Cellular Oxygenation: Measuring Performance Impact

Blood cells
The human body is an incredibly complex system with such a huge number of interdependencies that a small change in one of the smallest elements of the body, the cell, can make a big difference. In fact, improving the oxygen levels in the body’s cells has a measurable impact on a person’s strength, endurance and stamina.


Cellular oxygenation is the result of the body’s circulatory system plus a process known as cellular respiration1, which is the body using the oxygen you breathe to get energy from the food that you eat.
As we all know, nutrition is essential to providing energy to the human body, but so is oxygen because without oxygen the cells could not unlock the energy provided by the food. Oxygen, therefore, is absolutely critical to the function of cells and their ability to produce energy.
How do cells get oxygen?
Oxygen is breathed in through the air and then, once in the lungs, it is transferred to the blood. The circulatory system then moves that oxygen to the cells throughout the body. The cells use the oxygen to break down the food energy that they store into a form that is usable by the body to power muscles, including involuntary muscles like the heart.
Here we begin to see the incredible interdependency of the human body with regard to its energy production. It’s not just the food we eat. It’s the food, plus the oxygen we breathe, plus our ability to circulate the oxygen throughout the body using our blood — and, of course, this is still just a high-level breakdown.
Why is oxygen critical to athletic performance?
So far, we’ve learned that to have energy we need to have food and oxygen. No real surprises there. But if we look a little deeper into cellular oxygenation and circulation, we’ll quickly see that maximizing the cells’ oxygenation levels has a big impact on performance. And that to be your absolute best, the more oxygen you can provide your cells, the better.
What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration?
Cellular respiration has essentially two stages when we perform strenuous exercise. The first stage, glycolysis, can be done by the cell without the use of oxygen. This is the conversion of glucose into pyruvate. From there, in aerobic conditions (that is, when enough oxygen is present), the pyruvate is further broken down into ATP molecules (the energy carrying molecules), carbon dioxide molecules and electrons in a process called the Krebs Cycle2.
ATP Production (the Krebs Cycle)
By contrast, when there is not enough oxygen present, that is to say, in anaerobic conditions, the pyruvate instead goes through a process called fermentation, which produces lactic acid as an energy source. If there is too much lactic acid accumulating, or, to be more precise, if it is accumulated faster than it can be removed, then the body begins to fatigue and the muscles fail. This rise in acid in the muscles is an immediate fatigue, the burning felt in active muscles — not the soreness that comes in the days that follow.
What we find is thus that the more oxygen there is available for the cells to use, the longer the human body can stay in aerobic cellular respiration and the longer it can perform before fatiguing.
For athletes at any level, industrial athletes (those whose careers are physically demanding), and anyone interested in exercise and improving their fitness, we can start to see the importance of improving cellular oxygenation to help increase stamina, endurance and strength.


Infrared energy improves cellular oxygenation by increasing local circulation. Blood flow is the way that our body transports oxygen to the cells, so with improved local circulation comes increased availability of oxygen to the cells.


CELLIANT brings these advantages of infrared for performance right into apparel or textile products. CELLIANT is composed of naturally occurring minerals that capture body heat, convert it into infrared energy and reflect it back into the body. The tissue and muscle then absorb the infrared, even through multiple layers of fabric, resulting in improved local circulation, which, as we’ve seen, means there is more oxygen available to your cells — an average increase of 7%3 and up to 8.4%4 in our TcPO2 clinical trials.
Clinical trials are critical to demonstrating CELLIANT’s efficacy. To date, there’s been nine peer-reviewed published studies.
CELLIANT powers world-class performance apparel, including Under Armour’s RUSH™ collection, Kymira’s training, running and cycling collection, Xcel’s wetsuits, Oxeego socks, and Titika’s active couture. Gear by these brands and our entire library of brand partners can help improve the wearer’s cellular oxygenation, helping them to be at their best. Partner products are tested for quality control and efficacy through the use of up to four tests.
If you are interested in learning more about incorporating CELLIANT into your own brand’s products, please fill out the form below to connect with a business development representative.


1Britannica, T. Editors of Encyclopaedia (2022, February 25). Cellular RespirationEncyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/science/cellular-respiration

2Krebs Cycle. (n.d.). ScienceDirect. https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/krebs-cycle

3Coyle, M., & Gordon, I. (2012). Transcutaneous Partial Pressure of Oxygen (tcPO2) as a Primary Endpoint to Assess the Efficacy of CELLIANT® as a Vasoactive Material. https://celliant.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Transcutaneous-Partial_web.pdf

4Gordon, I., Hamblin, M. R., Lavery, L., Thein, M., & Watson, J. (2018). Randomized Controlled Trial Comparing the Effects of Far-Infrared Emitting Ceramic Fabric Shirts and Control Polyester Shirts on Transcutaneous PO2. https://celliant.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/Randomized-Controlled-Trial_web-1.pdf