Ozone Therapy: Is it Good or Bad?

ozone therapy, o3 therapyOzone (O3) therapy is a type of alternative medicine that claims to increase the amount of oxygen in the body through the introduction of ozone. Although O3 has many damaging effects, some researchers believe it has many therapeutic effects, as well. So why isn’t ozone therapy more widely utilized? Is it because we frequently equate the medical application of O3 with unhealthy ozone levels in the atmosphere? Some say these fears do not apply to the properly administered, medical ozone.[1] Others say ozone is useless and its therapeutic effects, contradictory, at best. One doctor says that what many people fail to realize is that ozone in its purest form and ozone mixed with pollutants behave differently.[2] Where does the answer lie?

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a colorless gas made up of three atoms of oxygen (O3). It is the primary component in smog. It is also generated from automobile engines and industrial factories that burn fossil fuel. Its deleterious effects on humans and the environment depend upon where in the atmosphere it occurs. For example, in the upper stratosphere, O3 plays a protective role, shielding us from cancer causing ultraviolet (UV) radiation. In the troposphere (lowest layer of atmosphere) ozone occurs naturally due to its interaction with plants and soil. Although natural levels of O3 seldom cause problems for humans, the extra ozone produced nearest the ground by industrial processes and automobiles is the “bad ozone,” the ozone found in smog that causes respiratory illnesses in humans and animals.3

What Some Researchers Say About Ozone

The effects of ozone gas have been utilized and heavily studied for more than a century and found to be proven and consistent, having minimal and preventable side effects. Ozone, properly introduced into the body, has a keen ability to inactivate bacteria, fungi, yeast and protozoa while stimulating the metabolism of oxygen in the body and activating the immune system. Because gaseous forms of medication such as ozone are somewhat uncommon, much care has been taken to develop special application techniques for its safe use. Some of the diseases that have been treated with O3 include infected wounds, circulatory disorders, geriatric conditions, macular degeneration, viral diseases, rheumatism/arthritis, cancers, severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) and acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).[3]

Ozone therapy is widely used in other countries including Germany, Russia and Cuba. In the 1960’s, Dr. Robert Atkins of the famed “Atkin’s Diet” temporarily lost his medical license after he purportedly cured a woman’s breast cancer by injecting it with ozone. In the United States, the first ozone generator was created in 1896 and successful ozone therapy in the USA dates back to this time. However, to date, ozone therapy is not approved by the FDA and is only considered to be an experimental treatment.[3] Here’s why…

Disadvantages of Ozone Therapy

Ozone therapy is not widely used in the clinical setting. One reason for this is because it has an odd number of atoms, which makes it unstable and unpredictable. Ozone has a capacity to oxidize organic compounds and has well-known toxic effects on the respiratory system when present in smog.

The American Cancer Society reports that “… few rigorous clinical trials of the treatment exist. Those that have been published demonstrated no evidence of effect… Until more positive evidence emerges, ozone therapy should be avoided.”[4]

In an adverse event report issued by the FDA in 2007, a doctor treated a family member who had ovarian cancer with ozone therapy of the blood. The treatment involved removing 250 milliliters (mm) of blood from the patient which was “ozonated” with 250 ml of ozone and then returned to the patient. This procedure was repeated three days in a row, every two weeks for three cycles over a period of one month. After the first set of three treatments, the patient complained of worsening symptoms including a decrease in her urinary output and abdominal discomfort. The doctor attributed these symptoms to the death of cancer cells and reassured the patient that everything was fine. Meanwhile, the patient’s urinary output continued to decrease and the patient steadily declined. After the third set of ozone treatments, the patient awoke from sleep with abdominal cramping, nausea and vomiting and had to be admitted to the hospital. After a three week hospital stay during which she was treated for a small bowel obstruction and gastrointestinal bleeding, the patient died.[5]

Conclusion

Ozone is good. Ozone is bad. Ozone is useless when it comes to viral infections. Ozone is an effective antiviral. You only have to do a search on the internet to discover the many contradictory claims about ozone therapy. With so many inconsistent statements, who are you to believe? Because research on ozone has mixed results and ozone therapy is not yet approved by the FDA, it’s best to talk to your doctor before seeking any type of treatment with ozone.

 

[1] Shoemaker, Judith, M., DVM. Ozone Therapy – History, Physiology, Indications, Results. 2005.
[2] Ali, Majid, MD. Is Ozone Good? Is Ozone Bad? September,2009.
[3] Elvis, A. M., & Ekta, J. S. (2011). Ozone therapy: A clinical review. Journal of Natural Science, Biology, and Medicine2(1), 66–70. http://doi.org/10.4103/0976-9668.82319.
[4] “Oxygen Therapy”American Cancer Society. Archived from the original on 21 July 2010. Retrieved 30, November 2017.
[5] Food and Drug Administration. MAUDE Adverse Event Report: OZONE GENERATOR OZONE THERAPY OF THE BLOOD – MAJOR AUTOHEMOTHERAPY. Event date 5/31/2007.

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