What is ozone?
As you read this, tune into your breath.
You’re taking in nitrogen, argon, carbon dioxide and small amounts of other gases—but you’re staying alive because you’re inhaling a regular supply of oxygen. This essential gas is made up of pairs of oxygen atoms (O2) and it’s so important that it makes up more than 20% of the air around you.
Ozone is oxygen with another atom, so it’s called O3. It occurs naturally in the earth’s atmosphere and serves to protect us from UV radiation . Its structure means it is dynamically unstable, yet it’s found close to the Earth’s surface at concentrations that are compatible with life.
We rely on O2 to breathe, but research suggests that O3 may have health benefits too.
What is ozone therapy?
Ozone therapy involves administering medical O3 directly into a person’s tissues or bloodstream.
Ozone has a long history of therapeutic use. Since its discovery in the mid-nineteenth century, it has been used to disinfect drinking water. The first ozone generator (capable of creating medical-grade ozone) was created in 1896 by Nikola Tesla, one of the fathers of electricity. This patented Tesla Ozone Company machine would bubble ozone through oils to make a therapeutic gel.
Medical ozone was used during the First World War to heal infected wounds, and one doctor even harnessed its effect to tackle the recent Ebola breakout .
Today, ozone machines can be used to give treatment in a few ways:
- Direct application. Ozone gas can be applied directly to a wound using a protective coating.
- Into your blood. You can either give a sample of blood, which is then mixed with the ozone gas and injected back into you, or you can simply have the medical-grade ozone administered into your bloodstream.
- Into your muscles. Ozone can also be mixed with a sample of your blood (and sterile water) and injected directly into a muscle.
At the London Clinic of Nutrition, we offer ozone therapy through administering medical-grade ozone directly into your bloodstream. The procedure, which is conducted by nurses, is minimally invasive and takes only a few minutes.
What are ozone therapy benefits?
Ozone’s therapeutic effect is down to several functions. These include:
Antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. Ozone destroys bacterial cell walls, inhibits fungi growth and stops viruses from reproducing . It was even found to be able to kill the HIV virus in a petri dish (in vitro), though this effect wasn’t replicated in blood (in vivo) [4, 5].
Stimulating oxygen metabolism. Ozone increases the rate of glucose breakdown in red blood cells, which in turn makes more regenerative oxygen available to tissues. It also boosts the production of important antioxidant enzymes, such as glutathione peroxidase and superoxide dismutase .
Activating the immune system. Ozone increases the production of interleukin-2, a special immune cell that starts a cascade of immune reactions .
It’s this broad range of effects that had led ozone to be investigated for use in several conditions. One ozone therapy study found that it could help to repair skin and tissue in people with type-2 diabetes, and clinical trials have investigated its use for knee arthritis and back pain caused by herniated discs [8, 9, 10]. It’s also used in dentistry to clean teeth and treat root caries .
Here at the London Clinic of Nutrition, we’ve found it to be a useful adjuvant to several treatments, especially when the immune system needs support (more on this below).
What are ozone therapy dangers?
Most people think ozone is dangerous because of its link with pollution—but this is a misperception.
Lung-damaging smog is a mixture of ozone and nitrates, peroxides, sulphur oxides and hydrocarbons from combustion. The health consequences of smog are down to these nitrates, peroxides, sulphur oxides and hydrocarbons—not the ozone, which typically remains at safe levels.
But the confusing thing is we determine the level of smog by measuring ozone. So, when we hear that ozone levels are high, what it really means is that smog is high. Smog damages lungs. Naturally occurring levels of ozone do not.
That’s not to say ozone is without danger. It’s a highly unstable molecule and medical-grade ozone has to be prepared with great care. Ozone has to be made from pure oxygen (not room air) and it must be measured precisely to achieve the right concentration . It must also be prepared just before use, otherwise it will convert back to simple O2.
It’s possible to buy ozone generators for use at home, but it’s safer and more effective to receive ozone therapy from a trained professional.
Can you get ozone therapy on the NHS?
It’s not yet possible to receive ozone therapy on the NHS. More and more research is uncovering its benefits—as well as showing that it has minimal and preventable side effects—so this may well change .
Until then, your best option is to receive ozone therapy privately. The London Clinic of Nutrition is a convenient choice for ozone therapy in London.
How much does ozone therapy cost?
Here at the London Clinic of Nutrition, we recommend a course of 10 ozone therapy sessions. Twice a week ideal, but they can be spaced to suit you.
Due to its ability to kill pathogens, stimulate the immune system and boost antioxidant activity, most people can benefit from ozone therapy. In our clinical experience, it’s especially helpful for people with a high pathogen load and for the following conditions:
High viral load
A course of 10 sessions of ozone therapy costs £2000. Its therapeutic effect could be what you need to get you to that next stage of your healing journey.
You can also purchase a single session of ozone therapy at £250.
If you’d like to book or find out more about ozone therapy, please feel free to get in touch.
You can learn more about IV nutrient therapy (including our other infusions) by visiting our IV nutrient page.