Stopping neurodegeneration in its tracks with ozone therapy

Ozone therapy recently hit the headlines as one of the many treatment options being examined to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 [1], but it is also showing great promise in the treatment of neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Treatments that are safe, non-invasive, economical and effective are the holy grail of the medical world. However, such therapies do exist. According to a recent review paper, oxygen-ozone therapy could be an effective treatment for early-stage aging-specific neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease [2].

Longevity.Technology: Because neurodegenerative disease usually develops in mid to later life, the incidence of such disorders is expected to increase exponentially unless effective and affordable treatments can be found to either cure or slow down the progress of these conditions.  

The paper, written by leading scientists in Italy, suggests that rather than treating certain diseases individually, therapies should concentrate on treating a set of linked conditions. Authors, led by Catia Scasselati of Biological Psychiatry Unit, IRCCS in Brescia, Italy, say: “Contrary to a hitherto linear approach that considered one disease, one medicine, to date there is a need for a new concept of therapy condensed as ‘several diseases, one medicine’.”

This sentiment echoes a growing body of opinion that suggests the key to developing effective treatments for aging is to treat aging itself rather than treating each individual condition or disease associated with growing older.

Professor Brian Kennedy, former president and CEO of California’s Buck Institute for Research on Aging, for example, told Longevity.Technology that: “I think we should actually try to treat aging for a change”. Meanwhile, a study in Canada and the US, suggested that using compounds to target the aging process could be an effective way to treat neurodegeneration. 

“Indeed, O2 is the most vital element required for human life and it is the key to good health; O3 is O2 with an extra molecule added.”

The new paper examines ozone, which has been used as a powerful oxidant in medicine for more than 150 years and, more specifically, oxygen-ozone therapy which is used in the treatment of more than 50 pathological processes. Different trials have evidenced the effectiveness of this therapy for diseases and conditions ranging from cardiovascular disease to COVID-19. 

The Italian research team has started a clinical trial to test the efficacy of this therapy for early-stage cognitive decline. Authors point out that such O2-O3 therapy has acquired further “prestigious significance” following the medicine Nobel prize in 2019 for the ‘discovery of how cells sense oxygen’, adding: “Indeed, O2 is the most vital element required for human life and it is the key to good health; O3 is O2 with an extra molecule added.”

Delivered in a medical setting using a gas mixture of O2-O3, authors say such therapy could represent “a useful, safe, non-invasive, non-pharmacological, economical, effective treatment for neurodegenerative conditions.” 

Side effects, they say are minimal and patients report “a feeling of wellness and euphoria” throughout treatment cycles. Positive effects of O3 include the regulation of antioxidant enzyme activity, the activation of immune and anti-inflammatory systems, improvements in blood circulation and O2 delivery to general tissues, the enhancement of general metabolism as well as a potential positive impact on gut microbiota. 

While the authors accept that further research is needed, they point out that their review sets out substantial scientific evidence for building a rationale of using O2-O3 therapy to delay aging processes and neurodegeneration by exploiting these many positive effects.