Benefits Of Rectal Ozone For IBD: Why It’s My Favorite Therapy

8 minute read

Ozone therapy has been somewhat of an obsession of mine these last few years. It seemed to help me with ulcerative colitis when nothing else did, which is something I hear from many others suffering from chronic diseases. It’s no silver bullet, but it’s the most effective treatment that I’ve come across that helps with so many health issues. I want to get into why that might be the case in regards to rectal ozone for IBD.

What is Ozone?

Ozone is a simple molecule; it’s just 3 oxygen atoms stuck together (O3), whereas a normal oxygen molecule that we breathe in is O2. Ozone is formed when these O2’s are split apart into O1’s, whether by lightning striking the atmosphere or using an ozone generator. These O1s quickly reform back into O2, but some will reform as O3 (ozone). This additional oxygen atom on the O3 molecule is very reactive and unstable. This is what makes ozone so much more powerful than regular O2.

The Benefits of Ozone Therapy

The reason ozone can have all these effects on the body is because it is oxygen. You can’t go without oxygen for longer than anything else, and ozone is like supercharged oxygen.

Ozone Therapy Benefits


Ozone can be seen to have quite miraculous results when it comes to wound healing. This demonstrates how anti-inflammatory it can be when applied externally, so could it have similar effects inside the colon?

Ozone has been shown to decrease TNF-alpha, the same pathway that many of the biologic medicines target to reduce inflammation in IBD patients[1].

Dr. Ilana Gurevich uses ozone extensively in her practice for her patients with IBD. She uses it as an alternative or adjunct to a steroid and says she can get people out of a flare probably faster with rectal ozone than prednisone. There’s a good reason we are both obsessed with rectal ozone for IBD.

Ozone acts as a pro-inflammatory initially by oxidizing and killing off inflamed and unhealthy cells[2], as she explains in this video on her website. It skips healthy cells because they have an antioxidant defense. This is followed by increased mitochondrial function, increased energy production, and new healthy cells to replace those that were killed off. The end result after a few days is an anti-inflammatory effect, as the tissue has regenerated at a cellular level.

I see inflammation as a process, not an enemy that needs to be turned off. Yes, sometimes we need to calm down the immune system and inflammation in the case of autoimmune disease. But inflammation is an important process; it involves sending white blood cells to the area to encourage the healing to take place. Ozone doesn’t just turn off inflammation like prednisone does; the way I see it is that it helps to complete the inflammatory process. Weak cells are replaced with new healthy cells, and while this process is inflammatory, the end result is healthy tissue. This is probably why weaning off of prednisone is so difficult; the healing was never able to take place, whereas with ozone, healing is encouraged.

Stimulates Antioxidants to Reduce Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress occurs when there’s an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants in the body and is one of the underlying causes for many diseases, including IBD[3]. Free radicals are molecules with an uneven number of electrons, which makes them unstable and reactive. They have to steal an electron from another molecule, which causes a chain reaction and leads to oxidative stress if left to continue. Antioxidants are simply electron donors; they have a spare electron to donate to these free radicals to stabilize them.

It is not the case that oxidants are bad; they are a necessary part of the body that fights infection and are important signaling molecules. It’s only when the balance between free radicals and antioxidants is disrupted that we have an issue.

What ozone does is quite fascinating. Being an oxidant, ozone actually causes a mild increase in oxidative stress. However, what the body does in response to this is what makes it interesting. Ozone stimulates the Nrf2 pathway, which leads to an increase in the antioxidant enzymes such as glutathione peroxidase, catalase, and superoxide dismutase[4]. Research has shown that ozone increases the antioxidant enzymes by as much as 300%.

A great way to think of this effect is as hormetic stress (“healthy stress”) similar to exercise or ice baths. Hormesis involves challenging your body and encouraging it to adapt positively to the challenge it’s presented with. As a result, our body becomes stronger and better able to deal with future stressors. The cool thing about ozone is that we’re not just stressing the body; we’re providing it with the resource it needs—oxygen—to up-regulate mitochondrial function and energy production in order to handle the stress. I believe the end result is greater resilience to chronic stress, which is the bad type of stress that causes oxidative stress and chronic inflammation.

Given that oxidative stress can cause chronic inflammation and is a key feature of IBD, this makes ozone a promising treatment. Research scientist Dr. Jay Pravda goes further to say that oxidative stress, which leads to excess colonic hydrogen peroxide, is the root cause of ulcerative colitis[5].

Improves and Modulates the Immune System

Ozone increases cytokine production, which can provide the body with a significant boost to the immune system. This is why ozone is used often for chronic infections like lyme disease.

However, what about those of us with autoimmune diseases whose immune systems are in overdrive? One of the great things about ozone is that it doesn’t just boost the immune system; it modulates it. It’s as though it intelligently helps the body balance the immune system depending on the situation. If it needs a boost, then ozone will help increase its activity, or if it needs to calm down, ozone will do just that.

Anti-Microbial Effects

Ozone is nature’s disinfectant and is extensively used for water treatment and sterilization. No pathogen can survive direct contact with ozone; it kills them on contact.

So with more research being done on our gut microbiome, the big question that I and many others have is, “Does rectal ozone therapy alter the gut microbiome?”. Given IBD is strongly associated with imbalances in the gut microbiome and that this is likely an underlying cause of the disease, this is a really important question for those of us with IBD.

It most likely doesn’t have a huge effect because it reacts so quickly in the colon when done rectally; see this article. It has been shown to significantly reduce symptoms in people with gut dysbiosis[6].

My best guess is that if there are pathogenic species that are dominating and you have a bacterial overgrowth or infection, it will help the body take care of it by improving the immune system.

We really need more studies to indicate what kind of impact it’s having on the microbiome, but based on people’s symptomatic improvement when doing rectal ozone, I presume it has a positive impact.

Hydrogen Sulfide

As discussed in my blog post here, ulcerative colitis has been associated with an increased production of hydrogen sulfide in the gut. Elevated levels can cause not-so-nice symptoms as well as leaky gut, so it’s important to address this if it’s an underlying issue.

Ozone has been shown to react with hydrogen sulfide to produce water, oxygen, and sulfur dioxide[7]. This helps clear out the excess hydrogen sulfide gas and may be one reason why ozone makes people feel better.

Is Ozone Therapy Safe?

Our lungs lack the antioxidant defenses to deal with the oxidative nature of ozone, so it can be harmful to breathe in large amounts of it.

But ozone therapy, whether used rectally or through the many other applications, has a safety record better than aspirin.

Dismissing ozone as a toxic gas is one way to keep people from looking into this therapy. Remember that it’s a huge threat to big pharma to have a cheap, safe therapy that has so many effects on the body and can yield impressive results in conditions that don’t respond to anything else.


Ozone therapy is really unlike anything I’ve come across before, both in the effect it appears to have on people’s health and in the attitudes that government agencies, mainstream media, and the medical community have towards it. I think that because of this, most people who get interested in ozone therapy are either desperately sick and have nowhere else to turn, are sceptical of big pharma and governments, or are interested in understanding the science behind how things like ozone work. I checked all these boxes, so that’s probably why I was so drawn to it.

Thankfully, I had great results and continue to do rectal insufflations and ozonated water on a regular basis. This is the home setup I have, and I have an article here explaining how I got setup. I’m even traveling to Europe soon to try 10-pass ozone treatments! Traveling is something I have avoided since being diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. Given that ozone therapy has helped me be able to travel again, I thought it would be fitting to incorporate some treatments into my trip.

The world would be a much better place if we used the tools nature provides us with to become as healthy as we can be. I believe that there are forces in this world that do not want to see this come to fruition, so it’s up to us to make the difference and fight the good fight, which starts with taking back our health.

I will leave you with the words of Dr. Velio Bocci:

“It depresses me to think that ozone, the cheapest drug on earth, is today either badly or minimally used because orthodox medicine refuses to evaluate it and Health Authorities are antagonistic or negligent. Both are responsible for leaving millions of people suffering and dying. I must not get discouraged and continue to work and hope that ozone therapy will eventually benefit many people.”

If you’re looking for more information on Ozone Therapy, check out my O3 resources page.