Facemasks & COVID-19

Given the current COVID-19 focus on face masks in order to prevent infection, I believe what is more important is the way we breathe when we are wearing and not wearing a mask. Nose breathing is our first line of defence against inhalation of micro-organisms as the majority will get trapped in mucous whereas anything directly inhaled into the lungs has the potential to stay there for up to 120 days. Mouth breathers also typically inhale 10 to 15 litres of air per minute compared to 4 to 6 litres for a nose breather (1). This huge difference in volume will definitely increase the risk of COVID-19 infection for mouth breathers. It is also very easy to switch from nose to mouth breathing when wearing a mask, especially when in conversation. Keep those sentences short and ensure that you are breathing in and out through your nose when speaking.

Nitric oxide production in the paranasal sinuses reduces when mouth breathing (2) and this is toxic to the Corona Virus (3) so nose breathing is a key defence against infection.

Just to complicate matters the latest research from the University of North Carolina informs us that the receptor cells that COVID-19 requires to attach itself to the host are most abundant in the cells inside the nose and less abundant in the lungs (4).

Obviously, mouth breathing and inhaling large volumes of air directly into the lungs to avoid COVID-19 attachment onto nasal cells is not a good way to mitigate infection. So, what is the best way to prevent COVID-19 attaching itself to the cells inside our nose?

Xlear, a US based xylitol company have been undertaking research at the Universities of Geneva and Utah to see if their nasal sprays are toxic to COVID-19. I have viewed the university reports (not published) and the sprays containing xylitol, saline and grapefruit seed extract destroys the virus and surprisingly it was the grapefruit seed extract that is the ‘active ingredient’ against COVID-19. Human trials are now underway. Stay tuned as I will keep you updated with this research.

In conclusion I believe we should all pay attention to the way we breathe and ensure we breathe through our nose (especially when speaking) and be cleaning our nasal cavity morning and night with Xlear Nasal Spray to prevent COVID-19 infection.

If you would like to learn more about breathing and the oral and general health effects, consider taking the LipZip online course: https://lipzipbook.com/


  1. McKeown P. The Oxygen Advantage. Harper Collins, New York; 2015
  2. Tornberg C, Marteus H, Schedin U, Alving K, Lundberg J, Weitzberg E. Nasal and oral contribution to inhaled and exhaled nitric oxide: a study in tracheotomized patients. Eur Respir J. 2002, 19: 859–864
  3. Martel J, Ko YF, Young J, Ojcius D. Could nasal nitric oxide help to mitigate the severity of COVID-19. Microbes Infect. 2020 May-June; 22(4): 168-171.
  4. Hou Y, Okuda K, Edwards C, Randell S, Boucher R, Baric R. SARS-CoV-2 Reverse Genetics Reveals a Variable Infection Gradient in the Respiratory Tract. Cell Journal. 2020. Available from: DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cell.2020.05.042


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