top of page

How Nasal Breathing Can Protect You From Getting Sick

Breathing is something we do every minute of the day, often without much thought. However, the way you breathe can significantly affect your health, especially when it comes to protecting yourself from illnesses. Drawing insights from neuroscientist Dr. Andrew Huberman, this blog explores the substantial benefits of nasal breathing over mouth breathing and how this simple practice can enhance your immune protection.

Understanding the Impact of Breathing on Health

Dr. Andrew Huberman, a renowned neuroscientist and professor at Stanford University, emphasizes the profound impact of breathing techniques on overall health and neurological function. Breathing is not only essential for oxygen exchange, but it also plays a pivotal role in regulating nervous system responses and immune function.

Nasal Breathing vs. Mouth Breathing

There are two primary ways we breathe: through the nose or through the mouth. While mouth breathing is common, especially during intense physical exertion or when nasal passages are blocked, it is not the optimal way to breathe for prolonged periods. Here’s why nasal breathing is superior, especially in the context of immune health:

  1. Filtration of Pathogens: Nasal breathing naturally filters airborne particles, including pathogens. The nasal passages contain fine hairs and mucus membranes that trap dust, allergens, and microbes, preventing them from entering the lungs. Dr. Huberman points out that this filtration system is bypassed when breathing through the mouth, increasing the risk of respiratory infections.

  2. Production of Nitric Oxide: The nasal cavity produces nitric oxide, a critical molecule that plays several roles in human health. Dr. Huberman highlights that nitric oxide enhances the body's ability to transport oxygen throughout the body, but it also has potent antimicrobial properties. It can help kill bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens, reducing the risk of infections.

  3. Regulation of Blood Flow and Oxygen Uptake: Nasal breathing regulates the volume of air intake and helps maintain optimal blood CO2 levels, which enhances the oxygenation of tissues. Dr. Huberman notes that this regulation supports the immune system’s ability to respond more effectively to potential threats.

  4. Lower Stress Levels: Nasal breathing is linked to lower stress levels as it influences the parasympathetic nervous system, promoting relaxation and reducing stress. Chronic stress is known to suppress immune function, so by nasal breathing, you are indirectly supporting your immune health.

Practical Tips for Enhancing Nasal Breathing

Dr. Huberman suggests several practices to enhance nasal breathing, especially if you are prone to breathing through your mouth:

  • Breathing Exercises: Engage in regular breathing exercises that emphasize nasal inhalation and exhalation. Practices like "box breathing" or "diaphragmatic breathing" can train your body to use the nose more naturally.

  • Clear Nasal Passages: Regularly using saline sprays or neti pots can help keep nasal passages clear, especially important during allergy seasons or if you have a cold.

  • Mindfulness and Awareness: Simply being mindful of your breathing and consciously choosing to breathe through your nose can make a significant difference.


Switching from mouth breathing to nasal breathing is a simple yet effective way to enhance your body's defences against illness. As Dr. Huberman points out, the benefits extend beyond immune health, impacting everything from stress levels to cardiovascular function. Start paying attention to your breathing habits today, and make nasal breathing a conscious part of your daily routine for better health and resilience against sickness.

If you’d like to understand more about the health enhancing effects of breathing correctly see our recent blogs by clicking here.

Click here to check out the Dr Huberman podcast on ‘How to prevent colds and flu’.

Embrace the power of nasal breathing and feel the difference in your overall health and well-being!


Dr Mark has a special interest in helping recreational athletes of all ages perform better and prevent injury. Correct breathing and postural alignment are critical for top performance and injury prevention and is an integral part of “The Over 40 Athlete System” that Mark has developed.

Dr Julie has a special interest in helping mothers and “mothers to be”. Her Post Graduate qualifications in Paediatric Chiropractic and as an ex-midwife give her a unique ability to help pregnant women, new mums and their young children.

Yours in Health,

Dr's Mark & Julie


Featured Posts
Recent Posts
Search By Tags
Follow Us
  • Instagram
  • Facebook Basic Square
  • Google+ Basic Square
bottom of page