Although widely known as an air pollutant, medical grade ozone has proven to have beneficial properties across an array of common ailments, with minimal risk of side effects. Ozone therapy works by harnessing its natural oxidation effect on bacterial cells, which disrupts the phospholipids and lipoproteins that make up their enzyme walls. Body cells infected by bacteria or fungi have weakened cell walls, leaving them prone to the oxidation effects of ozone, thus only damaged cells are targeted in therapeutic treatments. It also increases the levels of interferons and tumor necrosis in the body. This is important as interferons are the protein released by cells that signal the need for releasing the agents that make up the immune system. It also increases the body’s production of red blood cells, which increases the amount of oxygen in the blood stream and releasing more enzymes which consume free radicals.
Common Medical Applications
Because it couples the natural stimulation of the immune system with the destruction of compromised cells, while leaving healthy cells intact, ozone is used to treat a wide array of infections, wounds, and immunological diseases. It is administered directly to the affected areas, and never inhaled. The most common ailments treated by ozone are as follows:
- Infected wounds
- Circulatory diseases
- Osteoarthritis pain
- Herniated lumbar disc inflammation
- Dental infections and cavities
Possible Side Effects
Because it should only administered via spray or a compress, ozone side effects are minimal and most easily preventable by a properly trained professional. The negative effects of excess ozone, as observed in air pollution, are mainly due to its unregulated combination of ozone with nitrogen dioxide, which damages a cell’s natural unsaturated fatty acids. This can lead to a change in the membrane permeability of all cells in the body, possibly causing a shutdown of enzyme production and, eventually, cell death. By not administering medical grade ozone through inhalation this danger is largely eliminated in treatment. By adding dietary antioxidants, such as vitamins E and C, these side effects can be avoided.