What is Ozone?
Ozone or O3 has largely been associated with that thin layer of gas in the sky which protects us from the sun’s harmful rays. However, ozone therapy is becoming more and more popular and the gas is increasingly being studied with regard to its beneficial effects on the body.
According to one review published in 2011, ozone gas was discovered in the middle of the 19th century. It is a molecule which consists of three oxygen atoms in an unstable structure. Although ozone can have harmful effects, a number of researchers have concluded that it could also be therapeutic. When combined with water or used in other forms of therapy, it has proven safe and consistent with minimal side effects. (1)
Medical ozone is often used to treat various diseases and to disinfect. It can help destroy viruses, bacteria, yeast, fungi and protozoa. It also stimulates oxygen metabolism and activates the immune system. Ozone is applied medically to treat external wounds while ozonated water is frequently used in dentistry. Diseases that are treated with medical ozone include infectious wounds, macular degeneration, rheumatism, arthritis, viral disease and cancer.
What is Ozonated Water?
Ozonated water is basically water that has been ozonated. Its use and indeed any form of ozone therapy remains controversial in many countries.
Indeed the FDA and the large pharmaceutical companies are certainly not behind it. Furthermore, the majority of states in the U.S prohibit the marketing or the use of ozone generators.
That is not the story everywhere in the world. In some countries like France, the people have been drinking ozonated water for years and various studies have pointed to its benefits on the health of the population.
Drinking ozonated water is regarded as the cheapest and easiest method of getting more ozone into your bloodstream.
How is Ozone Produced?
There are actually three common methods of producing ozone.
- With Ultraviolet Light
- Cold Plasma
- Corona Discharge or Hot Spark
The ultraviolet light and the cold plasma methods are the ones most commonly used for medical applications. Ultraviolet is the best method of ensuring a slow and steady stream of the gas. Cold plasma is able to produce larger quantities of ozone in a much shorter time period.
Corona discharge on the other hand was originally intended for industrial usage but since then it has been adapted and made available for personal use in the home.
Corona discharge ozone generators are available for personal use and are regarded as a great method of producing medical grade ozonated water. The medical-grade generators are certainly not cheap and will cost in the region of $3,000. If that is a bit rich for your tastes, the other option is to go for a home-grade ozonator which start at around $300.
What are The Benefits of Ozonated Water?
1) Effect on Inflammation
We are aware that inflammation is one of the risk factors for the vast majority of serious illnesses. It is possible that drinking ozonated water may help reduce inflammation both internally and externally and therefore reduce your risk of developing a more serious complication.
A study which was published in 2014 set out to examine the effect of ozone water on mice with acute inflammation. The researchers discovered that ozonated water helped to reduce inflammation by suppressing the factors which caused inflammation to increase. They also found that ozonated water helped to promote the body’s antioxidants which also reduced inflammation. (2)
This study is certainly positive and seems to indicate the value of ozonated water in the battle against inflammation. It must be noted however that the study was conducted on mice and we need further research, preferably on humans, before we can be certain of its positive effects.
2) Cancer and Ozonated Drinking Water
In the vast majority of the world, drinking water has to be treated with chlorine in order to make it safer to drink. Unfortunately, treatment with the chemical may be associated with certain risks. There are concerns that chlorine can contribute towards certain cancers like bladder cancer.
As we mentioned earlier, ozonated water is nothing new in parts of Europe and the French people have been consuming it for decades. This may have had a profound effect on the health of the French population.
According to one study published in 2004, there is good epidemiological evidence that drinking water which has been ozonated instead of chlorinated water might reduce the number of carcinogens in the body. According to the study. This might have led to a reduction in the incidence of bladder cancer among the French population.
Despite these findings, there have not been any clinical trials to verify whether or not ozonated water can actually reduce the risk of cancer.
3) Ozonated Water and Food Safety
According to estimates by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a large percentage of Americans become sick from food borne illnesses every year. Their figures suggest that as many as one in six people in the country are affected.
The food we eat especially fruit and vegetables are a potential breeding ground for many types of bacteria. This is the reason that you should always thoroughly wash your fresh produce before eating them.
An article written in the Food Science Journal published in 2014 reported that washing your fruit and veg in ozonated water may help to reduce the amount of bacteria on your produce. According to the article, this reduces the risk of illnesses and infection especially salmonella which thrives on your onions, lettuce and tomatoes.
Concerns about Ozonated Water
The most talked about concerns regarding the safety of ozonated water relates to the fact that ozone or unstable oxygen can act as an oxidant within the body.
By now, nearly everyone is familiar with the importance of getting enough antioxidants into their system. Antioxidants are something that we have written about a lot on this site. They help protect the body from the oxidative stress that causes many diseases. However, what we have not talked about as much is that the body needs both antioxidants and oxidants.
A certain amount of oxidants are actually necessary to help destroy disease causing pathogens in our bodies. On the other hand however, an excessive amount of oxidants may contribute to diseases. It is important to recognize whether we have the right levels of both in our bodies and to try and retain a balance.
The major concerns regarding ozonated drinking water include the following:
- Ozone is actually a free radical which can contribute to cellular damage and disease.
- While ozone is known to destroy unhealthy cells, there is some concern among experts that it can also harm healthy cells.
- Like any other oxidant, ozone may contribute to early aging and contribute towards the development of diseases.
- Ozone in the body is acidifying. This puts more strain on the body to pull minerals from parts of the body like the teeth and bones to maintain the blood at the optimal pH level.
- Breathing in large amounts of ozone can irritate the lung tissue and is potentially extremely damaging. Certain ozone therapies like ozone showers or even ozone generators emit ozone gas into the air. Users and people producing their own ozone should keep their areas well vented.