Oxygen as Poison Millions of Years Ago

A friend who loves lightning once said to me that cancer is the price all aerobic organisms has to pay.

Millions of years ago, oxygen was once a poison to every single-celled organisms. Basically, oxygen destroys the system of every microorganisms and prevented them from functioning. It’s a scare ~added the fact that oxygen is one of the abundant gasses in the atmosphere.

Earth was once a deadly place then~ at least to our ancestors. And within that timeframe, if oxygen entered the membrane of a cell, it embraced death. I just wonder how did the early bacteria survived this toxic airborne gas.

Call it a leap of faith.

The first successful one-celled life form has to take the risk and use it in cell division. And with that risk, mutation had started. Algae was able to synthesize this through photoysnthesis and they evolved protective enzymes for them to acquire aerobic respiration. That is why cancer cells are not present in plants.

That’s the shortcut story of our ancestors overcoming this disease ~And yes, I call that faith. Millions of years ago, our roots have conquered cancer.

YOU should conquer yours too.


161 thoughts on “Oxygen as Poison Millions of Years Ago

  1. This is a tribute to all cancer patients. My grandmother died of breast cancer when I was so young. And I do not understand any thing about cancer then.

    To all cancer patients:

    I don’t call it cancer. I call it a ‘challenge.’


    1. Yeah, a friend who loves lightning is no other than Jayr Santos. Lightning when he flashes his DSLR camera.

      Ow, Jayr, where’s the effin photos of our lazerxtreme?


      1. yawts! parang may sakit lang ako. —> mabuhay ka! hehe.

        oist jason, congrats sa pagkapanalo sa prestihiyosong patimpalak ng kaibigan nating si Kuya Blue Bernard Umali!


    2. Ahemmm… Ax, with all due respect to you, have you researched this entry?

      I honor the tribute to all cancer patients. Some of my favorite teachers passed away due to this illness… Currently, one of my aunts has cancer…

      Going back to my question, my biology lessons have told me that life on earth began when amino acids spawned life into single celled organisms call prokaryotes… (The geologic conditions during those times connived to produce these essential acids. There is an experiment that simulated the geologic and climactic condition during time zero, and they were able to synthesize amino acids… The experiment is called as the Miller-Urey experiment… The atmosphere that time had high contents of carbon gas and hydrogen compounds such as methane and ammonia. Oxygen existed in the atmosphere but not mostly in its free form, it paired with carbon dioxide. The bulk of oxygen at that time was found in water…)

      When prokaryotes have learned how to trapped the energy of the sun to make food through photosynthesis, the atmosphere of the earth has also started its own evolution. When cyanobacteria appeared on the surface of the earth, the atmosphere has taken a major leap. Cyanobacteria has mass produced oxygen gas in its paired form and so the atmosphere was “oxygenated”.

      This “new” atmosphere with so much oxygen compared to its early stages has paved the way for the development of a very important but basic phylum: Protists – the first complex life on earth…

      As such, the true leap of faith was not to take in oxygen, but to harness light and take in carbon dioxide instead through photosynthesis. Oxygen was merely a by-product of this process.

      Also, cell division in relation to breathing in oxygen would hold true in the light of photosynthesis paving the way for the evolution of protists…


      1. Going back to that leap of faith, perhaps it could be always argued in whichever point of the fulcrum one will stand.

        While I do agree that oxygen is toxic to the prokaryotes, the development of complex organisms may have come in a much later time if oxygen was kept at bay. The reason is that adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the main transporter of energy for metabolism is lower for anaerobic organisms than aerobic organisms.

        And following this train of thought, given that plantlike organisms will continue to evolve, life on earth may have been in less abundance as it is now. For all we know, we might have turned to be sentient photosynthetic organisms… hehehe…

        And given your viewpoint for that “leap of faith” for oxygen use, your reason is entirely justified… 🙂

        Going back to “my” leap of faith, I have considered it as the development of photosynthesis because it basically paved for complex life to flourish. As such, harnessing its oxygen by-product was for me a matter of consequence in the grand design of life…

        And talking of the grand design for life, this basically negates that leap of faith, for surely these organisms we are talking about did not have the ability to think. The Designer placed them all in consequential timeline…

        Hay… Pati ako nosebleed… hehehe… Parang naalala ko lang yung essay ko dati on the Theory of Intelligent Design…

        Tama na nga ito, baka kung saan pa ako makarating… Hahaha!!!

        Ax, kudos to your thought provoking posts…


        1. according to the holy scriptures life on earth exist because of Love. In every creation God felt so happy. Then He gave a breath to a Man an oxygen to give life.


  2. i believe that cancer will no sooner become a disease not dreaded for its viciousness but rather encountered upon like it is but a mere common cold.

    the black death once killed tens of thousands of people in europe, at a time when bubonic plague was the deathmaster and no known cure could combat its fatal shroud.

    now, many years later, it is something better discussed in history books and conveniently read through an encyclopedia than experienced firsthand.

    such is the power of the human mind. black death back then, cancer in the near beyond.

    and yes, i am sorry for your loss, ax.


    1. Ten years from now, what worries us today will be discussed and yawned over by students in History classes.

      The pursuit of life extensions to dreaded diseases are being worked upon by the greatest mind of medical geniuses.

      Siguro kung naging doktor ka Lio, you’ll probably be able to find a cure sa AIDS. Pero that is the catch, you won’t disseminate the cure. Dahil alam naman natin na mayroong mga tao na aabusuhin ang gamot na ito. Dahil may gamot na sa AIDS, okay lang na makipag sex sila kahit kanino. At yung ang ayaw natin.

      Kaya naniniwala ako na may nakaimbento na ng gamot sa AIDS. Pero sa kapakanan ng nakararami, someone destroyed it for one sole reason. Humanity will not be a better place kung walang sakit na mananakot para sa mga taong hayok sa laman.


      1. “Kaya naniniwala ako na may nakaimbento na ng gamot sa AIDS. Pero sa kapakanan ng nakararami, someone destroyed it for one sole reason..”

        -conspiracy theory? hmmm…


  3. Yung best friend ng mommy ko na-trigger din na may breast cancer a few years ago and thank God naagapan naman thru kemo theraphy, she’s ok now.


    1. Ang chemotherapy ay pino poison ang rapidly-growing cancer mutation. At the same time, it destroy the rapidly-growing healthy cells.

      A two-edged sword. Kumbaga sa anime, sinama ni Superhero si Supervillain sa kamatayan.


    1. Sige lang, base lang ng base! Wag mo na ako isama sa mga nagbase. Tutal ikaw ang may pinakamaraming comments sa Saranggola Blog Awards.


  4. amm…

    cancer.. ayoko nyan..

    yan ang kumitil sa buhay ng tito ko

    at dahil dyan may time na

    nadepress sobra ang lolo lola mommy tito tita ko.



    ayoko nito…






      1. Cancer: Ikaw din, sino ba may sabing gusto kita? Ayaw ko din sayo no. Feelingero.

        wahahaha! binara tuloy kayo ni Cancer, jason at ax. haha.


  5. hmmm:

    1. okay, will upload the photosss
    2. i tried to explain this at work, they just gave me this expression that says “you’re a nerd” 😦
    3. this is the only thing ive learn from Bio 101
    4. I dont want to die of cancer…

    at lam mo ba, a cancer cell is like a person seeking immortality. instead of dying, it will just divide itself endlessly.

    sorry, but this is not like the Black Death. Cancer is already with humanity even before Black Death. I just hope that cure for cancer will be “discovered” at my (our) lifetime…


    1. 1. i’ll wait for the photos.
      2. i tried to explain this at work too, they said they, “nice, keep it up.”
      3. good for me, i learned what you’ve learned from BIO101.
      4. Neither do I.


    1. Billions of years ago, development, evolution and growth of life increases the quantity of oxygen in the atmosphere from <1% to 21%. T'was to 4.0 to 3.3 billions years way back that oxygen begins to accumulate the planet.

      Sometime during the late Archaean era an oxygen-containing atmosphere began to develop, apparently from photosynthesizing algae which have been found as stromatolite fossils from 2.7 billion years ago. The early basic carbon isotopy (isotope ratio proportions) is very much in line with what is found today, suggesting that the fundamental features of the carbon cycle were established as early as 4 billion years ago.

      But yeah, billions of years ago, Nitrogen is also abundant. Right now, nitrogen encompasses 70+% of atmospheric gasses and oxygen only 20+%. I might be wrong by using the word "only." Oks, I will replace it with the phrase "One of the abundant gasses."

      This explanation also caught me off guard: "If the oxygen content was higher then fires and explosions would be the norm. the planet would be unlivable. Since nitrogen is inert it dilutes the oxygen and also holds down rust and corrosion." and "There's another problem. Fire. If there is more oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere, more fires will occur, until the whole planet is up in flames. The fires convert the oxygen to carbon dioxide, so it may not be possible to get to 53% because oxygen will burn up things and get out of the atmosphere before then."

      Thanks Mhar for that!


      1. Now it confuses me, it says that nitrogen constitutes 78% by volume of Earth’s atmosphere. By that 78%, it holds true that nitrogen dominated the atmosphere.

        But oxygen is the third most abundant element in the universe by mass after hydrogen and helium and the most abundant element by mass in the Earth’s crust.

        By volume versus by mass. Which of which?

        Help needed. I hope Kuya Mark of Nooks and Crannies and Mr. Nonsense could provide answers.


        1. By abundant, it may mean mass. Remember that gases occupy whatever volume there is, regardless of their mass.

          To calculate the mass of N2 and O2 in the atmosphere eludes me at the moment because the density of gases is a function of temperature and pressure, and add humidity for “air” as a gas.

          Let me think furher… magbabalik…


  6. I wish my Dad was able to conquer it. Or better yet, I wish he was a plant. No cancer cells. No death. Haha. kidding.

    I call it “Adaptation”.


      1. di naman ako naeemo pag naaalala ko yun. I can hardly remember it. don’t worry. kaya nga nakakapagjoke pa ko e. wahahaha!

        Hi tay. Si Ax oh, bisitahin mo nga.


    1. yun nga rin yung naisip ko bakit anaerobic? those are organisms who does not need air (oxygen). oks, i’ll change it to aerobic.

      er, check your chicken comment on the thread “what have you learned today.” you told everyone its anaerobic. laglagan ito! hehe. buti google sheep ang diniscus ko.


  7. Okay:

    Despite its status as a necessary life substance for all except a few special organisms, oxygen is a highly toxic mutagenic gas (FREE RADICALS IN BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE, B Halliwell and J MC Gutteridge, OUP, Oxford 1999, p. 1). We can only survive its presence in our atmosphere because we have important anti-oxidant mechanisms to protect us from its damage.


    1. Oxygen, we need it to breathe. But early organisms would have found this environment toxic. Ancient bacteria evolved protective enzymes that prevented oxygen from damaging their DNA, but what evolutionary incentive did they have to do this? Researchers have discovered that ultraviolet light hitting the surface of glacial ice can release molecular oxygen. Bacteria colonies living near this ice would have needed to evolve this protective defense. They were then well equipped to handle the growth of atmospheric oxygen produced by other bacteria that would normally be toxic.

      Two and a half billion years ago, when our evolutionary ancestors were little more than a twinkle in a bacterium’s plasma membrane, the process known as photosynthesis suddenly gained the ability to release molecular oxygen into Earth’s atmosphere, causing one of the largest environmental changes in the history of our planet. The organisms assumed responsible were the cyanobacteria, which are known to have evolved the ability to turn water, carbon dioxide, and sunlight into oxygen and sugar, and are still around today as the blue-green algae and the chloroplasts in all green plants.


    1. Sadly, each one of us has cancer cells in our body. Ang mga cancer cells na ito ay hindi nakikita in a standard tests not until they have multiplied to a few billion. Kapag sinabi ng isang doctor na hindi na active ang (put cancer of the organ here), they are really telling that the tests are unable to detect the cancer cells for the reason that those cancer cells have shrunk to the extent that would not be detected by a specific medical test.

      at nalaman ko din na sa mga cancer patients, kahit matulog sila sa isang “freezer-like-room”, mainit pa rin ang pakiramdam nila. Really a misery.


      1. “kahit matulog sila sa isang “freezer-like-room”, mainit pa rin ang pakiramdam nila.”

        totoo yan ax!

        tumatak sa akin ang sinabi ni maritoni fernandez dati noong inintervieww siya after her chemotherapy…sabi niya “i feel like burning from within!”


    1. Yawts. Salamat kuya Eli. Salamat rin sa SMS message! Sows, kaw naman nag text ka pa! Hehe. Kasalukuyan akong nasa opis nung nag text ka!



  8. through prayers, i believe we can fight the Big C…

    my mom, i can say is very determined that she can overcome this challenge in her life…

    let us pray for them… 😉


  9. Ang aking bossing ngayon ay nasa proseso ng ‘recovery’, bata pa para sa edad na 33, isang uri ng kanser, hindi ko na inalam dahil ayaw kong ipakita sa kaniyang nalulungkot ako pero mabuti na lamang at mas matapang siya sa akin, ang pamangkin ng aking itinuturing na kaibigan, nursing-graduate, maganda at nasa edad 21 pa lamang ay may breast cancer din.

    Ang ating pisikal na katawan ay napakahalaga, wala ang utak kong walang gagawa para sa kaniya.

    Mahirap hutukin ang disiplina sa katawan, masarap ang bawal pero hindi naman masamang pangalagaan ang kalusugan.

    Mahusay Ax


  10. cancer = enemy to some, challenge to everybody.

    Hindi namimili ang sakit na ito ngunit napipigilan, ayaw kong magkaroon ng ganito ngunit hawak ng kapalaran ang sagot sa hiling ko.

    Dumating man skin or kanino man.
    Dapat maging handa tayo sa kung anuman.
    Sa buhay ng bawat tao dapat pagdaanan.
    Ganitong klase ng pagsubok malalaman ating katatagan.
    Cancer man oh AIDs parehong nakakamatay.
    Pero papayag ka bang mapatay ng isang sakit lamang?


    1. BioHazard, bat di ka sumama sa lazerxtreme namin? Awts. Next time sumama ka na ha!

      Ayos ah. Hindi pa rin nawawala sa iyo ang literatura. Papayag ba akong mapatay ng isang organismo na kumakain ng aking laman?

      Alam natin ang kasagutan diyan.

      Sumama ka sa susunod na lazerxtreme.


  11. very inspiring clap clap clap hehehe 😛

    hey by the way Ax thanks for the visit 😛


    keep in touch ha 🙂

    cge na nawawalan na ata ako ng oxygen 😛 LOL


  12. hmmm. yung lola ko, namatay ng cancer.
    nakita ko yung hirap niya kaya sabi ko, as much as possible, sana, hindi na maulit na may magcacancer sa pamilya namin. ang hirap eh.
    i also hope na makahanap na ng gamot sa cancer. impossible is nothing naman di ba. baka nga may gamot na sa cancer ngayon, hindi lang nilalabas ng mga ganid na tao.
    well, again. hindi dapat tayo mawawalan ng pag-asa. yun yun eh. haha. pag-asa. 🙂


    1. Oo nga Ka Roger. Kahit ako, ayoko na magkaroon ng cancer sa pamilya ko o sa kaibigan ko. Nakakatakot. Nakakatrauma. At ang physical pain na naidudulot nito. Hindi ko kakayanin na makita ni isa sa kanila na naghihirap sa sakit na ito. Kaya mataas ang tingin ko sa nakikipaglaban sa kanser. Kudos sa kanilang lahat.


    1. kung magkamustahan tayo parang ang tagal nating walang communication! oks ako! ikaw kamusta ka na at ang kapitbahay niyo! kamusta sila?


          1. hindi masyado. naaaliw kasi ako sa comments section nyong mga tga wordpress. directa yung reply. di gaya sa blog ko, sunod-sunod. haha. nakakaaliw.


    1. True. Healing is tending to cure what is not right.

      And I also believe that that prayers alone, without action, is like taking just half of your prescription.


    1. A leap of faith, in its most commonly used meaning, is the act of believing in or accepting something intangible or unprovable, or without empirical evidence. According to Wiki yan!


  13. ang astig nmn nito kuya ax, pinag aralan ang CANCER ah
    pwedeng maging isang mahusay na ONCOLOGIST
    ako, auko mamatay ng CANCER, huhuhu.
    kung patay patay agad. auko mahirapan, hehehe


    1. Oo nga. Ikaw ang dapat na maging mahusay na oncologist dahil ikaw ay medically inclined. Ako di naman ako kumuha ng medical-allied program eh.

      Ako rin Lei, ayoko rin mahirapan. Awts.


  14. my aunt died of cancer last summer….Im not afraid of dying with cancer, what I am afraid of is the burden that I have to give to my family kung ako ay magkakasakit. Ayoko nun.


    1. Tsk. Bad news pala yan Maldito. Buti ka pa di afraid sa cancer, er, yun nga lang. Pag nagkasakit ka, yung burden na ibibigay mo sa family mo.


  15. nong bata pa ako at wala pang utak eh yan ang gusto ko kung mamatay ako…sabi ko kasi maganda kasi makakapag paalam pa ako sa mga mahal ko sa buhay………………………ngayon????

    sana di ako narinig ni Fafa Jetut nong sinasabi ko yun….ang mahal mahal na sakit yun at talagang maSAKIT!

    as usual dugo na naman ang dapat na dudugo sa akin!


    1. Haha. Nakow, yung next artic ko, baka dumugo ulit yan. Handa ka ng malaking band aid. yawts.

      Bakit yan naman ang gusto mong sakit nung bata ka pa? ako, ayoko ng worldly pain. nakakatakot kase. yawts.


  16. life could have been much easier if human beings were designed to become anaerobic organisms..not only will we be free from cancer, but also free from the discrepancies of breathing. from a pessimist’s point of view, breathing is way overrated.

    its either i am making sense or im just too sleepy to give a decent comment.

    very informative post koya ax!


    1. Bakit gising ka pa ng ganyang oras? 4:38 am na. Kung sabagay, alam ko na kung ano sine search mo.

      Nope, Crux, you actually make sense. If we have evolved into species of no expiration and inspiration, if only we have evolved in a parasitic way of consuming energy.. things could have been different.


    1. considering weather conditions, technology, medical intervention, adaptive ability.. baka superheroes na lahat ng tao.

      physically, i also can’t imagine.


  17. Kaya ba may “anti-oxidant” na panlaban sa pag-tanda?

    Kaka-gulat ding isipin minsan na kung ano iyong nagbibigay-buhay sa iyo ay maari ring isa sa magdulot ng iyong pagkamatay.


      1. Hindi na bale.
        Sabi naman sa susunod na buhay hindi na tayo muling mauuhaw. Mabubuhay ng walang hanggan. Wala ng mga free radicals na iisipin pa.

        Sana makarating din ako doon.


    1. no problem. t’was so long ago i barely remember what my feelings then. besides, i am too young to shed any emotional outbreak back then.

      my prayers, too.


  18. interesting, ax. my grandmother died of colon cancer too when i was in high school.

    me bagong PC term pala sa cancer patients: cellularly-challenged. hehehe.


    1. nice knowing yung bagong term. it should have been harder on your part. high school ka na kase. ako, when my grandmother died, nasa 5 years old lang ata ako. can’t even remember much.


      1. my friend’s mother was just diagnosed to have stage 1 cancer. good thing it was detected this this early. am praying for her wellbeing. hopefully it will not happen to any of us.


        1. good thing yan. okay pa yan at maaagapan pa. hope, everything gets better on your mom’s friend. yeah, hopefully, it will not happen to any of us, and to your family, too.


  19. Nowadays, with all the toxic substances/chemicals/gases/etc around us, we are all possible victims. Ax, i want to study Oncology. Let’s go sago. ^_^


      1. cancer has been portrayed as an illness that leads to a slow and painful death that is filled with despair. tb, on the other hand, has been wrapped in a stigma of something very dirty and infectious and should be isolated from society.
        so while most cancer patients get sympathy, tb sufferers are feared.

        …pero para sa love ones, mahirap either way. lalo na’t children are involved.


  20. call it challenge….call it by another name…
    we got only one life to live….live it to the fullest…no matter how short it is…then cancer does not exists..


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