Oxygen is an essential element for our body, is transported from the air you breathe to the cells of the body where it is used for metabolic processes. Its lack leads to an abnormal accumulation of metabolic wastes within the body; this happens because the cells get energy from the food through the cellular respiration which consists of a series of reactions which terminate with the formation of energy in the form of ATP (adenosine triphosphate). Without an adequate supply of oxygen there is a deficient production of energy for which the metabolic and environmental toxins waste will no longer be eliminated effectively by the body.

The transport of oxygen into the body is guaranteed by hemoglobin, however, the problem of its transfer to the cells is represented by the solubility in the lipid cell layer. The passage of oxygen from the serum to the lipid layer can be promoted by phase transport catalysts or PTC: substances capable of binding oxygen and transport it at best to tissues. Certain natural substances present in brown seaweed, such as the alginates, are capable of forming, at first, chelates with essential minerals such as iron, manganese and magnesium and then of oxygen binding, adhere to the walls of the cells and transfer the molecule 2,3,4,5,6,19,20 in such a way as to ensure a sufficient supply of oxygen.

Importance of oxygen

Oxygen deficiency is a serious problem for the cell, in fact inadequate oxygenation results in a decrease in cell metabolism (BMR-)1; this is caused by poor air quality (due to the exhaust gases, and smoke emissions), by incorrect breathing techniques (it is seen that the majority of the people use only 15% of their lung capacity, therefore you will have a poor blood_oxygenation – respiratory acidosis), by poor aerobic activity (sedentary lifestyle), by inadequate pulmonary ventilation (for example because of a chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), anemia, asthma etc.

The transport of oxygen from the lungs to the tissues is an important process which allows the oxidative phosphorylation reactions in the mitochondria, which are important for ATP to be formed. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) formed during the final stage of cellular respiration it is useful as fuel to maintain homeostasis and cellular metabolism. When there is a deficiency of oxygen ATP stores are consumed little by little; the speed at which the depletion is manifested and the subsequent cell damage depend on both tissue oxygen requirements, and the ability to form ATP from anaerobic metabolism. However, the anaerobic ATP production is often insufficient to meet metabolic requirements and thus the cell damage is only delayed but not avoided: each time the cell demand exceeds supply oxygen organ dysfunction and irreversibly damage may occur, depending on the degree and duration of oxygen deprivation7.

Recent studies have shown that cells are able to survive periods of inadequate oxygenation thanks to a number of adaptations which include metabolic changes, the membrane transport and gene expression8; when endothelial cells are exposed to moderate hypoxic conditions, a greater production of molecules can be noticed such as vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) -A and the endothelial nitric oxide synthase (eNOS) that promote the survival and proliferation of cells. On the contrary, if the oxygen levels decreased further, the apoptotic processes are activated. Hypoxia has therefore two conflicting actions on cellular activity that depend on the amount of available oxygen9,10. If the amount of oxygen fall too much and the waiting period is prolonged for a long time important changes on cellular activity are detected, for example, in the visceral smooth muscle a fall in muscle tone can be noticed: the rhythmic fine movements shown by the smooth muscle in physiological conditions persist for some time in the absence of oxygen but then go away away thinning and eventually disappear to the persistence of a state of anoxia11.

Recently, the negative effects of a reduced oxygen tension on the growth of some cell lines have been observed: T cells showed a reduction of the life cycle and reduced proliferative capacity in the presence of a decreased oxygen tension compared to cells grown under standard conditions; also the proliferative capacity of other cell lines such as those of the kidney cells and insulin-secreting cells have been suppressed in the presence of a reduced availability of oxygen, furthermore, this reduced cell activity is also accompanied by changes in the DNA structure12. Therefore, the lower the tissue oxygenation, the cell will be more directed towards a series of mechanisms that induce apoptosis (FFM, Tbprotein, visceral organs, Skeletal muscle FFM)1,13.

It is therefore clear that good oxygenation is essential to keep the cells healthy; there are situations in which a greater presence of oxygen is required, as for example in the healing process of a wound: the healing involves various steps including the deposition of the cellular matrix, angiogenesis and the growth of new tissue; all cellular activities are strongly linked to tissue oxygen levels. Experimental studies have shown that endothelial and of fibroblasts cell culturesand exposed to an increase in oxygen partial pressure have been able to manifest a rapid proliferation14. Even modern research that have employed substances able to encapsulate and transport oxygen to the tissues confirm that the transport of tissue oxygen leads to an improvement of the activity and the cell viability15, in other searches the existing linear relationship between oxygen concentration and cell viability is confirmed: when the concentration of oxygen increases, it is possible to witness an improvement of cell viability16: Cellular Anergy vs. Cellular Energy.

Oxygen transport to tissues: PTC

The transport of oxygen to the cells is guaranteed by haemoglobin, a globular protein of quaternary structure containing iron; its molecule is similar to that of chlorophyll, the substance present in plants that confer the green colour and which plays an important role in the process of photosynthesis. Given this similarity, it was decided to construct molecules able to mimic the action of haemoglobin. The PTC or phase transport catalysts are complex structures in which divalent cations can be trapped in the alginate chains, such molecular complex is capable of binding oxygen and transfer it to cells. The transfer of oxygen through the PTC improves cellular oxygenation and consequently the aerobic metabolism is accelerated, otherwise a deficiency of cellular oxygen causes changes in cell proliferation and in the DNA as the oxygen rate influences the cell metabolism, gene expression and energetic state of cells.


Of all the chemical elements, oxygen is the most important for the human body. Without oxygen we can only survive for a few minutes since almost all activities of the body, from brain function to the elimination of catabolic substances, are regulated by this important element17.

However, although oxygen is the substrate that cells use in large quantities and on which depend both the aerobic metabolism and cellular integrity, the tissues are unable to store it. The transport of oxygen from ambient air to the mitochondria of the individual cells takes place through a series of steps; The heart, lungs and circulatory system work together to capture the atmospheric oxygen and transport it to the tissues where cells have to extract it from the extracellular environment to use it efficiently in metabolic processes (aerobic metabolism). When, for various reasons this supply also proves deficient for only a few minutes, the tissue hypoxemia so determined causes the development of an anaerobic metabolism that can be sustained for a short period of time after which the cell is destined to apoptosis18. Therefore, an adequate supply of oxygen to the tissues is of vital importance to avoid irreversible cell damage. Food supplementation with Melcalin O2 is a useful strategy that takes advantage of the natural properties of alginates (compounds that are derived from the algae wall) to chelate certain types of metals and subsequently, the formed complex is able to bind oxygen in order to carry and then yield to the tissues ensuring a adequate cellular oxygenation, essential so that the metabolic processes can take place in a physiological manner.


  1. Diagnostica differenziale con bioimpedenza- Medical Device BIA-ACC Biotekna. BMR=metabolismo basale, Total Body protein: proteine totali, FFM=fat free mass: massa magra, Skeletal muscle FFM=massa muscolare scheletrica, visceral organs:organi viscerali.
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Importance of adequate tissue oxygenation Cellular Anergy vs. Cellular Energy – Melcalin O2

Author: Dario Boschiero, Laura Converso  – Rev. 0   Date: 06/10/2012


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