Ozone is being used by doctors for the treatment of HIV/AIDS because it activates white blood cells to destroy the virus. Research shows that ozone activates white blood cells to induce the production of cytokines (immune alert signals). Ozone’s lack of toxicity makes it an indispensable therapy for diseases such as chronic viral diseases, cancer and AIDS.

Initially the use of ozone in medicine sounded to me like something out of a Buck Rogers movie–a medical treatment akin to the blue halo of our upper atmosphere. But my wish to learn more was realized almost seven years later when experts from Germany came to Vancouver to introduce a small group of doctors to this therapy.

Ozone is one of nature’s most powerful pro-oxidants and healing agents. Medical ozone application as a healing therapy in the treatment of infected tissues and wounds began in Europe. Its use has now spread to other parts of the world. Cuba has a very active ozone program in its health-care system. Ozone therapy has not been accepted in North America because of Food and Drug Administration requirements for expensive research. (Much research has already been done in Europe but isn’t considered valid here.)

Medical ozone is created in a machine by mixing oxygen gas with a high-voltage current. A proper ozone generator should be able to vary the ozone concentration from five to 100 micrograms per millilitre. In medical applications, it is administered as an ozone/oxygen (O3/O2) gas mixture. Ozone is a very unstable molecule and can be damaging, for example, to the lungs when found in Los Angeles smog. But otherwise ozone is a very purifying substance. Doctors now know that it has three powerful properties.

  1. It stimulates the immune system through production of natural cancer-killing proteins called cytokines.

  2. It improves oxygenation (delivery of oxygen to starved tissues) and metabolism.

  3. It is a powerful antibiotic when applied locally.
Therapeutic Applications of Ozone
  • HIV/AIDS

  • vascular disease (stroke)

  • obstructive arteriopathy

  • venous insufficiency

  • cancer

  • acute and chronic viral infections

  • ulcers

  • infected wounds

  • gangrenes

  • burns

  • inflammatory bowel disease (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis)

  • circulatory disorders

Ozone is naturally produced during two situations in nature: one is in the upper atmosphere where oxygen meets ionizing radiation from the sun. This high-energy environment splits the O2 oxygen molecule, producing two single oxygen atoms. Since these oxygen atoms are "lonely," they combine with other oxygen molecules to produce an unstable ozone molecule made up of three oxygen atoms. Therefore the chemical symbol for ozone is O3 (standing for three oxygen molecules). The other situation where ozone is made is during lightening strikes. The high-voltage electricity of lightning "zaps" the oxygen in the atmosphere and creates ozone.

Ozone’s oxidative potential comes from the fact that the piggy backed spare oxygen molecule is unstable and escapes, looking for another unpaired oxygen molecule or an electron to steal. This electron-stealing ability is what makes ozone such a strong poison to viruses and bacteria–because it steals electrons from the membranes of these organisms, which have poor repair mechanisms.

Ozone Concentrations

Doctors that specialize in ozone therapy divide it into two types: low concentration ozone and high concentration ozone. Low concentration ozone treatments (five to 40 micrograms per millilitre) are used to stimulate the immune system and increase the antioxidant enzymes in the body. Typically these concentrations are chosen for intravenous use.

Lower concentration ozone stimulates receptors on the cell membranes of both red and white blood cells, causing the cells to increase their metabolic activity. This increases the oxygen-carrying ability of the red blood cells (useful in diabetic gangrene, strokes, diseases or poor blood circulation). Since all cells need oxygen, diseases can result from low oxygen concentrations in the blood. As an example, some bacterial infections occur because of the overgrowth of bacteria that thrive in an oxygen-poor environment. Modern humans experience deprivation of oxygen in the body through polluted air, sedentary lifestyle and poor circulation.

Ozone also changes the red blood cell membrane by increasing its flexibility, which enhances the flow properties of the blood and increases the transport of oxygen to the cells and tissues. This is especially applicable in conditions where the doctor examines the blood and discovers a Rouloux formation ("pile of coins") under the microscope. Ozone further activates the enzyme 2,3-Diphosphoglycerate (2,3-DPG) in hemoglobin to release oxygen. This is of particular importance to diabetics, in which 2,3-DPG is depressed. One of ozone’s abilities to increase oxygen delivery to peripheral tissues is due to the induced increase of 2,3-DPG in the red blood cells.

It is well documented that ozone can activate white blood cells, such as monocytes and lymphocytes, and induce the production of an array of cytokines (immune alert signals) such as interleukin, interferon and tumour-necrosis factor. Ozone’s ability to enhance the production of cytokines and its lack of toxicity makes ozone an indispensable therapeutic for diseases such as chronic viral diseases, cancer and AIDS.

Low dose ozone also causes the formation of short-lived free radicals at the red blood cell membrane. These free radicals are then removed due to increased production of the detoxifying enzyme glutathione peroxidase. In addition, there is an enhancement of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) production, the main "energy currency" of the red blood cell. This increase in cellular membrane enzymes is important in the therapeutic ozone management of stroke and burns. The elevation of ATP synthesis in red blood cells will decrease swelling formed at the injured site, thus minimizing tissue damage and subsequent scarring. But this is effective only when ozone is administered within the first 24-48 hours. In Germany, many ambulances are equipped with ozone, which is injected intravenously into patients who have just suffered a stroke.

Higher concentration ozone is a powerful germicidal substance at higher concentrations (40-100 mcg/ml). This oxidative destruction is useful for killing bacteria, viruses and fungi topically and internally, which makes ozone ideal for treating infected wounds, intestinal infections, vaginal infection and topical skin diseases caused by fungus. I have treated many cases of ringworm, infected wounds and systemic candida. I even had amazing results in one woman who had a postpartum infection of her uterus due to a retained placenta.

Routes of Administration

There are several ways to administer ozone, depending upon the condition being treated.

"Autohemotherapy" involves the treatment ex vivo of blood with ozone and prompt reinfusion into the donor. This is the most popular procedure among German physicians and, along with rectal administration, is the way HIV/AIDS is treated. Other methods include direct infusion of a gaseous ozone/oxygen mixture intravenously. Direct delivery of ozone into the blood vessels has a very low risk. No air that contains nitrogen ever enters the body, so an air embolus cannot occur.

"Colorectal insufflation" of ozone/ oxygen, much like an enema, has been used to treat colitis, fistula and colon cancer.

"Bagging" or topical ozone is also excellent for the treatment of infected wounds, ulcers and burns, especially those that are difficult to heal.

Ozone is inexpensive. The cost is in the time required to administer it. The autohemotherapy method has slightly higher costs because of special vacuum containers that are required for mixing the blood with the ozone.

Side-effects of ozone when administered intravenously include phlebitis, chest pain, shortness of breath, fainting, coughing, flushing and cardiac arrythmias. Rectal ozone can cause intestinal irritation. The most common side-effect occurs when the lungs are accidentally exposed to ozone, which can cause severe inflammation and even coughing up of blood. However, when given in small doses therapeutically by a qualified professional, ozone has a dramatic positive effect on health and can be used to treat many diseases.

For more information, contact the Canadian Naturopathic Association at 877-628-7284.

About the Author

Peter Bennett peterbennett.com is a naturopathic physician, board certified homeopath and clinical acupuncturist. He is the medical director of the Helios Clinic in Victoria, BC, and author of The 7-Day Detox Miracle, 2nd Edition (Prima Publ