How Oxygen Can Fight Infection

The last decade has been huge for nutritional research but while vitamins and minerals are highly important for our health, oxygen is perhaps the most overlooked nutrient of all. After all, you can go weeks without food but without oxygen, you won’t last more than 6 minutes. Research is showing that a special molecule of 3 oxygen atoms, called ozone (O3), has incredible benefits to our health and is being harnessed as an innovate health technology.

How does it help?

Most known for its ability to protect the Earth (including us) from the harmful radiation of the sun, ozone delivered intravenously is able to drastically increase the amount of oxygen circulating in the blood. When our cells receive a higher saturation of oxygen it has several potential health effects. Research is showing that ozone can help with energy production1, pain2,3, infections4-7 and potentially chronic diseases like cancer8.


Mechanism for Pathogen Inactivation

Pathogens are living organisms that cause infections and include all viruses, bacteria and fungi. Our body is constantly bombarded by these invaders and usually they are inactivated before they cause a full-on infection. However, many of us live with chronic infections every day: it is estimated that 90% of the adult population are positive for the Epstein‐Barr Virus9 while Chronic Hepatitis infects 71 million people worldwide10.

So how can ozone help fight off acute and chronic infections?

When ozone is administered intravenously, the molecules circulate around the body in the bloodstream. When one comes into contact with a pathogen, the O3 molecule reacts with the pathogen cell wall creating a hole in either the phospholipid bilayer of bacterium or the capsid of a viral cell.* As more O3 molecules punch holes in the wall, the cell wall is destabilized and the pathogen eventually disintegrates.


The potent anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral effects of ozone has huge implications for everything from the common cold, to HIV, cancer, ulcers, the flu, gastroenteritis, and more! Ozone is especially relevant as current pharmaceautical solutions often elicit side-effects and has lead to a surge in antimicrobial-resistant strains.

Interested in More? Check out these key findings:

  • Ozone was shown to inactivate HIV in-vitro with an average reduction rate of 46%11
  • The antibacterial properties of ozone killed 99.9% of oral infection after 60 seconds of exposure4
  • Ozone inhibited human cancer cell growth rates by 40-60% in-vitro8
  • The biological properties of ozone makes it a suitable candidate for MERS and SARS infections12


*As fungal cell walls are made up of different compounds (cellulose and chitin), ozone is unable to disrupt the cell wall in the same way. Instead, ozone is able to inhibit cell growth for pathogen inactivation13



  1. Viebahn R. “The Biochemical Processes Underlying Ozone Therapy.” Ozone: Science & Engineering. 1985;7(4): 275-285.
  2. Fuccio C, Luongo C, Capodanno P, Giordano C, Scafuro MA, Siniscalco D, et al. “A single subcutaneous injection of ozone prevents allodynia and decreases the over-expression of pro-inflammatory caspases in the orbito-frontal cortex of neuropathic mice.” Eur J Pharmacol. 2008;603: 42–9.
  3. Hu B, Zheng J, Liu Q, Yang Y, Zhang Y. “The effect and safety of ozone autohemotherapy combined with pharmacological therapy in postherpetic neuralgia.” Journal of Pain Research. 2018;11: 1637-1643.
  4. Johansson E, Claesson R, van Dijken JW. “Antibacterial effect of ozone on cariogenic bacterial species.” J Dent. 2009;37: 449–53
  5. Hu, Bin, et al. “The Effect and Safety of Ozone Autohemotherapy Combined with Pharmacological Therapy in Postherpetic Neuralgia.” Journal of Pain Research. 2018;11: 1637–1643.
  6. Emerson MA, Sproul OJ, Buck CE. “Ozone inactivation of cell-associated viruses.” Appl Environ Microbiol. 1982;43(3): 603–608.
  7. Thanomsub B, Anupunpisit V, Chanphetch S, Watcharachaipong T, Poonkhum R, Srisukonth C. “Effects of ozone treatment on cell growth and ultrastructural changes in bacteria.” The Journal of General and Applied Microbiology. 2002;48: 193-199.
  8. Sweet F, Kao MS, Lee SC, Hagar WL, Sweet WE. “Ozone selectively inhibits growth of human cancer cells.” Science. 1980: 931-933.
  9. Cohen JI. “Epstein‐Barr Virus Infection.” N Engl J Med.2000;343: 481– 92.
  10. “What is the prevalence of viral hepatitis globally?” (2019, May 30). Retrieved from
  11. Carpendale MT, Freeberg JK. “Ozone inactivates HIV at noncytotoxic concentrations.” Anitiviral Res. 1991;16: 281–92.
  12. Gérard V, Sunnen MD. “SARS and ozone therapy: Theoretical considerations.” [cited in 2003]. Available from:
  13. Ta, E.-D., Ama, S., Desouky, A. I. E.-, & Ha, E.-M. “Effect of Ozone Gas on Degradation of Aflatoxin B1 and Aspergillus Flavus Fungal. Journal of Environmental & Analytical Toxicology. 2012;02(02).

written by Rachel Erwin, Medical Writer & Nutritionist 

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