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Oxygen, Ozone, & Hydrogen Peroxide
By Majid Ali, M.D.<email@example.com>
July 17, 2003
(Abridgement from The Journal of Integrative Medicine article: Oxidative Regression To Primordial Cellular Ecology (ORPEC))
The author's clinical experience has led him to conclude that oxygenative antioxidant therapies such as nasal oxygen and intravenous infusions of ozone-oxygen gas mixture and hydrogen peroxide are among the most beneficial therapies for reversing the ORPEC state.
Since oxygen, ozone and hydrogen peroxide act as oxidants in a laboratory setting, therapies employing those agents are generally deemed oxidative therapies.191-193 Until recently, the author accepted that view uncritically. However, it is clear from studies presented in this article that this is a gross error. In reality, such therapies in the context of the ORPEC state are powerful oxygenative and antioxidant therapies. The reason for that widespread misconception is the failure to clearly understand the complex biologic consequences of adding oxygen, ozone, and hydrogen peroxide to severely impaired enzymatic and cellular ecosystems in patients with accelerated oxidative injury.
A Burst of Thunderstorm, A Burst of Oxidants
An analogy of a burst of thunderstorm may be used to explain the possible mechanism action of ozone. The still air in a city on a hot, humid summer afternoon is thick with stagnant smog. The traffic on city streets is snarled. Tree leaves are dry and limp. Many persons are distressed by air pollution. Suddenly, dark clouds loom large and bring a heavy thunderstorm. Strong winds push out the polluted air. Tree leaves are bombarded by heavy rains. The healthy and robust leaves of trees withstand the storm well, while older and weakened leaves are severely damaged. Many withering leaves on tree brances are blown away. After the thunderstorm subsides, the air is clean and crisp. The trees looked washed, their leaves fresh and shiny. Bursts of intravenously injected ozone and hydrogen peroxide affect the blood elements the same way. The membranes of healthy erythrocytes withstand the oxidative stress of ozone and hydrogen peroxide well, recovering their normal morphology after initial membrane deformities. The senescent cells, by contrast, shrink and undergo lysis.
Below, some theoretical, clinical and experimental considerations are presented that shed light on the apparent paradox of agents that are oxidizing in their essential roles, and yet provide the basis for oxygenative antioxidant therapies.
Intermittent Nasal Oxygen
The oxygenative role of nasal oxygen is self-evident. Oxygen is also a powerful oxidizer, as discussed earlier in the section devoted to spontaneity of oxidation in nature. The ORPEC hypothesis provides a clear scientific basis for oxygen's ability to also serve the opposing antioxidant role. As discussed earlier, anoxia increases oxidative stress directly by facilitating the generation of toxic reactive species as well as indirectly by causing acidosis.
In this author's clinical experience, the use of intermittent nasal administration of oxygen (2.5 to 3.5 L/min given for periods of one hour two or three times a day) benefits most patients in the ORPEC state. It is also the opinion of the author that oxygen therapy is very underutilized in the care of patients in the ORPEC state, such as those with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue state, severe autoimmune disorders, and spreading malignant tumors. Oxygen is readily and inexpensively available to all patients. Also available are inexpensive portable rental units that may be used in travel as well.
When used intermittently and in moderate doses as described here, this therapy has been found to be completely free of adverse effects. The author also has limited experience with oxygen therapy in patients with severe pulmonary emphysema and pulmonary interstitial fibrosis. Evidently, the use of oxygen in such patients must be monitored closely so that oxygen therapy does not cause further deterioration in the function of central sensors for oxygen and carbon dioxide.
Intravenous Ozone Therapy
Ozone is triatomic oxygen with a high electrovoltaic potential. Ozone gas infused intravenously at the Institute consists of a gaseous mixture with oxygen containing a very low concentration of ozone. It is prepared by passing pure oxygen through a high voltage field. The concentration of ozone generated depends on the rate of flow of oxygen as well as on the conditions of voltage and spacing of electrodes. The gaseous mixture used in our clinical practice is titrated to contain from 0.3 to 2.5% (30 to 50 ug O3/ml O2). Thus, intravenously administered "ozone" in reality represents 97 to 99.7% of pure oxygen.
Practitioners who have never administered ozone gas mixture intravenously often express concern about the possibility of air embolism caused by gas infusion. Such concern is totally unwarranted. Pure oxygen and ozone diffuse immediately into the blood and do not persist as gases. The author has tested for that on numerous occasions by injecting 2 ml of the ozone mixture into a large vein, then immediately drawing the blood back. Except on uncommon occasions, the blood drawn back from the vein is pink (ozone turns dark venous blood into pink blood) and free of any gas bubbles. One can safely presume that the process of dissolution of the gas mixture would be complete by the time it reaches the large veins in the thorax.
Another concern expressed by those unfamiliar with the clinical uses of ozone mixture is the toxicity of ozone as discussed by environmentalists. It must be recognized that those individuals are perturbed by the products of reaction of ozone with other ecopollutants such as oxides of nitrogen. Ozone is a highly reactive molecule. Indeed, ozone owes its many antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties to this aspect of this specific aspect.
Microscopic Evidence for the Antioxidant Role of Intravenous Ozone Therapy
In the concentration used our in clinical practice, ozone causes temporary and reversible erythrocyte membrane damage as evidenced by clumping and red cell membrane deformity. The evidence for the oxidative nature of such erythrocyte membrane deformities has been previously demonstrated by the reversibility of such changes with antioxidants such as ascorbic acid, tocopherol, and taurine.56,57
How may the observed overall invivo antioxidant effects of ozone, a powerful invitro oxidant, be explained? Ozone has well established effects of improving tissue perfusion and cellular oxygenation.67 Just as the duality of oxygen allows it to be a molecular Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, reactive oxidant species also play dual roles. Not only do they inflict oxidative damage to enzymes, induce mutations, and damage cell membranes, they also serve many useful functions such as modulation of cellular redox dynamics, activation of gene transcription, signal transduction, and apoptosis.93-95 It seems that ozone evokes an upregulatory response from cell membrane-associated antioxidant enzyme systems just as all oxidants do from all biologic antioxidant systems. Though, direct quantitative data for those effects are not yet forthcoming. One may also, with good reason, speculate that ozone elicits similar responses from other matrix- and cell organelle-related antioxidant systems. There is yet an other important mechanism by which ozone protects patients with chronic illnesses from accelerated oxidative stress. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, PLFs and parasite inflict cellular injury by causing oxidative stress. Ozone also is a well established antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal agent.58-63. Ozone through its powerful antimicrobial effects reduces the overall oxidative stress on persons with chronic viral, bacterial, fungal and PLF overgrowth syndromes. Thus, the ORPEC hypothesis carries strong explanatory power for the empirically observed biologic antioxidant effects of ozone.
Intravenous Hydrogen Peroxide Therapy for the ORPEC State
The biologic antioxidant effects of hydrogen peroxide, a potent oxidizer like ozone, are mediated by all the mechanisms cited for ozone in the preceding section. The clinical benefits of hydrogen peroxide infusions observed at the Institute in patients with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are the subject of a separate report.72
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