Medical Miracle or Health-Care Hoax? Ozone and Hydrogen Peroxide in Healing by Nathaniel Altman
Although used by an estimated ten million patients in Europe since
the early 1960's, the therapeutic use of medical ozone and
hydrogen peroxide (technically known as "bio-oxidative therapies")
is largely a mystery to North Americans. Hailed as a safe,
effective and low-cost treatment for a wide spectrum of diseases-
including candida, cancer, heart problems and HIV-related
infections- in Europe, proponents feel that they can go far in
resolving America's health care crisis. However, physicians who
have tried to utilize these therapies in this country are often
harassed by local medical societies and threatened with loss of
license. As a result, every year hundreds of patients have been
forced to seek out physicians in Germany, Russia and even Cuba
where these therapies are an accepted part of the medical
mainstream.. Others spend tens of thousands of dollars to receive
bogus ozone cures from unlicensed practitioners here and abroad
who ignore established protocols. Many end their lives in both
poverty and despair.
What is the truth behind bio-oxidative therapies? Are they a
panacea to our health-care crisis, or are ozone and hydrogen
peroxide ineffective and even dangerous to health? And despite
decades of clinical success, why are they considered
"experimental" and not approved by the FDA? On the following
pages, let's examine some of the major questions about bio-
oxidative therapies and their role in human health care picture.
Q: Exactly what are bio-oxidative therapies?
A: Bio-oxidative therapies involve administering small amounts of
diluted ozone and hydrogen peroxide into the body for the
prevention and treatment of disease. Ozone therapy has been used
by licensed physicians in Germany since the early 1960's, while
hydrogen peroxide therapy was developed in the United States
primarily by Dr. C.H. Farr, nominee for the 1993 Nobel prize in
Q; What is the scientific basis for bio-oxidative therapies?
A: The philosophy behind bio-oxidative therapies is a simple one.
The use of hydrogen peroxide and ozone in medicine is based on the
belief that the accumulation of toxins in the body is normally
burnt up by the process of oxidation, a process wherein a
substance is changed chemically because of the effect of oxygen on
it. Oxidation breaks the toxins down into carbon dioxide and
water, and eliminates them from the body. However, if the oxygen
system of the body is weak or deficient (whether through lack of
exercise, environ- mental pollution, poor diet, smoking, or
improper breathing), our bodies cannot eliminate them adequately
and a toxic reaction can occur. In minor cases, a toxic buildup
can lead to fatigue, while a wide range of diseases can result
when poor oxygenation is chronic.
Q: Are these considered "new" therapies?
A: Although few of us have ever heard of them, bio-oxidative
therapies have been around for a long time. They have been used
clinically by European physicians for over a century, and were
first reported by Dr. T.H. Oliver in the British medical
publication The Lancet in 1920.1 Since that time, they have been
studied in major medical research centers throughout the world,
including Baylor University, Yale University, The University of
California (Los Angeles) and Harvard University in the United
States, as well as in medical schools and laboratories in Great
Britain, Germany, Italy, Russia, Canada, Japan and Cuba. Today,
between fifty and one hundred scientific articles are published
each month about the chemical and biological effects of ozone and
Q: How do they work?
A: Bio-oxidative therapies are used to provide the body with
active forms of oxygen orally, intravenously or through the skin.
Once in the body, the hydrogen peroxide or ozone breaks down into
various oxygen subspecies which contact anaerobic viruses and
microbes [i.e. viruses and microbes which have the ability to live
without air], as well as diseased or deficient tissue cells. It
oxidizes these cells while leaving the healthy cells alone. When
the body becomes saturated with these special forms of oxygen, it
reaches a state of purity wherein disease microorganisms are
killed, while the underlying toxicity is oxidized and eliminated.
According to Frank Shallenberger, M.D., who is best known in the
United States for treating AIDS patients with a holistic protocol
including ozone, bio- oxidative therapies have affect the human
body in the following ways:
1. They stimulate the production of white blood cells, which are
necessary to fight infection.
2. Ozone and hydrogen peroxide are anti-virucidal.
3. They increase oxygen and hemoglobin disassociation, thus
increasing the delivery of oxygen from the blood to the cells.
4. Ozone and hydrogen peroxide are anti-neoplastic, which means
that they inhibit the growth of new tissues like tumors.
5. They oxidize and degrade petrochemicals.
6. They increase red blood cell membrane distensibility, thus
enhancing their flexibility and effectiveness.
7. Bio-oxidative therapies increase the production of interferon
and Tumor Necrosis Factor, which the body uses to fight
infections and cancers.
8. They increase the efficiency of the anti-oxidant enzyme system,
which scavenges excess free radicals in the body.
9. They accelerate the Citric Acid Cycle, which is the main cycle
for the liberation of energy from sugars. This then stimulates
basic metabolism. It also breaks down proteins, carbohydrates
and fats to be used as energy.
10. Bio-oxidative therapies increase tissue oxygenation, thus
bringing about patient improvement.2
Q: What exactly is hydrogen peroxide and how is it used
A: Hydrogen peroxide (H202) is made up of two hydrogen atoms and
two oxygen atoms. A powerful oxidizer, hydrogen peroxide kills
bacteria, viruses and fungi; most of us have used a 3% solution of
hydrogen peroxide externally to disinfect wounds. Higher
concentrations of hydrogen peroxide are used extensively in the
agricultural, food and chemical industries as a disinfectant,
water purifier and bleaching agent. It is also a common ingredient
in contact lens cleaners, eye drops and mouthwashes. Hydrogen
peroxide is involved in all of life's vital processes, and must be
present for the immune system to function properly. The cells in
the body that fight infection (known as granulocytes) produce
hydrogen peroxide as a first line of defense against invading
organisms like parasites, viruses, bacteria and yeast. It is also
required for the metabolism of protein, carbo-hydrates, fats,
vitamins and minerals. As a hormonal regulator, hydrogen peroxide
is necessary for the body's production of estrogen, progesterone
and thyroxin; it also helps regulate blood sugar and the
production of energy in cells. Hydrogen peroxide has long been
used medically as a disinfectant, antiseptic and oxidizer, but has
only recently been found to successfully treat a wide variety of
human diseases with a minimum of harmful side effects. The most
common form of hydrogen peroxide therapy used by doctors calls for
small amounts of 30% reagent grade hydrogen peroxide added to
purified water and administered as an intravenous drip. However,
some individuals like to add a cup of 35% food grade hydrogen
peroxide to a bathtub of warm water; the hydrogen peroxide is
absorbed into the body through the skin while the person soaks in
the tub. Others drink a glass of water to which several drops of
food or reagent grade hydrogen peroxide have been added. Although
there have been reports of improved health with this method,
physicians like Dr. Farr believe that taking hydrogen peroxide
orally can have a corrosive effect on the stomach and small
intestine and advise against using it. 3
Q: What about ozone? How is it used medically?
A: Ozone (O3) is an energized form of oxygen with extra electrons.
It forms the protective ozone layer around the planet, yet becomes
a pollutant when mixed with hydrocarbons (like carbon dioxide) and
nitrogen oxide from automobile and factory emissions. Because
scientists have focussed on the negative effects of inhaled ozone,
the medicinal aspects of the gas when applied intravenously or
through the skin have been largely overlooked. Because ozone was
found to be an effective bactericide and fungicide during the mid-
1800's, it was first used to purify drinking water in a number of
European cities. Today, over 2000 municipalities around the world-
including Montreal, Paris, Los Angeles and Moscow- purify their
drinking water with ozone. However, ozone was not used medically
until 1915, when it was found to be an effective disinfectant of
wounds and skin diseases in Germany during the First World War. It
was later found that ozone has the ability to "blast" holes
through the membranes of viruses, yeasts, bacteria and abnormal
tissue cells and therefore killing them. Ozone was the focus of
considerable research in Germany during the 1930's where it was
successfully used to treat patients suffering from inflammatory
bowel disorders, ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease and chronic
bacterial diarrhea. The four primary ways to administer medical
1. Autohemotherapy, which involves removing about one half pint of
blood from the patient, adding ozone and oxygen to the blood, and
infusing the blood back to the patient.
2. Rectal insufflation, in which ozone and oxygen is administered
as a rectal enema. The ozone/oxygen mixture is then absorbed
through the large intestine.
3. Ozone "bagging", which involves having an airtight bag placed
around the area to be treated. A mixture of ozone and oxygen is
pumped into the bag and absorbed through the skin.
4. Ozone is also used externally in the form of ozonated olive or
Q; What types of diseases can be treated with ozone and hydrogen
A: Bio-oxidative therapies offer a tremendous range of medical
application. According to the International Bio-Oxidative Medical
Foundation (IBOMF), an Oklahoma-based organization devoted to
research and education about these therapies, the following
conditions or diseases have been treated with ozone and hydrogen
peroxide with varying degrees of success:
Heart and Blood Vessel Diseases
Peripheral vascular disease (poor circulation)
Cerebral vascular disease (stroke and memory loss)
Cardiovascular disease (heart disease)
Coronary spasm (angina)
Cardioconversion (heart stopped)
Cardiac arrhythmias (irregular heartbeat)
Gangrene (of fingers and toes)
Raynaud's disease ("white finger")
Temporal arteritis (inflammation of the temporal artery)
Vascular and cluster headaches
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
Bronchiectasis (dilatation of bronchus or bronchi)
Pneumocystis carinii (PCP or AIDS-related pneumonia)
Herpes zoster (shingles)
Herpes simplex (fever blister)
Systemic chronic candidiasis (candida)
Epstein-Barr virus (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome)
Acute and chronic viral infections
Chronic unresponsive bacterial infections
Diabetes mellitus Type II
Hypersensitive reactions (environmental and universal reactors)
Chronic pain syndromes (due to multiple causes)
Pain of metastatic carcinoma
Cancers of the blood and lymph nodes 4
Q: Is it true that ozone cures AIDS?
A: There is growing evidence that ozone (as well as hydrogen
peroxide, since ozone becomes transformed into hydrogen peroxide
in the body) can destroy lipid-enveloped viruses both outside and
within the body, including those related to hepatitis, Epstein-
Barr, cancer, herpes, cytomegalovirus and HIV. The results of a
study coordinated by the Canadian Armed Forces and published in
the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that ozone kills
HIV, the hepatitis and herpes viruses, and other harmful agents in
the blood used for transfusion. The author of the article added,
"The systemic use of ozone in the treatment of AIDS could not only
reduce the virus load, but also possibly revitalize the immune
system." 5 Although a related study on AIDS patients proved
inconclusive, Cmdr. Michael Shannon, MD, one of the coordinators
of the study, wrote that "Of interest, however, the three patients
(out of ten volunteers) who responded to minor autohemotherapy in
the first trial, are still alive after four years post treatment,
with CD4 counts in excess of two hundred. These patients should
have theoretically succumbed to AIDS within a year post-
treatment."6 In several clinics in Germany, AIDS patients are
being treated successfully with different types of ozone
therapies, including rectal insufflation, ozone bagging, and
autohemotherapy. Bio-oxidative therapies can be an important part
of holistic treatment for HIV-related problems, including lower T-
cell counts, opportunistic infections, and AIDS-related diarrhea.
Dan's was one such case. He was diagnosed HIV- positive and his T-
cell count had dropped below 600. After only one month of ozone
therapy as part of a protocol including vitamin supplements, anti-
viral compounds and intestinal cleansing, his T-cell count rose to
900 and his swollen lymph nodes shrank for the first time in
years. Although there have been other cases of improvement of AIDS
patients after regular ozone treatments (and several documented
cases of people who were HIV+ reverting to HIV- status) ozone and
hydrogen peroxide should not be considered as a "magic bullet"
against HIV and AIDS. According to Frank Shallenberger, M.D.
"Ozone therapy works in AIDS by acting as a an immune system
modulator. In this capacity, it is very effective, safe,
inexpensive and readily available. Proper therapy for AIDS will be
directed at early intervention (i.e. CD4 count > 300), ozone plus
other synergistic immune-augmented therapy, intestinal cleansing
is paramount due to the immuno-suppressive aspect of parasites.7
Dr. Silvia Menendez, the co-founder of Cuba's Department of Ozone
Department (part of the prestigious National Center for Scientific
Research in Havana), suggested that ozone works best when
administered as soon as possible after HIV infection, before the
virus has penetrated the lymphatic system and bone marrow. The
personal, economic and social ramifications of this possibility
cannot be underestimated.
Q: Are these therapies safe?
A: Although ozone and hydrogen peroxide are highly toxic in their
purified state, they have been found to be both safe and effective
when diluted to therapeutic levels for medical use. When
administered in prescribed amounts by a qualified practitioner,
the chances of experiencing adverse reactions to bio- oxidative
therapies are extremely small. For example, a German study on
384,775 patients evaluating the adverse side effects of over five
million medically-administered ozone treatments found that the
rate of adverse side effects was only 0.0007 per application. This
figure is far lower than any other type of medical therapy.8
It has been estimated that over ten million people (primarily in
Germany, Russia and Cuba) have been given bio-oxidative therapies
over the past seventy years to treat over fifty different
diseases. As cited before, they include heart and blood vessel
diseases, diseases of the lungs, infectious diseases, and immune-
related disorders. In some cases, bio-oxidative therapies are
administered alone, while in others, they are used in addition to
traditional medical procedures (such as surgery or chemotherapy)
or as adjuncts to alternative health practices like megavitamin
therapy, acupuncture or herbal medicine.
Q: If these therapies are so great, why aren't they used more
widely in Canada and The USA?
A: Despite the fact that both ozone and hydrogen peroxide therapy
have been proven in clinical trials (and in regular clinical
practice) to be safe and effective in Germany, Austria, Cuba,
Mexico, Italy and Russia, very few people have heard about bio-
oxidative therapies in the United States and Canada. Although an
estimated 15,000 European practitioners legally use bio-oxidative
therapies in their practices, the number of physicians using these
therapies in North America is probably fewer than 500. This is
partly due to the fact that information about medical ozone and
hydrogen peroxide is not provided in medical schools, and students
simply do not learn about them. In addition, the medical
establishment (and especially provincial and state medical boards)
often discourages or prevents licensed physicians from using them
in their medical practice. Some, like Dr. Robert Atkins, M.D., the
author of the popular book Dr. Atkins' Diet Revolution, have been
threatened with having their licenses revoked if they administer
hydrogen peroxide or ozone. Clinics have been closed down and
practitioners have been threatened with jail.
Q: Why is there so much prejudice against these therapies by the
A: A major reason for this lack of interest in bio-oxidative
therapies is that ozone and hydrogen peroxide are non-patentable
substances that are very inexpensive to manufacture and use. In
Germany, Russia and Cuba, physicians have successfully treated
many serious and chronic conditions (including cancer and heart
disease) without expensive surgery. The net cost of the materials
for a treatment of autohemotherapy or a medical infusion of
hydrogen peroxide is under $10. Even though physicians must
include professional fees and the use of their offices and
equipment, bio-oxidative therapies administered in a medical
setting cost up to fifty percent less than traditional therapies,
especially for patients suffering from chronic and degenerative
diseases. Self-administered treatments by patients themselves,
while not recommended, can cost far less. For these reasons, ozone
and hydrogen peroxide pose a threat to the continued dominance of
the medical establishment: the pharmaceutical industry, medical
centers and physicians who are accustomed to providing expensive
drugs, complex medical procedures and long hospital stays.
Q: But why don't agencies like the FDA and Health and Welfare
Canada encourage clinical trials on these therapies?
A: Because government health agencies are often influenced by the
pharmaceutical industry and medical lobbies, objective
investigation and development of effective protocols for bio-
oxidative therapies have been difficult to undertake. However, the
Canadian government has shown a greater willingness to investigate
these therapies than American government agencies like the FDA or
NIH, as shown by the HIV studies cited earlier. However, like the
American press, the Canadian media largely ignored the important
findings that ozone can completely remove HIV, hepatitis and
herpes viruses from the blood supply.
Q: What is the future of bio-oxidative therapies?
A: After reviewing the laboratory and clinical evidence regarding
the use of ozone and hydrogen peroxide, a recent report by the
National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Alternative Medical Systems
and Practices in the United States has recommended that
"definitive studies be undertaken to determine whether these
treatments have any utility".10 At the same time, a number of
states- including New York and North Carolina- have recently
passed "freedom of medicine" laws which allow the use of
experimental therapies by licensed practitioners. Many physicians
who are members of IBOMF from both Canada and the United States
are sharing their clinical data with the goal of presenting their
findings to government agencies like the NIH and FDA. Medical
ozone and hydrogen peroxide form the "cutting edge" of a new
healing paradigm, involving safe, effective, natural and less
costly forms of medical therapy. As more people discover the value
of these therapies, there will be greater consumer demand. Because
bio-oxidative therapies like hydrogen peroxide and ozone hold
great promise in treating both minor health problems and some of
the most devastating diseases confronting humanity today,
including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and HIV-related problems
at low cost, they can help solve our national health care crisis.
As more physicians become acquainted with the value of these
therapies, they will become a valuable part of mainstream medical
1 Oliver, T.H. and Murphy, D.V., "Influenzal Pneumonia: The
of Hydrogen Peroxide", The Lancet, February 21, 1920, pp. 432-3.
2 Shallenberger, Frank, "Intravenous Ozone Therapy in HIV-related
Disease" Proceedings: Fourth International Bio-Oxidative Medicine
Conference, April 1993.
3 Farr, Charles H., letter to the author, February 4, 1994.
4 Shallenberger, Frank, letter to the author, December 9, 1993.
5 Oxidative Therapy, (Oklahoma City: IBOMF, n.d.)
6 Baggs, A.C., "Are Worry-Free Transfusions Just a Whiff of Ozone
Away?" Canadian Medical Association Journal, (April 1, 1993) :1159
7 Shannon, Cmdr. Michael, letter to the author, 21 January, 1994.
8 Jacobs, Marie Theres, "Adverse Effects and Typical Complications
in Ozone-Oxygen Therapy", Ozonachrichten, 1982: (1), pp. 193-201
9 Carpendale, M.T., Interview in Ozone and the Politics of
Medicine (Vancouver, Threshold Film, 1993).
10 Alternative Medicine: Expanding Medical Horizons (Washington:
U.S. Government Printing office, 1994)
Nathaniel Altman is the author over fifteen books on diet and
health, including Oxygen Healing Therapies , which was published
in April by Healing Arts Press, and distributed in Canada by Alive
Books. [ISBN: 0-89281-527-2, illustrated, 201 pp., trade paper,