Carbon dioxide gets little respect. Yet is plays a central role in many aspects of metabolism, regulates breathing, and controls blood flow in the cerebral cortex.
You can self-test your carbon dioxide in several ways.
1. The breath-holding test. Can you hold your breath for more than a minute or less than 30 seconds. High CO2 producers tend to have shorter breath-holding times and low CO2 producers have longer breath-holding times.
2. Are you affected by lowering your CO2? If you over-breathe for many minutes, do you experience symptoms? Rapid, shallow, chest breathing (panting) drives off more CO2 that regular breathing. This is a good thing when you are trying to outrun a bear, and a bad thing when you want to speak to a large group of people in public.
3. Are you affected by raising your CO2? If you under-breathe for many minutes, to you experience changes in your symptoms? Slow, deep, diaphragmatic breathing conserves CO2. The best under-breathing technique is: breathe in slowly for 4 seconds, hold your breath for 4 seconds, and exhale slowly through pursed lips (or through your vocal cords) for 16 seconds. If you have problems doing the 4-4-16 pattern, do a 3-3-10 pattern until you can extend it to 4-4-16.
If your symptoms get worse with over-breathing and better with under-breathing, or vice versa, then you may have a CO2 dependency for your condition. If neither, then your CO2 may be stable and sufficient.