Ozone therapy refers to the process of administering ozone gas into your body to treat a disease or wound. Ozone is a colorless gas made up of three atoms of oxygen (O3). In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) stated that ozone is toxic and has no proven medical applications. However, a study by Smith et al., (2017) has indicated that Ozone may be used to treat medical conditions by stimulating the immune system. It may also be used for disinfection and to treat a range of diseases. In the hospital, ozone therapy gas is made from medical-grade oxygen sources.
Mechanism of Action
Manoto et al., (2018) found that medical ozone has been used to disinfect medical supplies and treat different conditions for more than 100 years. It may also help prevent infection in wounds. A study by Seyam et al., (2018) agrees that when ozone comes into contact with body fluids, the resulting reactions form more proteins and red blood cells. This increases oxygen supply in your body.
Ozone therapy may also disrupt unhealthy processes in your body. Tiwari et al., (2017) study found that ozone therapy can inactivate:
Ozone; Scientific Studies
A 2014 study by Borrelli examined intravenous ozone therapy or injecting ozone mixed with blood, for treating Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease(COPD). It found that the therapy improved the quality of life and ability to exercise in former smokers with COPD.
It is important to note that breathing in ozone may irritate or damage the lungs, especially in people with respiratory diseases.
Though there are many positive aspects of ozone, it is also an air pollutant and shouldn’t be ingested. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) advises against using ozone air purifiers.
Ozone therapy also shows promise in reducing the risk of complications from diabetes. A study by Braidy et al., (2017) found that ozone may correct oxidative stress by activating the body’s immune and antioxidant systems and reducing inflammation. A retrospective study by Izadi et al., (2019) Also found that ozone therapy in people with diabetic foot ulcers helped close the wound and reduced the chances of infection. Further, a previous study by Vinnik et al., (2015) also found that ozone therapy could be helpful for wound healing, a common side effect of diabetes.
A study by Cespedes-Suarez et al., (2018) found that ozone mixed with blood and injected into people with HIV significantly reduced their viral load over a 2-year period. A lower viral load means less of the virus is present, which can improve long-term health. The study however noted that more research is needed on the use of ozone therapy for the treatment of HIV.
Ozone therapy, Preparation
For Medical purposes, ozone therapy is prepared by drawing blood from the body, mixing it with ozone gas, and replacing it. In the case of administering with patient blood, the patient needs to prepare for the blood draw by getting plenty of sleep the night before and eating a healthy breakfast that day. Also, they have to drink plenty of water.
Administration of Ozone Therapy
There are many different ways to receive ozone therapy. Three main forms of treatment include administering ozone:
- Directly to the tissue; if you undergo ozone therapy for an extremity problem or wound, the ozone gas will most likely be applied directly to the tissue of the affected body part. The gas is administered in a protective covering.
- Intravenously; to treat internal disorders, such as HIV, the ozone gas is usually dissolved into blood that was taken from the patient. Afterwards, the blood with the dissolved gas is injected back into the patient through an IV line. Intravenous use can carry the risk of causing an embolism through the formation of air bubbles.
- Intramuscularly; ozone therapy is also available as an intramuscular injection. For this injection, the ozone gas is often mixed with oxygen before administration.
Seyam et al., ( 2018) found that ozone therapy may help with knee osteoarthritis by improving range of motion and delaying decline. People with rheumatoid arthritis or back pain from herniated discs may also benefit from ozone therapy, according to the research. However, there aren’t enough studies on these conditions yet.
Ozone has additionally been used and studied in many aspects of dentistry. Suh et al., (2019) indicated that ozonated water may be effective as a disinfectant during root canals. It may also help desensitize exposed dentin, among other uses.
Many products are available to purchase that claim to provide ozone therapy, but none have been proven effective. Ozone therapy should be conducted by a trained healthcare provider or naturopathic practitioner.
Currently, there isn’t enough evidence for the FDA to support the use of ozone therapy. More large-scale human studies are needed to demonstrate effectiveness and safety.
Ozone gas has an odd number of atoms, which makes it unstable. This instability means it can be unpredictable. Healthcare providers should take extreme caution when using ozone therapy. Ozone must be used in the proper amounts and in the correct place, and it shouldn’t be ingested.
In 2019, the FDA released a warning about inhaling ozone because it can irritate the lungs and cause fluid buildup that makes it difficult to breathe.
There are significant dangers when using ozone intravenously, at high doses, or for a long time. Talk with your healthcare provider about all of the possible risks and weigh them against the potential benefits.
Costs and coverage
It can be difficult to estimate the cost of ozone therapy because the treatments are individualized based on your medical condition and the duration of your treatment.
Ozone therapy is controversial, but it may show promise. New clinical trials for ozone therapy uses are in the works. The FDA doesn’t approve the use of ozone therapy in the treatment of disease. It has further said that ozone has “no known useful medical application.”
There also aren’t enough large long-term studies to understand all potential adverse effects. Talk to your healthcare provider if you have questions about this treatment and whether it is right for you. If you do want to try it, be sure to choose a provider with experience in ozone therapy.
The writer is a Professor of Naturopathic Healthcare and the President of Nyarkotey College of Holistic Medicine & Technology (NUCHMT) and the African Naturopathic Foundation . E-mail: [email protected].