Entering the ‘O’ Zone
Introduction to Ozone Therapy
Larry A. Bernstein, VMD
We introduced Ozone therapy last chapter and promised to expand on that overview. To summarize last issues “teaser’:
What is Ozone?
Oxygen, as we know, is essential for most living creature and in the world of mammals Oxygen is critical. Oxygen is an element. However, it does not exist as a single atom since it is too highly reactive. We usually think of Oxygen as the symbol O2. The subscript 2 means that two Oxygen atoms are bonded together to form an Oxygen molecule.
When we add a third Oxygen atom to the molecule we get O3 or Ozone. Ozone is a HIGHY REACTIVE form of Oxygen that is very unstable since the third Oxygen atom is like the third person on a date – it is looking to find its own partner. If you left a steel tool out on the workbench, it might get all rusty (the oxidation of the steel = rust or iron oxide) in a few months. Take that same tool and put it in an Ozone (O3) rich environment and it would rust in days instead of months. That is because the third Oxygen atom is looking to leave the couple and attach with something else; in this case, the iron in the steel.
Many people have smelled Ozone from electronic air cleaners or smelled that special sharp and clean aroma of Ozone after a lightning storm. We also know that the Ozone layer in the upper atmosphere protects us from some of the deadly radiation of the Sun. Ozone is also used extensively in municipal water treatment plants since it kills bacteria and parasites instantly.
What is Ozone Therapy?
Ozone therapy is the administration of Ozone (usually medical grade unless in water or oils) to an animal or person to gain the benefits of its Oxygenation, antioxidant, and immune-stimulant properties. There are so many physiologic, immunologic and biochemical benefits of Oxygen and Ozone in the body that it would be impossible to do more than a short list and summary. There are thousands of papers on this subject. Ozone has many anti-aging properties and even can affect the telomerase (responsible for DNA repair and rejuvenation).
Some of the MAJOR Biochemical effects of Ozone – Oxygen therapy are:
Increased energy available at the cellular level via ATP, NAD and other pathways.
Increased Immune response via cytokines, Interleukins and many other immune system factors.
More efficient metabolism of sugars, carbohydrate, fat’s and lactic acid, to name a few.
Increased anti-oxidant and buffering activity.
Increased repair of the cellular components, especially the mitochondria or cell’s power source.
Increased elasticity of the red blood cells – did you know that the smallest capillary (the tiniest blood vessel) is only 50% - 75% as wide a red blood cell (RBC)? The RBC has to flatten and elongate to pass through these tiny vessels – when red cells get old or ill they have less elasticity and thus cannot stretch and narrow to do their job. Ozone helps correct this problem by increasing the elasticity and also may kill off the few percent of the oldest and weakest RBC’s.
Ozone effectively kills foreign organisms and sick or weak cells that have decreased or missing anti-oxidant systems since these are especially vulnerable to the oxidative effects of that 3rd Oxygen molecule. Among these are bacteria, viruses, the spirochetes that cause Lyme, Anaplasmosis, Ehrliciosis and, of course, cancer cells.
Ozone therapy is often combined with Ultra Violet Bio Immunotherapy (UVB or UVBI) to create a potent mixture that kills the bad cells and organisms and also activates the body’s immune system to battle the ones that have not come into direct contact with the Ozone. Reinfusion of the sensitized white blood cells spreads the message to the body’s other white cells and help the entire immune system react to the virus, parasite, bacteria or cancer cell. There are extensive studies that show the detailed mechanisms of this action but those a far beyond the scope of this article.
How is Ozone Made?
When Oxygen is passed through a tube and subjected to ultraviolet or electrical energy, the O2 molecule is broken apart and the reforms but a certain percentage creates a threesome called O3 or Ozone. This O3 has a half-life of about 45 minutes in glass containers and about 30 minutes in plastic since it is unstable and highly reactive. Medical grade Ozone is made by using pure Oxygen as the air source.
There are inexpensive Ozone generators that use room air to ozonate water for drinking and olive oil (or other oils) to apply topically. Medical grade Ozone is made using much more expensive generators with inert components and take Oxygen and turn it into Ozone that can administered via more invasive routes.
How is Ozone administered?
There are many routes of administration and they are often combined. Here is a summary of all the current methods of administration:
- Major AHT = MAH – Treated blood is reinfused IV
- Minor AHT = mAH - Treated blood is injected IM
- DIV Technique – Ozone gas directly into vein
- CheZone Therapy – Ozone combined with chelation therapy
- Rectal insufflation – Ozone gas administered rectally
- Limb bagging – Ozone gas floods a sealed plastic bag on a limb
- MAH/UBI – Major MAH blood also treated with UV
- Prolozone – Injection of solutions and Ozone gas in and around joints, scars and spine
- Bladder insufflation - Ozone gas administered directly into bladder
- Vaginal Insufflation - Ozone gas administered vaginally
- Aural (ear) insufflation - Ozone gas administered into the ears
- Ozonated water – Ozonated water consumed
- Ozonated oil – highly ozonated oils used topically
- Ozonated Saline – can be injected IV or under the skin (in animals)
- Cupping – Topical treatment of lesions with Ozone gas via cups held over area (like inverted funnels)
- Isode injections – use of homeopathic isodes (these made from that patient’s own tissue and combined with Ozone)
- Intra-arterial – Ozone administered via artery
- Ozone Sauna – special saunas that combine Ozone and steam for whole body therapy
- Inhaled Therapy – when bubbled through fresh olive oil – Ozone created ozonides which are safe to inhale and the Ozone acts on the lungs plus is absorbed and treats whole body
The simplest way of obtaining some of the benefits of Ozone is by drinking ozonated water or the topical application of ozonated water or oils. Next is insufflation – the Ozone gas is administered rectally, vaginally or in the ears. There is also cupping, where the moisturized gas is applied to the skin or ear with a device like an inverted funnel. Limb bagging – encasing the area in a sealed plastic bag with an inlet and outlet, is also effective for infections and even MRSA.
If properly treated and bubbled through olive oils and moisturized, Ozone can be used for respiratory therapy, but straight Ozone can be irritating and potentially TOXIC if inhaled. However the toxic level is very far above the “can smell and irritate you” level so there is a wide safety margin but all high grade Ozone systems use an activated charcoal “destructor”.
Remember, if you bubble Ozone through virgin olive oil, it combines with the oil to make non-toxic ozonides that are still effective but can be inhaled and this is often used for respiratory therapy. Be careful to change the oil as it thickens because it loses this buffering capacity. Be sure to keep that oil as it is very useful as an ozonated olive oil. The highest grade ozonated olive is specifically made by this process but it is treated with Ozone for days to weeks. It is an almost solid ointment and can retain the Ozone for years if stored properly.
IV Saline can be ozonated - the medical grade Ozone gas is bubbled through the saline in a closed container and can be administered subcutaneously or intravenously. There are even body spas (for people) that combine Ozone with steam for a complete outer body treatment. Since the skin is a large, permeable organ this can raise the Ozone level inside the body also.
Finally there are the upper levels of medical use of Ozone.
AHT - by taking the patient’s blood, mixing it with saline, Ozone (plus other compounds like heparin, calcium and glutathione to name a few) then injecting intramuscularly you are performing minor Autologous Hemotherapy (minor AHT) or by reinjecting it intravenously you are performing major AHT. This is often combined with ultra violet light therapy (UVBI) so the major AHT blood is treated in multiple ways before IV reinjection. This will kill susceptible cells and organisms and sensitize the immune cells to them. Once back in the body, these activated and sensitized white cells can spread the word as to what needs treated and how to do it, almost like a vaccine.
In large animals, in the US and Europe, there is extensive use of Direct Intravenous Administration (DIV) of the Ozone gas – unlike the injected air used to murder people in television shows and movies, medical grade Ozone is assimilated (absorbed) by the red blood cells so rapidly and is so pure that it forms very few bubbles of pure Oxygen when injected directly into the vein. This has been used in hundreds of thousands of cases, but administration needs to be carefully monitored and there can be coughing and respiratory effects and there have been a few reported cases of death in people. This is a minuscule number and there is no proof that the DIV Ozone was the cause of death versus stroke, heart issues or the myriad of ailments these patients had. However, even if they were sick with numerous issues, you know what will be blamed (the DIV of course) and the publicity could set Ozone therapy back decades, so has been deemed an unacceptable therapy in people by the AAOT and discouraged. It is still approved in animals.
We avoid it in small animals but it is still used, extensively, in horses, since it is, often, the only way to get effective amounts of Ozone into a 1000 pound animal. It has been used, with tens of thousands of people in Europe and the US and was the method used in the Ebola trials in Sierra Leone. Done properly it is safer than driving to work or flying but there are other, safer method to treat people and small animals.
Gamma - Ozone concentration is measured in mg/ML with 1 mg / ml = 1 “gamma’.
SQ – Subcutaneous – in animals, we often administer fluids or injections under the skin (SubQ or SQ). This is not as practical in people as the skin is much tighter to the underlying tissue and can be painful.
IM- Intra-muscular – This is the usual route of injection for medications in people and animals – into the muscle (IM).
IV – Intravenous – Into a vein either by catheter or needle – a very common way of administering fluids, blood and medications in both animals and people.
Insufflation – administering the gas into an open body space with a catheter. Usually this is rectally but can also be vaginally, into the ears or into the bladder. Most of the time it is given rectally in animals unless a special need arises.
AHT – Autologous Hemo Therapy – This is where blood from the patient is removed, treated then re-injected IV or IM.
Minor-AHT or m-AHT– The route of re-injection is usually IM (into the muscle as a small injection) but can be SQ in animals.
Major –AHT or M-AHT – here the blood mixed with saline and Ozone and other substances is re-injected into the vein (IV).
UVB or UVBI – Ultraviolet Bio Therapy or Ultraviolet Bio Irradiation. Blood can be treated with Ultraviolet light in the UV A or C range to kill bacteria, viruses, weak and cancerous cells and to activate the immune system in a way that has been described as similar to Ozone therapy. This is often used in conjunction with Major AHT so the blood is double treated before reinfusion.
DIV – Direct Intravenous injection of the Ozone gas. Done in horses due to their size, but there are other more acceptable avenues in smaller patients and there are possible alternatives in horses that are more expensive and take more time like IV ozonated Saline and Major AHT. DIV is still the most common method of systemic Ozone therapy in the horse.
Prolozone – Direct injection in and around joints and lesion of nutrients and supplements and Ozone.
Clinical Uses and cases
Now that the science is out of the way, I would like to discuss some of the cases we have seen and our initial journey into the ‘O’ zone.
It seems that the universe sends you the right cases at the right times and this was another one of those times. I had just received the Ozone equipment and was waiting until I could see actual demonstrations before taking the plunge when both “Boston” and “Bolero” came into our lives.
Boston was a 12 year old Golden Retriever with a really nasty Fibrosarcoma (a cancer) on the roof of his mouth and Bolero an 11 year old Giant Schnauzer with an oral melanoma and a chest full of metastatic tumors. Bolero’s mom had been told he had about 10 days left to live and Boston’s dad was told that the only option was to try multiple radiation doses to buy a little time. Both were adamant that they were not going to put their babies through torture just to gain a little time.
When I embark on a new form of therapy, the best cases to have are the ones that are deemed hopeless and have no other options in the conventional vet world. It means we can treat holistically without always weighing the conventional alternatives. Here were two cases that could benefit from this new tool and both owners were enthusiastic and dedicated.
We began immune support (DMG and Apocaps) plus homeopathic therapy and started the Ozone slowly. We did Rectal Insufflation and SQ ozonated saline on both. Over the next few weeks things went well with Bolero having improved energy and the tumor in the mouth shrinking (a little). The tumor in Boston’s mouth stopped growing. Considering how fast it had been expanding, staying the same was a gain, in my opinion.
I then attended my first AAOT (American Academy of Ozone Therapy) annual meeting in Dallas and Dr. Margo Roman – a good friend and pioneer in animal Ozone therapy, added a one day post meeting workshop at another colleague’s clinic in Dallas. There she demonstrated IV and IM techniques and plus we all got to have some hands on experience. Since I had met with vendors at AAOT and ordered some additional equipment, I felt more comfortable moving to the next level with Boston and Bolero.
We did our first Major AHT where we took blood, mixed it with Ozone and saline and other goodies then re-infused it. I had not received the UV machine yet but this was a “Major” step. I also took some of the blood treated with Ozone and injected it IM thus also performing Minor AHT. So that day both dogs had Major AHT, Minor AHT, Rectal and SQ Ozone. Both felt great the day after but on the second day they both spiked a fever, did not want to eat and had low energy. I had heard about detox reactions with high levels of Ozone but it, definitely, frightened me the first time I saw it. We waited a day and they both rebounded wonderfully.
This episode made me even more aware that we had to be careful and gauge the strength of the patient to the level of therapy administered at any one session. Very much like homeopathy, we wanted a healing reaction but not a severe aggravation.
Around the same time, we had another Golden come in with an oral melanoma and a mom that was caught between treating, not treating, time, expense and caring full time for a disabled adult child at home. Seeing how bad Bolero’s chest was, I suggested a chest x-ray for her dog first. She took over 2 weeks to get the x-rays and to decide if she wanted to treat. His chest was also full of cancer and when she finally came in to get started, I told her I was nervous doing too much on the first treatment but would start slowly. She pushed (and I yielded) for the full therapy on the first visit as she was concerned she had waited too long. So, he had Major and Minor AHT (with UV since the machine had come in), Rectal and SQ Ozone.
He went home and had one of the best weekends he had had in years, herded the ducks by the lake (had not done that for 6 months), played, jumped up on the bed and sofa and felt great. Then 3 days later was much less energetic in the evening. Mom decided to sleep with him in the living room. They had a good night, he woke up in the morning, stood up, stretched then fell over and was gone.
In this case, it was an appropriate healing end. He had a great 3 days, she had her boy back and then he left on his terms and she did not have to decide. I also think that starting slower might have created less of a reaction. I have been doing holistic for 25 years and veterinary for almost 40 and never think any therapy with the power to heal is harmless. I think they are double edged swords that always need to be treated with respect. I added this case to demonstrate that power and even though the result was best for all concerned, it still made me cautious.
Both Bolero and Boston finally did succumb to the cancer but had a great life until the end – Bolero 4 months later and Boston 5 and in both cases the decision to let them go was clear as they got much worse in a few days and both had that look in their eyes that said – “OK it’s time”.
Some other cases:
Here are some other cases that come to mind with a brief summary of therapy and then we will finish with “Puccini”.
Cat Chronic IBD and intestinal Lymphoma.
Rectal Ozone (only once as he was very touchy in that area and bit mom) but Minor AHT and Ozonated Saline SQ weekly 3 weeks then needed to move to steroid therapy after a month respite. He was improving but she had to go up North for a month so wanted to try steroids (had been on year before at another vet with little improvement but we tried a different steroid and had a short remission). – A few months later then IBD was then diagnosed as Lymphoma and they elected to let him go.
French Bulldog – Preputial Discharge (the sheath around the penis) cultured as MRSA plus systemic allergies plus severe cardiac issues. We started with Ozone cupping on prepuce, then extended to Minor AHT and rectal. We also did 2 rounds of major AHT with UVB. He ran a fever day after each Major AHT and then improved but a nervous mom (and vet) decided to stay away from the major AHT. ‘Kuma’ is doing great on rectal and Minor AHT every 2-4 weeks since Feb.
West Highland Terrier – Arthritis and ankylosing Spondylitis at L-S area (lower spine). Treated with Major AHT, Minor AHT, Rectal and SQ but she seems to react best to Rectal with SQ saline and Laser therapy every 2-4 weeks then 1 round of Minor AHT every 3rd visit. ‘Lexie’ is an older pup also with cardiac issues.
Rottweiler Prostatic Carcinoma –‘Yogi’ was also an early case that graduated from Rectal and SQ and Minor to Major with UVB included – did very well for 4-5 months then time to let go.
Rottweiler Cruciate Right Knee – Injected area with ozonated saline, lidocaine and then 20 gamma 20-30 ML Ozone – some in joint most flooded around –“Lily” has done well about 75% improvement over last 2 months
Rottweiler - Lick Granulomas lower legs, prostatitis and now a recent bite Injury right wrist (just cultured as MRSA and antibiotic resistant to just about everything). “Blaze” is doing well on Rectal and Limb Bagging and direct injection into the wound (after numbing with lidocaine).
“Puccini” is a 12 year old unneutered male Chocolate Lab with Lymphoma – his mom and dad did NOT want chemo and he already had diffuse lymphadenopathy (swelling of multiple lymph nodes) and he is another prostatitis dog. After the first therapy – Rectal (125 Ml 30 gamma) and SQ – since you now know I like to start easy to make sure we do not have a severe detox reaction.
They were amazed that he was urinating with no difficulty the day afterhis first therapy and even sought out someone to treat them with Ozone. Puccini felt much better but his lymph nodes were the same so next week we moved to AHT with UVBI plus Rectal and SQ. He continued to hold steady and the nodes were up and down. We repeated every 1-2 weeks depending on each session’s reaction and their availability. He did well for 3 months but then started to decline and I could now palpate a large mass on the spleen. I convinced them to try chemotherapy while using the Ozone to minimized side effects. – He is doing GREAT.
I know that, in other articles, we have talked about the idea that the best way to cure things like cancer is to not get them in the first place. This is the basis of the idea of pre-conditioning in Ozone therapy. Besides treating symptomatic animals, we treat “healthy” animals on a regular basis. This raises their immune system, rebalances their mitochondria and refreshes so many other pathways. We also use this technique for pre-operative cases, post chemo cases and just about any situation you can imagine.
Some recent research sample studies have shown this to help in people with:
- Cardiac Reperfusion injury – Significantly reduced creatinine kinase, oxidative stress, lactic acid, MPO, myocardial adenine nucleotide damage, microscopic damage.
- Intestinal reperfusion injury – reduced symptoms, microscopic damage, inflammation markers, infections.
- 70% liver resection - "These results suggest that pre-conditioning with Ozone therapy has a stimulatory effect on liver cell regeneration that may make it valuable as a hepatoprotective modality."
Ozone has even been used to effectively treat Ebola in Sierra Leon although these results have been suppressed due to apparent political and financial reasons. The study on this was presented first hand at the AAOT Conference in Dallas 2015.
As you can see, Ozone therapy has a wide range of applications either by itself or as an adjunct to other care. We are very excited at the positive reception we are getting from our clients, the positive results we are getting with our patients and are glad we added this to our holistic toolbox.