Everyone has likely heard of ozone if only in the context of the ozone layer that surrounds the earth and protects us from much of the ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun. But ozone may be new to you in the context of cancer treatment.
What is ozone and how is ozone therapy administered?
Where oxygen has two oxygen molecules that make up its structure (O2), ozone has three oxygen molecules (O3). Ozone therapy, then, is the administration of this gas to your body in some way .
Ozone is administered in a few different ways, and this can be dependent on where the issue or disease is occurring. For example, for colorectal or cervical cancer or other issues such as delayed wound healing, ozone can be delivered directly to those locations through suffusion or injection. Most commonly, however, it is delivered through the blood by removing a pint of the patient’s blood, infusing it with ozone, and then putting it back in through an IV.
How does ozone therapy help fight cancer?
Research is discovering that there are a number of ways that ozone can help in the fight against cancer and recurrence.
As you may already know, cancer cells use anaerobic respiration to produce energy versus aerobic, meaning that they use mostly glucose and only a small amount of oxygen. Therefore, cancer cells thrive in low-oxygen environments and have a hard time surviving in highly oxygenated ones. Ozone promotes apoptosis (programmed cells death) in cancer cells by oxygenating the environment and promoting antioxidant activity. It promotes this activity in an interesting way that may seem backwards at first. Ozone causes oxidative stress, which seems like a bad thing and is what antioxidants are fighting. For example, in severe oxidative stress, kappa B (a protein that controls DNA transcription) is activated, which causes an inflammatory response and tissue injury. However, in moderate stress, like that caused by ozone therapy, another factor, nuclear factor erythroid 2-related factor 2 (say that ten times fast!), is activated, which instead induces the transcription of antioxidant response elements . So, ozone basically helps to initiate an antioxidative response in your body. Neat!
Another extremely important effect of ozone is that it helps to stimulate the immune system and modulate the immune response, making it more effective at finding and disposing of cancer cells. One study with rabbits found that in the group who received ozone, 7 of the 14 rabbits survived and all but one of those 7 showed a complete tumour response (i.e., the tumour disappeared completely). In the group that did not receive ozone, only 3 of the 13 rabbits survived and just 2 of those 3 had a complete response. When the authors of the study administered immunosuppressants, these outcomes did not happen with the ozone group, suggesting that ozone works through the stimulation of the immune system . Many studies since the 1990’s have subsequently shown that ozone can modulate the production of several immune cells such as interleukins and interferon and, therefore, stimulate and modulate the activity of the immune system responsible for defending us from tumour cells .
Ozone also shows antimetastatic activity by promoting the production of prostacyclin, which has been shown to be a powerful antimetastatic agent against some cancer types . Prostacyclin is sort of like a natural blood thinner in that it helps to prevent platelets from sticking together and creating clots. When it comes to cancer metastasis, it is believed that platelet aggregation helps metastasis along in a number of ways including helping to protect tumour cells metastasizing through the bloodstream from attacks by the immune system . So, by preventing this platelet aggregation, prostacyclin reduces metastasis. Ozone fits in by promoting the production of the enzyme cyclooxygenase (COX)-2, which in turn promotes elevated levels of systemic prostacyclin, reducing platelet aggregation and subsequently increasing antimetastatic activity .
Improves the Performances of Radiation and Chemotherapy
Finally, Ozone has been shown to work synergistically with both radiation and chemotherapy, increasing their effectiveness particularly in tumours that are showing resistance to treatment. As we discussed above, ozone oxygenates tumours, and it does this by increasing the oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood cells  and also by increasing blood flow . Tumours that are very hypoxic (have very low blood flow) are generally so because of their rapid growth. There wasn’t time for larger blood vessels to form because they grew so quickly, and so they are therefore delivered less oxygen, which actually suits cancer cells just fine. As a result, hypoxic tumours are on average larger, more aggressive, and less responsive to chemo and radiation . By increasing oxygen and blood flow, the delivery of radiotherapy and chemotherapy agents to the tumours is also increased, improving the performance of these treatments . While there wasn’t much of a benefit seen in tumours that weren’t very hypoxic, the best results were seen in the tumours which were the least oxygenated and therefore the most resistant to radiotherapy and chemotherapy , which is super exciting as it gives patients more options and more hope when dealing with a treatment-resistant tumour.
Are there any safety considerations when thinking about including ozone therapy in your protocol?
Breathing in pure ozone can result in a sunburn-like irritation…but on the inside your lungs. So, we obviously want to avoid this. Trying to self-administer ozone can also be dangerous because it is often done improperly (leading to potential injuries), with the improper concentrations (leading to potential ozone toxicity), and it can be inhaled accidentally (leading to the irritation described above). Make sure that you are working with a healthcare professional who has experience with ozone therapy and cancer. There are many self-appointed “ozone therapists” who may lack proper equipment, knowledge, or safety measures, so it is best to work with a licensed doctor or naturopath who again has experience in the use of ozone for cancer.
As with any new addition to your protocol, it is always best to do your research (the studies and articles I have linked to are a great place to start), determine if you feel it is a good fit for you, and then discuss its inclusion with your healthcare team. If you have any questions about my experience with ozone therapy, please feel free to leave a comment below or reach out via the “Contact Me” page or the Orenda Cancer Community Facebook group.
Happy Healing ❤️
- Ozone Therapy: What It Is and How It Works – https://blog.daveasprey.com/ozone-therapy-benefits-safety/
- Cellular Therapies, Cancer, Stem Cells and Bio Medical Engineering – https://www.longdom.org/conference-abstracts-files/2155-9899-C5-060-012.pdf
- Ozone Therapy as Adjuvant for Cancer Treatment: Is Further Research Warranted? – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6151231/
- Prostacyclin: a potent antimetastatic agent – https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/7015512/
- Platelet aggregation in the formation of tumor metastasis – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665369/
- Ozone induces synthesis of systemic prostacyclin by cyclooxygenase-2 dependent mechanism in vivo – https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0006295211008628
- Overcoming tumor hypoxia as a barrier to radiotherapy, chemotherapy and immunotherapy in cancer treatment – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6177375/
- Use of ozonated water as a new therapeutic approach to solve current concerns around antitumor treatment – https://www.spandidos-publications.com/10.3892/etm.2018.6415
- Ozone Therapy for Tumor Oxygenation: a Pilot Study – https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC442111/