Ozone therapy is the one of the newest trends in alternative health. Ozone is supposed to do everything from eliminating every pathogen known to man to correcting autoimmune issues. Sounds great, right?

We know that ozone is an expensive way to purify water of pathogens. It also appears to change natural bromide concentrations in ozonated purified water into bromate, which is way worse for your health.1 Ozone increases oxidative stress in many pathogens, which eventually eliminates them. 2

The problem with using ozone is that it causes oxidative damage to human cells as well.

I remember when I had asthma as a kid, I was told to stay away from air purifiers that produced ozone. I was also told by my doctor to stay indoors on the days that levels were elevated? But why?3 If ozone is so good to breathe, why was I told to stay away from it?

Asthma is simply put an inflammatory lung disease. Most of the time asthma is caused by vitamin C deficiency, omega 3 deficiency, and a magnesium deficiency, but that is a discussion for a later audio blog post. When one breathes in ozone, free radicals are produced in the lungs due to elevated oxidative stress.4 5 If you do decide to use ozone therapy, stay away from inhalation!

Most well-informed proponents of the therapy mention that inhaling it is not a good idea, but pumping it into other mucous membranes like the vagina or anus are perfectly fine. Scientifically, that sounds like it might be correct, ozone overreacts with the specific lining of the lungs and other gasses that are exchanged in the lungs, which produces excessive free radical damage, but if used rectally, would pure ozone damage the tissue?

Studies are unclear, but some point to possible issues. In rabbits, rectal ozone caused platelets to stick less (which is a good thing) but were more fragile. When ozone was applied longer than two weeks, the rabbits were able to adapt and homeostasis returned. It appears that even when ozone is applied to the rectum, it causes oxidative stress to the tissues and to the pathogens in the body as well.6 It would be safer to cause oxidative stress to the rectum than to the lungs, but nonetheless there is some concern. There are also no studies done to my knowledge that if ozone is used vaginally or anally that the ozone is absorbed into the bloodstream and is able to eliminate pathogens. Would not the ozone in the bloodstream create oxidative stress as well?

The magic limit of the safety of the therapy appears to be the limit the body can take of the damaging oxidative stress to the necessary elimination of pathogens. Intensive exercise also creates a large amount of oxidative stress,7 but there is a fine line between training and overtraining known as risk vs. benefit.

If you choose to use ozone therapy, use it only vaginally / anally and realize like anything it has risks. I believe there are better methods to eliminate pathogens, like using natural antimicrobials (which can cause milder oxidative stress depending on the agent) and regulating your immune system.