Doctors have weighed in on Gwyneth Paltrow’s “pretty weird” new wellness trend that involves shooting gas into her rectum.
They cautioned that there is no robust scientific evidence pointing to the benefits of the treatment and warned that it could even be toxic to the body.
Dr. Stuart Fischer, an emergency medicine doctor in New York, told DailyMail.com that the evidence for rectal ozone therapy was “controversial at best” and that “the mode and route are extremely questionable.”
The unproven and clinically untested therapy consists of chemically generating ozone (O3) using an oxygen tank and a small generator that will cost you about $1,500.
Ms Paltrow acknowledges rectal ozone therapy sounds bizarre but added it has been ‘very helpful’ without saying what for
A series of IV ozone treatments at a flash clinic in Southern California or New York City can set you back about $1,200. While people can go to a clinic for rectal ozone therapy, many choose to do them at home because after the initial cost of purchasing a generator, hoses, and an oxygen tank, any treatment is cheap to free.
The generated ozone collects in a bag that attaches to silicone tubes that, when fixed with a catheter and inserted about two inches into the rectum, shoot ozone into the body.
Even Ms. Paltrow, who is no stranger to wacky wellness trends, acknowledges that it sounds bizarre, but added that it was “very helpful” – without saying what for.
Supporters claim that the therapy reduces inflammation and bacteria, stimulates cell regeneration and anti-aging, improves the immune system and even wards off heart attacks.
But the evidence to support its efficacy and safety is “limited” and “low quality,” according to the Cleveland Clinic, and medical experts are far from convinced.
When asked for comment, doctors at Johns Hopkins Medicine declined to comment, as did Ms. Paltrow’s own physician, Dr. Will Cole.
Worth the effort? Benefits of rectal ozone therapy are reported to include reduced pain/inflammation, increased energy, improved metabolism/circulation, boosted immune system, detoxification, anti-aging, and fighting bacterial/viral infections. Science does not conclusively support this
Ozone is a very unstable substance that can damage the lungs when inhaled. It’s part of what makes up the low-lying smog that blankets some major cities.
The Food and Drug Administration, the arbiter of safe medical devices, calls ozone a “toxic gas with no known useful medical application in specific, adjunctive, or preventive therapy.”
Dr. Stuart Fischer, who has studied alternative medicine, including ozone therapy, told DailyMail.com that instead of getting involved in wellness trends like the one Ms. Paltrow advocates, he uses nutritional supplements like antioxidants to slow cell aging, something ozone therapy claims to doing .
‘That’s what I would say works, this is relatively well researched, while the benefit of ozone is controversial at best,’ said Dr Fischer.
He added, “There may be some unknown side effects or unknown benefits. The effectiveness, and the mode or route are extremely questionable.’
This is one of many wellness “hacks” celebrated by Ms. Paltrow that have dubious scientific backing.
Ms. Paltrow, a self-proclaimed health guru, has a huge following with over two million unique visitors to her site Goop every month.
She has become known for dishing out strange health advice and quirky products, such as jade eggs to place in the vagina to supposedly modulate hormone levels.
She’s also a fan of alternative interventions like coffee enemas, vaginal steaming, and being deliberately stung by bees “to remove inflammation and scarring.”
However, medical professionals are not following the fads.
Ozone (O3) is a molecule consisting of three oxygen atoms. Inhaling medical grade ozone, even in small doses, is dangerous.
Short-term inhalation of even a small amount of ozone can cause serious and sometimes permanent damage to the lungs and respiratory system and exacerbate asthma symptoms.
Rectal ozone therapy sidesteps the risks associated with inhalation, at least at best, by going directly into the body through silicone tubing and catheters.
Oxygen (O2) is fed to an ozone generator which uses a chemical reaction to break down O2 molecules and convert them into ozone (O3). Silicone tubes introduce that new ozone gas into the rectum through a catheter.
The treatment takes about 10 minutes and can be done a few times a week.
Alternative medicine users and specialists say that choosing the rectal route of administration helps to combat problems such as chronic hepatitis and chronic colitis among a host of other conditions.
But the rectal route can cause cramping, bloating, and fatigue.
A 2005 report on the subject from Malaysia’s Ministry of Health considered the use of ozone therapy for HIV and other infectious diseases, a heart condition characterized by decreased blood flow to the heart, infertility and obstetric problems, orthopedic conditions, skin conditions and cancers.
Health experts there concluded: ‘Current evidence on the use of ozone therapy as therapeutic options for various health problems lacks sufficient safety and therapeutic benefit over available conventional therapeutic modalities.’
And the Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Cancer pointed out that there is “very limited” or “no rigorous evidence” supporting the claims of ozone therapy fighting cancer, such as improving survival or quality of life for cancer patients.
Dr. Kaveh Hoda, a gastroenterologist and hepatologist based in San Francisco, California logged in online: “Gastroenterologist here: Not that you would, but please don’t take “rectal ozone therapy.” Don’t put coffee in your butts either.’
Dr. Hoda added, “Gweneth Paltrow is perhaps one of the leading causes of people stuffing inappropriate things up their butts.”