A look at Ozone Therapy for Anti-Aging and Longevity
By Dr. Mohammad Shegeft, ND
In my last article on Ozone Therapy and Theory, we discussed how Ozone Injections can treat joint pain, but in doing so we just scratched the surface.
This month, we’re diving a little deeper into one facet of Ozone Therapy: Anti-Aging and Longevity. But before we get to what Ozone does for Longevity, let’s look at what causes aging.
Biomolecular Look at Aging and Ozone Therapy
The mitochondrial free radical theory of aging (MFRTA) states that we age because our cells (in this case our mitochondria) accumulate free radical damage over time. These free radicals are produced as by-products during normal metabolism and are unavoidable. However in a normal healthy being, a balanced equilibrium exists among oxidants, antioxidants and biomolecules. Excess generation of free radicals may overwhelm natural cellular antioxidant defenses leading to oxidation and further contributing to cellular functional impairment.
It is this idea that implies that interventions aimed at limiting or inhibiting free radicals should be able to reduce the rate of formation of aging changes with a consequent reduction of the aging rate and disease pathogenesis. However, even when oxygen utilization is optimally efficient some free radical damage to the mitochondria inevitably occurs as a result of this process. So, the longer you are alive the more damage your mitochondria will accumulate. As oxygen utilization inevitably loses efficiency, the rate of free radical damage escalates, and ultimately leads to mitochondrial decay. This is the central process in aging and degenerative disease. It’s why you can’t live forever…more or less.
Your risk for premature aging and degenerative disease is determined by two factors: 1) mitochondrial genetics and 2) the rate of mitochondrial decay. Your staring point (mitochondrial genetics) is predetermined, however, as incredible as it sounds, your rate of decay is actually modifiable! Mitochondrial rate of decay is determined by several factors, but none is as important as oxygen utilization. Decreased oxygen utilization (not oxygen availability) exerts its negative effects by causing a decrease in the NAD+/NADH ratio. The balance between the oxidized and reduced forms of Nicotinamide Adenine Ainucleotide is called the NAD+/NADH ratio. The effects of NAD+/NADH ratio are complex. The important part to note is that in healthy tissue, the ratio between NAD+ and NADH is about 700:1. When this ratio decreases, everything slows down (think slowed metabolism and decrease cellular function and repair).
Ozone Therapy corrects this ratio and it is why it is one of the most utilized anti-aging treatments in the world.
DNA and Aging
This gets a little technical, but I’ll try to keep it digestible.
DNA repair is essential for life, yet its efficiency declines with age (mainly because of decreased NAD+/NADH ratio). The PARP1 gene is critical in DNA repair. This process is inhibited by another group of proteins call NHDs (Nudix Homology Domains). NAD binds to NHD to prevent it from inhibiting PARP1 so DNA repair can occur.
Are you still with me? NAD is good. NHD is bad.
NAD helps decrease NHD function. So if there is a deficiency in NAD (good stuff), there are a lot of NHDs (bad stuff) and they will inhibit PARP1 and you get DNA damage, and you age.
In mice, it has been shown that in aging the NHD inhibition of PARP1 is rapidly reversed by restoring the abundance of NAD. Thus, NAD directly regulates the protein-protein interaction, the modulation of which may protect against cancer, radiation and aging. Ozone therapy normalizes the NAD:NADH ratio.
The Biochemistry of How This Works
Oxygen uses NAD to catalyze (substance used to speed up) cellular reactions.
When NAD catalyzes a reaction, it is converted to NADH and the NAD:NADH ratio decreases.
The NADH is recycled back to NAD in the mitochondria and the ratio is restored.
The problem with decreased oxygen utilization is that it results in a decreased ability of the mitochondria to recycle NADH back to NAD. Thus, the NAD:NADH ratio is further decreased.
As the NAD:NADH ratio decreases all cellular reactions slow down including the reactions needed to increase the ratio causing a spiraling downward in a vicious aging cycle.
The body tries to compensate by up regulating non-mitochondrial reactions that convert NADH to NAD in order to normalize the ratio. But there is a trouble cost to do this.
The cost of up-regulating a non-mitochondrial reaction that converts NADH to NAD is increased lactic acid (by 19 times…not good), decreased apoptosis (which leads to cancer), increased protein catabolism, and increased intra-cellular and extra-cellular free radical stress.
This is the origin of all chronic disease, and the key to healing and regeneration is optimizing the NAD/NADH ratio.
How Does Ozone Therapy Increase NAD?
Ozone reacts ionically with double bonds to produce peroxides called Ozonides. Ozonides are stable for days to weeks and easily penetrate cell membranes. Once in the cell, these Ozonides oxidize NADH to NAD.
Ozone Therapy, by oxidizing NADH back to NAD, corrects the ratio and thus improves oxygen utilization by stimulating increasing levels of NAD. This action of ozone therapy is enhanced with the addition of niacin, riboflavin, B12, B6, MTHF, glutathione and CoQ10.
Studies show that the NAD/NADH ratio plays a crucial part on metabolic syndromes like diabetes and obesity. NADH oxidation “strongly provoked mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation in vitro and in vivo, and dramatically ameliorated their key symptoms such as increased adiposity, glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia and fatty liver.” Our friends in the pharmaceutical industries are very interested in this because the result of this study showed that “Pharmacological activation of NADH oxidation (turning NADH back to NAD) resolves obesity and related phenotypes in mice, opening the possibility that it may provide the basis for a new therapy for the treatment of metabolic syndrome.”
Ozone therapy is NOT a standalone therapy. Diet, detoxification, hormone replacement, stress control (coffee, alcohol, exercise, sleep, emotions, allergens, sugar) all play an important role.
Chronic localized pain is caused by localized areas of chronically decreased oxygen utilization.
This vicious cycle starts with trauma or infection. Edema, inflammation, hypercoagulation, and cellular damage leads to further localized decrease in oxygen utilization (it’s not lack of oxygen but lack of oxygen usage). Decreased oxygen utilization disables the healing mechanisms, and the condition becomes chronic resulting in permanent edema, inflammation, hypercoagulation, endothelial damage and pain.
Through the process of oxygen utilization, oxygen is converted to water and energy in the form of NAD and ATP. This oxygen is also converted to free radicals called superoxide anion and nitric oxide which are essential to cellular function in small amounts. So even when oxygen utilization is optimally efficient some free radical damage to the mitochondria occurs because of this. It is unavoidable. We all at some point in our life will develop mitochondrial dysfunction. For many this start as early as their 30s.
So, the longer you are alive the more damage your mitochondria will have accumulated.
As oxygen utilization inevitably losses efficiency, the rate of free radical damage escalates, and ultimately leads to mitochondrial decay. Accumulating mitochondrial decay is the central lesion in the aging process and in degenerative disease. It is why you can’t live forever. Your risk for premature aging and degenerative disease is determined by your starting point (mitochondrial genetics) and your rate of mitochondrial decay.
Mitochondrial rate of decay is determined by one thing: oxygen utilization, which is the same thing as your NAD/NADH ratio. So the better your NAD/NADH ratio is the longer and better your life will be. Patients, who are aging prematurely, chronically sick with anything, or have chronic pain have a decreased NAD/NADH ratio. This can be reversed with ozone. Since decreased oxygen utilization is the primary cause of degenerative disease, the treatment of all diseases including aging, auto-immune disorders, cancer, ASCVD, etc. is maximally enhanced in the presence of optimal oxygen utilization through Ozone Therapy.