4 min|Dr. Maya Kuczma
Oxygen: The Key to Vitality and WellnessWellness, Health, Education
Oxygen Is Energy
Oxygen intake seems like a no-brainer - we literally don’t have to think about it. Just go about your day, and your nervous system will ensure that you breathe in and out, taking in oxygen and exhaling carbon dioxide. Because of this, we don’t think of lack of oxygen as a problem - unless you are having difficulty breathing, or your Doctor measures your oxygen saturation and finds it to be low. For the rest of us, oxygen rarely crosses our mind. However, even when oxygen intake is running smoothly, the body, more specifically the cells of the body, may not be utilizing oxygen optimally.
In these cases, oxygen is coming in, but it is not being converted to energy efficiently.In a healthy cell, oxygen is converted into water and ATP - our source of energy - in a process broadly referred to as ‘oxygen utilization'.
Substances known as free radicals are inevitably produced via this process, but in low amounts and at rates that can be buffered by antioxidant enzymes, resulting in very little damage to mitochondria - the energy factories in our cells. If we’re genetically lucky, and live a healthy life, the small amount of damage that occurs to mitochondria accumulates very slowly, allowing us to live healthily to a ripe old age. But, for a variety of reasons, oxygen utilization can become inefficient, and the damage to the mitochondria can occur much quicker.
When decay reaches a certain threshold, we get sick; pushed further, to a higher level of decay, and we die. Patients who are chronically sick, are aging prematurely, or have developed a chronic disease, have decreased oxygen utilization, and high rates of mitochondrial decay. In this way, decreased oxygen utilization is the unifying factor in aging and chronic disease.(1-6) Therefore, if we are interested in preventing or treating disease, or slowing down the process of aging, improving oxygen utilization is the cornerstone of medical intervention.
Improving the Use of Oxygen
Since we have established that inefficient oxygen utilization is linked to aging and disease, it follows that improving oxygen utilization enhances the health of our cells, slows the aging process, and prevents and treats chronic disease. Ozone therapy improves oxygen utilization and slows mitochondrial decay. It does this through direct stimulation of antioxidant enzymes, resulting in more efficient buffering of free radicals.(7,8,9,10)
Additionally, ozone reacts with double bonds to create ozonides - these ozonides oxidize (convert) a substance in the body called NADH into NAD. More NAD results in more efficient utilization of oxygen, leading to more efficient conversion of oxygen to water and ATP - the energy source of our cells, and many physiological actions in the body. Additionally, ozone increases 2,3 DPG, an enzyme that catalyzes the reaction of oxygen delivery from hemoglobin to tissues.(11)
Ozone as a Therapy
Ozone can be delivered into the body via many different methods. One method that we offer is known as Major Autohemotherapy. During this treatment, blood is removed from your body via an intravenous line, into a sterile bag, mixed with saline and ozone gas. The contents of the bag are then infused back into the vein, in the same method that a typical IV is delivered.
The ozone reacts with the blood cells in the bag, leading to increased oxygenation of the red blood cells, and the production of ozonides. These ozonides are delivered throughout the body, leading to the biochemical effects discussed above. Additionally, ozone therapy has significant effects on the immune system, which will be discussed in another article.
Am I a Candidate?
By affecting the cells, and the mitochondria with the cells, ozone affects the entire body. By improving oxygen utilization, it enhances the health of cells throughout the body. For this reason, ozone therapy may be helpful in treating disease within any system of the body. Additionally, because decreased oxygen utilization and mitochondrial decay is linked to aging, anyone interested in aging well, or slowing the effects of aging, may be a candidate for ozone therapy.
There are very few contraindications of the this therapy. Additionally, ozone therapy works well alongside other treatments that aim to limit causes of decreased oxygen utilization; these treatments may include supplements, exercise, dietary recommendations, or hormonal interventions.