Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

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Bagheera
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Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Bagheera » Sun Sep 06, 2020 11:58 pm

Is anyone familiar with "Bol d'Air", and/or the work of René Jacquier?

An acquaintance has started a "business" affiliated with Bol d'Air - their concept is introduced here: https://www.holiste.com/en/bol-dair-how-does-it-work/ - peddling what appears to be a quack breathing device, and marketing it to all and sundry (as distinct from people with pathologies) for improving health, sports performance, longevity, whatever.

To me it smacks of multi-level marketing schemes à la Juice Plus :?

According to my acquaintance there is, of course, a wealth of scientific evidence just waiting for me to tuck into. I haven't seen it yet, but I have found the following paper:

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio ... st_Studies

My certain bias against what I instinctively term "continental oxygen woo therapies" is probably pretty evident; so I am wondering if someone wiser than me might weigh in? Perhaps a chemical engineer, or a respiratory physiologist?

Willing to have my opinion changed! Any help much appreciated.

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Stupidosaurus
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Stupidosaurus » Mon Sep 07, 2020 10:23 am

Hi Bagheera,

I'm not a chemical engineer or a respiratory physiologist, but I have some familiarity with oxidative stress biology and stats. I've skimmed the paper and have a few observations to share:

At about 1, the impact factor of the journal doesn't look promising. However, it doesn't appear on the list of predatory journals at httpx://predatoryjournals.com and it was managed by Springer for a while, so it may be a genuine (if fairly lowly) publication.

The paper doesn't address the main selling point of the Bol D'air device, which seems to be cramming more oxygen into the blood using a terpene carrier molecule.
1) My feeling is that you would have to breathe in a LOT of the terpene goop to make any difference in blood oxygen levels, even transiently, even if it worked. (I'd be interested to see a calculation along these lines).
2) I would guess experimentally testing it could be done by measuring blood O2 saturation, but I suspect that blood O2 saturation is probably near it's upper limit in anyone who is healthy for their age and doesn't have a severe respiratory condition like COPD. Any study with people that ill would probably require serious medical ethics panel scrutiny. Maybe you could do something by putting normal healthy people into a low O2 saturation environment (barometric chamber or high altitude) and then testing them with/without the gizmo (but see point 1).

The paper does look at antioxidant systems (GSH, SOD) and markers (TBARS) in the rats. Most of these markers did very little, but they did a lot of statistical tests and so it's not surprising that a few turned up as significant. They only described the stats as being ANOVA/MANOVA and there appeared to be no attempt to account for the effect of doing multiple tests. I couldn't be bothered to wade through all the detail, but my feeling is that they got a few significant results purely by chance and then pinned a load of waffle on them.

The fact that they describe the weight loss as 'slimming' seems a red flag to me, this is a loaded word. A simple hypothesis would be that having stinky terpenes shoved up their noses decreased the rat's appetite, but they didn't bother measuring the amount of food the rats were eating.

In general (if you buy their stats, and I'm not sure I do) the underlying idea seems to be that the Bol d'Air induces an uptick in a few of the protective antioxidant systems in the body. To me, this would seem to indicate that the Bol d'Air caused a degree of oxidative stress that the rats then reacted to. It's not dissimilar to saying that getting a sunbed tan will protect you against solar UV rays. However, in both cases, it would probably be better to avoid the stress factor completely rather than acclimatising yourself to it.

I'm sure other people on here can give the paper a much more forcible kicking, but that's my take on it.

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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Bagheera » Mon Sep 07, 2020 2:13 pm

Hi Stupidosaurus,

I agree with all your thoughts and sentiments. The hormetic effect of the oxidative stress that the stuff is causing is probably its most salient effect, no?

There may even be a placebo effect of sorts - those pine terpenes must have a pretty dramatic "medicinal" smell, for example, promoting human subjects to alter their respiration somehow. I remember years ago reading how menthol cigarettes numb the lungs to an extent, causing people to drag deeper.

I also would like to know people's thoughts on the totality of the Jacquier guy's work, with reference to the "more oxygen is always betterer" initial premise. He's touted as some sort of forefather chemical engineer genius guru. This product is being marketed to regular punters at gyms, beauty salons, etc. - not to the sickly with respiratory disease. Apparently Boot's was going to start selling it, but their price point was too high or something.

Thanks for taking the time to look into the paper, and for your thoughtful response!

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Stephanie
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Stephanie » Mon Sep 07, 2020 2:20 pm

Hi Bagheera! No comments on the paper, but just wanted to say welcome to the forum :)
"I got a flu virus named after me 'cause I kissed a bat on a dare."

Bagheera
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Bagheera » Mon Sep 07, 2020 6:47 pm

Thanks Stephanie, I feel welcome! :)

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Sciolus
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Sciolus » Mon Sep 07, 2020 8:13 pm

I have nothing sensible to say (except welcome!), just this feeble joke:

I wonder if they will diversify into the "hydration" fad for fancy drinking water.
Bol Eaux.

Bagheera
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Bagheera » Mon Sep 07, 2020 11:46 pm

Haha, Bol Eaux works, for sure, if we pronounce it as it is spelled :D Serves well to describe the product!

Still, I'd love to hear the thoughts on Bol d'Air of someone who works in a relevant science, in particular.

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Martin Y
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Martin Y » Tue Sep 08, 2020 12:52 pm

Imagine if it worked though. You could make a portable pine-forest-smelling respirator for high altitude mountaineers so they wouldn't have to carry heavy oxygen cylinders. If it worked. Which it won't.

Bagheera
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Bagheera » Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:45 pm

Martin Y, don't tease us - tell us why it won't work...? :D

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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Bagheera » Tue Sep 08, 2020 6:01 pm

Found links to the famed studies here, should anyone care to take a look-see:

https://www.holiste.co.uk/scientific-st ... -jacquier/

Majority are in French; a couple are in English.

A cursory Google-search turns up many French articles from the early 2000s onwards touting Bol d'Air as an end to Cancer (with a capital 'C')...

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Martin Y
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Martin Y » Tue Sep 08, 2020 7:49 pm

Bagheera wrote:
Tue Sep 08, 2020 5:45 pm
Martin Y, don't tease us - tell us why it won't work...? :D
Alas! I can only infer that it doesn't work from the fact that they're selling elaborate sciency-looking contraptions to the worried well instead of high-priced portable inhalers to actual sports people like mountaineers.

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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by murmur » Wed Sep 09, 2020 10:14 am

The "how it works" page is singularly lacking in any research or evidence, just a series of statements, some of which are uncontroversially true, but irrelevant.

For this lark to have anything in its favour they first need to demonstrate that hypoxia is present and problematic in a significant number of people - They don't.

(Speaking as one who suffers occasional shortness of breath related to congestive cardiac failure, who has seen many, many different folk from local cardiology services, read a good chunk of the related literature, NICE guidelines and the like, hypoxia and the consequent need for something of the Bol d'Air sort is conspicuous by its absence - take what you want from that).

Oh, and welcome to this little corner of the internet!
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Bagheera
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Bagheera » Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:54 pm

Thank you murmur for the welcome, and for your thoughts; and thanks also to Martin Y.

Yes, the idea that hypoxia is an ever-present thing in the non-pathologic population, and that everyone needs and will benefit from cramming more oxygen everywhere, is what I refer to as "oxygen woo".

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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by shpalman » Wed Sep 09, 2020 2:27 pm

Bagheera wrote:
Wed Sep 09, 2020 12:54 pm
Thank you murmur for the welcome, and for your thoughts; and thanks also to Martin Y.

Yes, the idea that hypoxia is an ever-present thing in the non-pathologic population, and that everyone needs and will benefit from cramming more oxygen everywhere, is what I refer to as "oxygen woo".
"WO2"
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Bagheera
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Re: Bol d'Air: Good Science or Oxygen Woo?

Post by Bagheera » Wed Sep 09, 2020 3:25 pm

Haha you're a hO2t 😁

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