Recently, a well known ozone doctor has made the assertion that ozone potentiates antibiotics and that he strongly recommends combining ozone with antibiotics treatment.
As to the reason why he thinks that, he quoted the following animal study which I’m paraphrasing here:
Animals were given a lethal infection and were divided in different groups: a control group, then few different groups which were treated with different antibiotics (each group with one type of antibiotic) and then groups which were treated with the same antibiotics and ozone at the same time.
He says that the groups which were given the combo of antibiotics and ozone showed a dramatic improvement in the total antibiotic effect. His conclusion: ozone enhances the effect of antibiotics.
Was his conclusion correct?
Let’s assume that the doctor’s account of the research was in fact truthful: Could the study really have shown that ozone potentiates antibiotics? Or is there a possible logical error?
To find an answer to that question let’s indulge in a little thought experiment in order to create an analogy:
Let’s assume we would conduct an experiment to find out which method is the most effective to kill sparrows. For that matter we will use a
a) a semi-automatic pistol
b) a rifle and
c) a revolver, together with the detonation of a nuclear bomb at the same time.
We employ options a), b), and c) on different groups of sparrows and find out that option c) renders the biggest amount of dead sparrows in the shortest amount of time. Have we thus proven that a nuclear bomb potentiates the killing power of a revolver or is it more probable that option c) proved the deadliest sparrow killing method because of the overwhelming destructive force of a nuclear bomb which has rendered the revolver irrelevant?
Or is it possible that method c) would have been equally deadly without the use of the revolver?
Applying the analogy on the infected animal study we can ask the same thing in regards to ozone and antibiotics: did the ozone enhance the killing power of the antibiotics or was it that the overwhelming bactericidal properties of ozone rendered the antibiotics irrelevant? And the ozone by itself would have rendered just as powerful an outcome without the antibiotics?
Just from the way the study has been described it’s impossible to tell, because there was no group of animals which was treated with ozone alone. Only if one compared the bactericidal effect of ozone on a group of infected animals with the bactericidal effect of ozone and antibiotics employed together on a group of infected animals, would one be able to say whether ozone in fact potentiated the effect of antibiotics. There is quite a good amount of research showing that ozone will actually degrade antibiotics, making them inactive. That phenomenon is being used to treat waste water, which is being more and more contaminated with antibiotics from human usage and effluent from industrial animal lots. Ozonization, as it turns out, is a an excellent way to lower the antibiotics contamination of water:
– “Macrolide antibiotics are widely used (in the order of 1g per person per year). They pass the body largely unchanged and are also not degraded in wastewater treatment plants. With not too much effort, they may be eliminated from their effluents by ozonation.” ‘Degradation of macrolide antibiotics by ozone: a mechanistic case study with clarithromycin, Degradation of macrolide antibiotics by ozone: a mechanistic case study with clarithromycin’, Lange F et al http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16631229
– “compounds with tertiary amino groups or aniline moieties such as diclofenac, the macrolide and sulfonamide antibiotics, as well as compounds with activated aromatic systems and double bonds such as trimethoprim and carbamazepine, were eliminated significantly with even a relatively low ozone dose of 0.36 g O3g-1 DOC (approx. 2.1 mg L-1 O3)”, ‘Enhanced wastewater treatment by ozone and ferrate: Kinetics, transformation products and full-scale ozonation’, Saskia Gisela Zimmermann http://e-collection.library.ethz.ch/eserv/eth:4295/eth-4295-02.pdf .
– “Ozone-based processes have emerged as a selective water treatment process for many pharmaceuticals.” ‘A novel approach to modeling the reaction kinetics of tetracycline antibiotics with aqueous ozone’, Hopkins ZR1,Blaney L, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24041601
– “Ozone treatments have been proven to be highly efficient in the removal, notably decreasing the concentrations for most of the emerging contaminants present in the water samples. (…) Up to 30 contaminants were quantified in the influent and effluent samples analysed, being antibiotics, anti-inflammatories, cholesterol lowering statin drugs and angiotensin II receptor antagonists the most frequently detected.”, ‘Removal of emerging contaminants in sewage water subjected to advanced oxidation with ozone’, Ibàńez M et al, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23792932
So is it possible that the reason why the infected animals which were treated with antibiotics and ozone did better than those treated only with antibiotics, did so not because of ozone having enhanced the antibiotics but because ozone is just a much stronger and wider spectrum natural antibiotic? Given that there are a number of reports of ozone being successful where antibiotics have stopped working due to developed bacterial resistance, I think it’s fair to assume that ozone is in fact a much more potent bacterial killer:
– “The common and indiscriminate use of antibiotics often provides the patients with only a transient or partial amelioration of the urinary tract discomforts and increases the risk of multi-resistant drug bacteria selection. Thus a great effort is made in order to develop new antibacterial approaches especially in the setting of multi- antibiotic resistant pathogens. We herein report on some promising yet preliminary results of the use of ozone therapy in UTI.” http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24403204
– “Ozone therapy as an adjunct to vancomycin leads to enhanced bacterial elimination in infected sternal and mediastinal tissues in experimental methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus mediastinitis. The benefit of adjuvant ozone therapy is suggested to be related to its bactericidal effect.” ‘Ozone therapy as an adjunct to vancomycin enhances bacterial elimination in methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus mediastinitis’, Gulmen S http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23809152
– “Sausalito-based company using ozone to kill antibiotic-resistant super bug found in hospitals” http://www.marinij.com/sausalitoandmarincity/ci_23771563/sausalito-based-company-using-ozone-kill-antibiotic-resistant
In conclusion: a study cited by a famous ozone therapy practitioner which was quoted as proof that ozone enhances the bactericidal properties of pharmaceutical antibiotics, actually could not have proven that at all. Additionally, research into waste water treatment with ozone clearly shows that ozone degrades antibiotics very well and renders them inactive. Further research shows that ozone is successful in killing antibiotics resistant bacteria, hence demonstrating the superior antibacterial properties of ozone over pharmaceutical antibiotics.
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