Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT)

The peer-reviewed paper Aging published a research paper that investigated the HBOT and its potential improvement to the telomere length (TL) and decrease of immunosenescence.  In other words, the researchers found that a unique protocol of treatments with high-pressure oxygen in a pressure chamber can reverse two major processes associated with aging and its illnesses: the TL (protective regions located at both ends of every chromosome) and the accumulation of old and malfunctioning cells in the body (aka “zombie” cells). In case you are not sure what these mean please refer to the previous blog).

The word ‘hyperbaric' literally means ‘high pressure'. The use of high pressure (i.e. pressures higher than normal atmospheric pressure)and its use in medicine is often viewed today as being somewhat new and controversial. However, the concept of Hyperbaric Medicine has been in existence since as early as 1662.

The industrial revolution, when bridge and tunnel builders were working in compressed air, saw further great development in hyperbaric chambers. It was at this time when Paul Bert reported that nitrogen bubbles were forming in tissue during rapid decompression – these also sometimes referred to as “bends”

Since the latter part of the twentieth century, hyperbaric medicine has gained most of its recognition for the treatment of certain mainstream medical conditions specifically related to the diving industry, including decompression sickness and air embolism.

The benefits of hyperbaric medicine subsequently were observed for split-thickness skin graft acceptance, flap survival, and salvage, wound re-epithelization, and acute thermal burns. It is also used in treatment for post-stroke rehab, MS, and traumatic brain injury.

If you would like to read more about the Hyperbaric chambers please check the Midlands Diving Chamber website

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) utilizes 100% oxygen at an environmental pressure higher than one absolute atmosphere (ATA) to enhance the amount of oxygen dissolved in the body’s tissues. Repeated intermittent hyperoxic exposures, using certain HBOT protocols, can induce physiological effects that normally occur during hypoxia in a hyperoxic environment, the so-called hyperoxic-hypoxic paradox. If you are interested to read more about this, please refer to the Hadanny and Efrati. 2020, study.

It was recently demonstrated that HBOT can induce cognitive enhancements in healthy aging adults via mechanisms involving regional changes in cerebral blood flow. On the cellular level, it was demonstrated that HBOT can induce the expression of hypoxia-induced factor (HIF), vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and sirtuin (SIRT), stem cell proliferation, mitochondrial biogenesis, angiogenesis, and neurogenesis.

Coming back to the study that looked at HBOT and telomere length by Hachmo et al. 2020. The findings indicated that the treatments actually reversed the aging process in two of its major aspects: The telomeres at the ends of the chromosomes grew longer instead of shorter, at a rate of 20%-38% for the different cell types; and the percentage of senescent cells in the overall cell population was reduced significantly -- by 11%-37% depending on cell type.


Limitations of the study consist of a small sample size (30 people). Also, there was no control group.

Third, the duration of the effect has yet to be determined in long-term follow-ups.

Fourth, telomerase (protein that restores telomere length) activity was not evaluated due to the method chosen for blood preservation and evaluation

Fifth, the study looked at immune cells such as natural killer cells, B-cells, T helper, and T cytotoxic cells. It would be interesting to see the change in TL in somatic cells.

Lastly, the protocol consisted of 60 daily treatments. Locally it costs £100 for one treatment of HBOT. It means the total to replicate this protocol would be 6000 pounds!!! However, a significant improvement was shown after 30 sessions. Perhaps that could be more realistic treatment option.

To sum up, this is just a pioneer study and more research is needed to prove this method as an effective way to improve health and subsequently increase longevity.

For more information on HBOT please refer to Peter Attia's podcast with Dom in 2018 and 2020

MSK physiotherapy


Aging - introduction

Is the process of becoming older. That’s the simplest explanation found on Wikipedia. We all start to age as soon as we are born. The first symptoms of aging are the loss of ability to hear high-frequency sounds (>20kHz). This happens when we hit our teenage years.

Why are we aging? At the cellular level, two key hallmarks of the aging process include Telomere Length (TL) shortening and cellular senescence (also called “zombie” cells). This video below explains it quite well.

Today telomere shortening is considered the ‘Holy Grail’ of the biology of aging.

Researchers around the world are trying to develop pharmacological and environmental interventions that enable telomere elongation or at least slow down the rate at which telomeres are shortening.

There has been multiple studies published that have shown an ability to slow down the process. Several lifestyle interventions including endurance training, diets, and supplements targeting cell metabolism and oxidative stress have reported relatively small effects (2-5%) on TL, [Toukalas et al 2019Goglin et al 2016Richards et al, 2007].

Contrary, drug abuse can increase the rate of TL shortening.

One recent study by scientists in Israel at the Tel Aviv University indicated that hyperbaric oxygen treatments (HBOT) in healthy aging adults can stop the aging of blood cells and reverse the aging process. In the biological sense, the adults' blood cells actually grow younger as the treatment progresses.

This study was published on the 28th of November at Aging and I will write a separate blog on it in coming weeks.

What can be done?

Ideas used here are not something new. From the earliest civilisations people were trying to find a proverbial fountain of youth.

However, the purpose of these series of blogs is not to promote alternative medicine or promise a longer life. The main purpose is to talk about the lifestyle changes, latest research, and ideas that may help to increase the healthspan – essentially, years with good health.

I have been inspired by people like Peter Attia (please check his website), David Sinclair, Rhonda Patrick, and Charles Brenner. Please visit their websites for some expert opinions.