Ozone is a molecule found naturally in our atmosphere– it is what protects us from the sun’s harmful rays and potentially a myriad of medical conditions when used appropriately. As a molecule, it is similar to oxygen except that it has three oxygen atoms instead of two. This makes it highly reactive and useful for medical treatments.
Historically, ozone therapy has been medically used for over 150 years, whose efficacy has been proven along with little to no side effects. Ozone has been used as a sanitation tool for water purification, dentistry, wound care, and in the treatment of over 114 diseases.
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How does it work?
Ozone therapy works in a variety of ways, depending on how you choose to use it. It activates and increases the metabolic yields of several pathways by providing mild oxidative stress. It slightly increases the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the blood or area injected. The small increase in hydrogen peroxide disappears quickly and is replaced with copious amounts of antioxidants, cell-protecting proteins, feel-good neurotransmitters and immuno-modulating messengers. When applied directly to the blood it works as a light-switch: it turns your immune system, incites a hoard of antioxidant soldiers to your command and pumps your cells full of oxygen by increasing the rate at which your red blood cells break down sugars. As a wellness tool, there is no comparison. Patients have reported side effects such as boundless energy in day-to-day life, relief from aches and pains, and a sense of mental clarity that helps to bring you back to centre.
In the blood
Ozone activates and increases the rate of glycolysis in erythrocytes (red blood cells). In other words, it encourages your system to use sugars in your blood to create energy. Since erythrocytes don’t have mitochondria, glycolysis is one of the sole ways this cell can generate ATP. One of the other major products of glycolysis is 1,3- DPG, which is a precursor for 2,3 – DPG, a protein that is crucial for the release of oxygen into hypoxic (oxygen deprived) tissue.
Hemoglobin can carry four oxygen species at one time, however, without the help of 2,3- DPG it may not deposit all of the oxygen into your tissues which results in poor circulation, low energy levels, and a cascade of other maladies.
For the immune system
Ozone therapy acts as a weak cytokine inducer, which goes on to stimulate immune cells to release cytokines and eicosanoids. Cytokines mediate antiviral responses, inhibit proliferation and participate in immune surveillance.
Over time, ozone therapy strengthens the immune system because with each therapy, a small percentage of immune cells are ‘turned on’ within their microenvironments. This begins a slow and steady cascade of signals that notify other cells to begin working as well.
It has been shown that ozone treatment also results in the increase of tumour suppressing molecules, growth factors and immune system activators.
Fighting bacteria, fungi and viruses
Ozone is anti-bacterial because it is able to dissolve the bacteria’s cell envelope on contact by oxidizing the fats that provide the bacteria most of its structural integrity. After this, the bacteria self-destructs. This method of treatment does not cause antibiotic resistance.
It acts as anti-viral by similar means. Viruses that are encapsulated with a lipid coating are more susceptible to ozone therapy due to the susceptibility of lipids to oxidation. Ozone has also been found to arrest the life cycle of several viruses.
Ozone therapy is also useful for the treatment of fungal infections because of its ability to diffuse into the fungal cell and disrupt spore germination, production and growth of the fungi. In addition, 20% of fungal mass consists of lipids, which oxidize on contact with ozone.
Improving your metabolism
Ozone serves to increase the efficiency of our metabolism by increasing blood circulation and oxygenation of our cells. Oxidants are largely responsible for aging because they are a direct cause of cell death. Ozone therapy increases the levels of antioxidants by activating the transcription factor Nrf2 whose domain is responsible for the production of the following antioxidants:
- Superoxide dismutase (SOD): separates superoxide oxygen into normal oxygen and hydrogen peroxide
- Glutathione peroxidase (GPx): protects cell from oxidative damage by reducing lipid hydroperoxides and hydrogen peroxides
- Glutathione S-transferase (GST): helps glutathione pair with toxins
- Catalase (CAT): decomposes hydrogen peroxide into oxygen and water
- Heme Oxygenase-1 (HO-1): catalyzes the degradation of heme
- NADPH-quinone-oxioreductase (NQO-1): accepts and transfers electrons to reduce the amount of free radicals
- Heat shock proteins (HSP): stabilizes proteins when extreme conditions are present
- Phase II Enzymes of drug metabolism: the enzymes found in this step are crucial to drug detoxification in the kidneys and liver