might sound strange, but the respiratory system and the digestive system depend on one another for optimal function. Because oxygen is essential to the proper functioning of the body, one of the main concerns for people with chronic lung diseases is maintaining enough oxygen in their blood. The body needs energy and oxygen, so let’s take a closer look at oxygen levels and the digestive system.

What does the digestive system do?

The digestive system breaks down food so that it can become energy for the body. The digestive system is comprised of a complex system of organs, nerves, hormones, bacteria and blood work together to digest food. Digestive organs include the stomach, small intestines, large intestines, liver, pancreas and gall bladder.

What’s the connection between the respiratory system, oxygen levels and the digestive system?

Oxygen Levels and the Digestive SystemThe respiratory and digestive systems work together to power the body. A properly functioning respiratory system delivers adequate oxygen to the blood. Because the digestive system breaks down food and uses muscular contractions to move food through the digestive tract, it needs oxygen to function properly.

In turn, the respiratory system depends on a properly functioning digestive system to provide the fuel it needs to work effectively. Each function of the body depends on other functions, and all parts of the body need fuel and oxygen.

What are the risks of having lung disease and digestive system conditions?

In many cases, oxygen levels and the digestive system go hand-in-hand. COPD and other chronic lung diseases carry a risk for certain digestive disorders. Because some foods and drinks can cause symptom flare-ups, it’s important to know what to eat and what to avoid. Foods such as dairy and cruciferous vegetables are linked to increased mucus production and gas. Certain foods can also make GERD symptoms worse.

GERD or gastroesophageal reflux disease is common among people with COPD. GERD is a digestive disorder in which the stomach valve that keeps stomach acid down weakens or malfunctions, allowing stomach acid into the esophagus. If stomach acid reaches the lungs, it can result in irritation, increased coughing and shortness of breath.

GERD Symptoms include:

  • Dry cough
  • Chest pain
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Hoarseness or sore throat
  • Burning in the chest or throat
  • Sensation of a lump in the throat
  • Regurgitation of stomach contents

What can I do to improve my blood oxygen levels?

Oxygen Levels and the Digestive SystemTalk with your doctor about any new or worsening symptoms. See your doctor regularly, even if you’re feeling well. Now that you have information about oxygen levels and the digestive system, discuss your oxygen, food and exercise needs with your doctor. You and your physician can decide, together, on the best treatment plan for you.

Stem cell therapy also helps many people with chronic lung diseases breathe easier by promoting the healing of lung tissue from within the body. The Lung Institute extracts stem cells from a patient’s blood or bone marrow tissue, separates them and then returns them intravenously. The stem cells travel with the blood through the heart and into the lungs to become oxygenated. Once in the lungs, the majority of the stem cells become trapped in the pulmonary trap, and the now oxygen-rich blood travels to the rest of the body. In fact, many patients report improved lung function and are able to come off their supplemental oxygen after treatment. We’re happy to help you and to answer your questions, so contact us at (800) 729-3065.

Oxygen and You:


  1. PB

    5 months ago

    Dear Jack,

    Thanks for your question. At the Lung Institute, we focus on stem cell therapy for chronic lung diseases, such as COPD and pulmonary fibrosis. While heart failure can sometimes occur in conjunction with chronic lung diseases, we don’t treat heart failure. For many people with heart failure, doctors usually recommend eating small meals to reduce extra stress. Because of the complexity and specificity of your question, we recommend discussing it and any other questions or concerns you have with your doctor. Your doctor knows you and your health situation well, and he or she will be able to answer your questions and best guide you. We wish you the best.

    Kind Regards,

    The Lung Institute

  2. Jack Stimson

    5 months ago

    I have a heart ejection function of 30%, what percent is required by a heavy meal ?

  3. Richard Furie Soles

    9 months ago

    The importance of this article is also to include the weight of the person with COPD, some if not many are over weight cause of many factors including eating too much processed foods and SUGAR. in any form ,sucrose, fructose, corn syrup, sugar alcohol, all make us FAT, and that doesn’t help with getting better breathing….If the weight comes off, the diaphragm is less likely to compress the lungs, thus making Oxygen easier to be forced into the Heart and into the Blood…And we all can stay ALIVE….and we won’t have back aches or spinal problems either….Remember when you were younger and your Mom cooked with BUTTER or LARD….You were thin… now after years of processed foods, your Dunlop Tire has become over inflated….and your pant belts don’t fit either…. just my comments…

Your Comment

Your email address will not be published.

* All treatments performed at Lung Institute utilize autologous stem cells, meaning those derived from a patient's own body. No fetal or embryonic stem cells are utilized in Lung Institute's procedures. Lung Institute aims to improve patients' quality of life and help them breathe easier through the use of autologous stem cell therapy. To learn more about how stem cells work for lung disease, click here.

All claims made regarding the efficacy of Lung Institute's treatments as they pertain to pulmonary conditions are based solely on anecdotal support collected by Lung Institute. Individual conditions, treatment and outcomes may vary and are not necessarily indicative of future results. Testimonial participation is voluntary. Lung Institute does not pay for or script patient testimonials.

Under current FDA guidelines and regulations 1271.10 and 1271.15, the Lung Institute complies with all necessary requirements for operation. Any individual who accesses Lung Institute's website for information is encouraged to speak with his or her primary physician for treatment suggestions and conclusive evidence. All information on this site should be used for educational and informational use only.