Ozone gas is a tremendous aid to healing used by practitioners worldwide! The acceptance of gases used in medical procedures has increased as the ability to test and use such materials has increased. For example, nitrous oxide, nicknamed “laughing gas,” has become a go-to anesthetic for dentists. While not yet as widely used as other medical-grade gases, ozone gas is proving to be helpful and is becoming well-known in the medical community. Which leads one to ask, how does ozone work in the human body, and what ozone therapy benefits could improve your health?
What is ozone?
Ozone is a rather unstable molecule with 3 oxygens atoms, which causes it to easily “donate” one of its oxygens. It can be created in the earth’s atmosphere when charged particles from lightning come into contact with oxygen, which is composed of 2 oxygen atoms. Medical-grade ozone gas is created in a lab, specifically to be used in a clinical setting. Studied and used for over a hundred years now (1), ozone gas has shown itself to be a remarkably potent and wide-ranging aid to healing.
The donation of an oxygen atom, a process called “oxidation,” is what makes ozone valuable. Ozone aids healing because when a donated oxygen atom comes into contact with pathogens in the blood such as a virus or bacteria, it can breach the outer coating of the pathogen, rendering it unable to survive (1). When directed properly, oxidation can directly kill pathogens in the blood while leaving blood cells themselves unharmed.
Ozone has been studied carefully for many years under particular circumstances. It is similar to many therapies in that it can extremely beneficial when used one way, yet harmful if used in another way. For example, it was revealed that inhaling high levels of ozone was damaging to human lung tissue. (There are even “ozone action days,” reported when ozone is high in the atmosphere.) However, there is emerging evidence that in small amounts, ozone may reduce oxidative stress in the lungs that is present with pneumonia (2). Because ozone therapies appear rather dose-dependent, clinical practices use ozone in dosages that achieve good benefits but are well below toxicity levels.
Treating Blood with Ozone / IV Ozone Therapy
One big ozone breakthrough came with finding a method to flood the blood with ozone. Being able to treat blood with ozone opened a whole new realm of therapeutic value. It was discovered that a small amount of blood could be pulled from the body and combined under pressure with ozone. This would cause ozone to bind to the blood, and be returned to the patient in a closed system. This intravenous (IV) blood transfusion to oneself is called “autohemotransfusion,” and when ozone is added to the blood under pressure, it is commonly called “IV ozone therapy.”
While the blood is being exposed to ozone in this process, the oxygens donated by the ozone can directly kill pathogens such as viruses, bacteria, and funguses (1). As mentioned before, ozone can create a hole of sorts in the cell envelope through the process of oxidation (1, 4). Once breached, the microbe is unable to sustain its functions and dies. Many types of microorganisms are susceptible to this: viruses, funguses, bacteria, and even protozoa. In a sense, this therapy is taking one’s blood out of the body, sterilizing it of diseases, and returning it to the body.
Typically blood cells themselves are unharmed by ozone. However, if a batch of IV ozone treatment (a “pass”) is repeated too many times, it can begin to have negative effects. Dr. Lahodny, a pioneer in ozone treatments, performed a lot of experimentation with ozone and established upper limits on how many times IV ozone treatments should be repeated. The “Ten Pass Method” is the treatment he is known for (3).
After this devastating direct blow to pathogens, the ozonated blood can then go back into the body to create a cascade of beneficial secondary effects, some of which are listed below.
Benefits of IV Ozone Therapy
While it is beneficial to administer topical ozone to wounds and ozonated substances injected into joints, IV ozone therapy can treat the body as a whole, systemically. Thanks to the keen interest of researchers over the years, there are studies that show these positive impacts (1, 4):
- stimulates the immune system response through a variety of channels
- increases oxygen uptake and usage
- spurs the body to increase its antioxidant levels
- inactivates viruses such as HIV, herpes, and viral oral infections
- inactivates bacteria such as C. difficile and drug-resistant Staphylococcus aureus
- inactivates funguses such as Candida
- reduces inflammation
-stimulates mitochondrial ATP production through NAD pathways
IV Ozone Reduces Many Risks by Mitigating Inflammation
Chronic inflammation is an extremely common health issue. Acute inflammation itself is a normal and natural healing response. For example, if you cut your finger the body launches a response to protect itself from microscopic foreign invaders and also knit the tissues back together to seal the wound. This quick, natural healing response brings immune system cells and heat to the area to help fend off possible infection. Once the crisis is over, the inflammation goes away. The process is usually short-lived. However, there are cases where the human body develops chronic inflammation, staying stuck in this defensive response for long periods. Over time this can wear the body down and either set the stage for (or be the direct cause of) illness.
Chronic inflammation has long been investigated as a risk factor behind a variety of illnesses (5), such as:
- cardiovascular diseases
- autoimmune diseases (for example, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Multiple Sclerosis, Rheumatoid arthritis)
- neurodegenerative disorders (for example, Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease)
The current thinking is that inflammation may be a causative force, actually being the driving factor behind disease rather than merely a risk. Indeed, there is now inquiry into inflammation as a theory of disease, floated by Philip Hunter in 2012 (6), and revisited by Harvard in 2020 (7). If one looks at repositories of medical studies, the role of inflammation is being looked at closely in dozens of diseases and conditions.
Thankfully, ozone shines in the area of reducing inflammation, if one looks at blood tests done for various markers of inflammation. Through its effects on various inflammation pathways, ozone has been estimated to reduce inflammation by 80% (8)! Imagine the health benefits from such a substantial reduction in inflammation, considering that chronic inflammation may go on to be associated with so many painful or debilitating diseases.