Most people when they listen to ozone therapy are surprised at how “a gas” in the Earth's atmosphere can possibly act as a therapeutic agent. While there are many doubts about this type of alternative medicine, research shows that ozone can actually be taken advantage of by supplying powerful oxygen.
It has been said that ozone is an unstable molecule and there are some risks in its use clinically. The US Food and Drug Administration's findings suggest that it has no known useful medical application, although there are many studies that suggest otherwise. So what to say about ozone therapy? Is it a less well-researched but potentially influential agent? Or should you get rid of this type of therapy altogether?
What is Ozone Therapy?
Ozone therapy uses ozone(O3), a potent form of oxygen, as a germicidal agent that is introduced into the affected areas of the body. In this therapy, the coloured gas is used to improve oxygen intake and boost the immune system process. Ozone is the strongest for naturally occurring oxidants. It is produced by lightning and ultraviolet radiation in nature. Medical ozone is produced by passing medical grade oxygen through ozone discharge resulting in a mixture of 1% to 5% ozone and 95% to 99% oxygen. Because ozone therapy is not approved by the FDA, so far it cannot be performed by health care practitioners in the United States. Some researchers and doctors support its use for certain medical conditions, although still more human clinical trials are needed for navigation of its safety and efficacy.
How does It work?
With the help of Medical ozone, harmful effects of bacterial viruses, fungi, yeast and protozoa can be reduced. It is used to disinfect and treat diseases caused by those invaders.
In this process, bacterial and fungal cell growth and virus-to-cell contact can be disrupted through oxidation. Cells exposed to virus invasion by foreign pathogens are also susceptible to oxidation, which is why ozone works to inhibit their growth, eliminate them, and replace healthy cells.
The main function of ozone is to protect humans from the dangerous effects of UV radiation. This radiation occurs naturally on Earth, in concentrations that are completely compatible with life.
Although this gas has dangerous effects, researchers have discovered some of its therapeutic capabilities.
How does ozone therapy work? In medicine, controlled therapeutic doses are used in many ways, but are not swallowed or inhaled.
ozone uses, while in a gaseous state include:
Direct injection: to treat internal organs and oxygenate the blood, Ozone gas is used intravenously. Intramuscular injections are also common.
Autohemotransfusion: In this form of therapy, the body is pulled out of the body, mixed with ozone gas and then reinfused to oxygenated blood.
Rectal insufflation: In this method, ozone gas is introduced through the rectum so that it can enter the colon and bloodstream.
Skin exposure: In this method, ozone gas is used through a sealed bag or medical chamber on the skin, much like hyperbaric oxygen therapy.
According to research, ozone therapy, as well as occasional illnesses and health issues, include:
- infected wounds
- diabetic foot
- viral diseases
- circulatory disorders
- peripheral vascular disease
- breathing disorders
- macular degeneration
Works as an antibacterial and antifungal agent:
Studies have shown that ozone acts as an antibacterial agent used to treat oral infections and wounds.
Enhances immune responses: Ozone therapy works to prevent inflammatory reactions caused by pathogens. Studies have shown that it significantly reduces pro-inflammatory cytokines without toxicity or serious side effects.
Increases anti-oxidant production:
Ozone therapy works to increase production under antioxidants that allow it to increase oxidation and support immune function. Research suggests that by increasing anti-oxidant production, ozone supports wound healing and fights infections.
Supports wound healing:
Ozone therapy can help increase circulation, destroy microorganisms including bacteria and viruses, increase oxygen delivery and modify the immune system. It is for this reason that it can be used as an alternative therapy for wound healing and diabetic foot.
Is It Safe?
Ozone therapy as alternative medicine is highly suspect because it has an unstable molecular structure. Can ozone therapy be considered bad for you? Researchers admit that ozone toxicity depends on the concentration and administration at the appropriate site. That is, if it is not used properly it can definitely be dangerous.
A major issue with ozone is the damage it can cause to the lungs. This greatly increases airway resistance without altering lung elasticity leading to serious issues such as:
shortness of breath
swelling of blood vessels
Risk of stroke and heart problems
Direct eye contact, ozone injection and rectal contact also pose a risk of side effects. If ozone is inhaled, this burning sensation can cause coughing headaches and nausea.
Risks and Side Effects
The unpredictable nature of ozone therapy poses risks and side effects. This gas is unstable and with the wrong dose or administration, it can cause toxicity.
red blood cells and lung function can be damaged by exposure to high levels of ozone gas. There are also potential dangers of using ozone injections and more human testing needs to be done to understand its safety.
While ozone therapy is not a common treatment method, it can be used in some cases. To reduce the risk of side effects it is necessary to ensure that your health care provider is well trained. Therefore, you should talk to your doctor about possible health risks before treatment.
Hence, the following conclusions can be drawn from the above points:
1. Ozone therapy uses gas ozone to aid wound healing, oxidation and severe infection. Although evidence on this form of alternative medicine is lacking, some researchers praise its therapeutic potential.
2. It is considered a toxic gas so the use of medical ozone has not been approved by the FDA.
3. Several forms of ozone include ozonated water, autohemotherapy, IV ozone therapy, and the ozone chamber. The practice has many potential risks including toxicity, loss of lung capacity and heart issues.