Oxygen is an integral part of human existence. Some have dubbed this element as "vitamin O," even though it is not a true vitamin. Proponents of vitamin O claim that disease occurs because the body is lacking in oxygen. Therefore, by ingesting oxygen through vitamin O supplements, these ailments can be reversed.
There appears to be two types of vitamin O products on the market. The first is an expensive health supplement that is composed largely of salt water and "stabilized" or "aerobic" oxygen. Companies, such as RGarden, marketed vitamin O (without germanium) claiming that it could cure or prevent serious diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and lung disease and when taken by mouth, enrich the bloodstream with supplemental oxygen. These claims were never substantiated with scientific evidence; however, numerous testimonials mention the effects of vitamin O on a variety of conditions. The second vitamin O product contains germanium, which when synthetically derived may be nontoxic and safe at high doses.
There is no scientific evidence currently available regarding the effectiveness of vitamin O or the benefit of ingesting stabilized or aerobic oxygen. Vitamin O (oral or topical oxygen) has not been proven to be an effective treatment for its claimed uses.
These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
* Key to grades
A: Strong scientific evidence for this use B: Good scientific evidence for this use C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work) F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)
Tradition / Theory
The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Alzheimer's disease, amyloidosis (rare disease that causes the buildup of amyloid, a protein and starch, in tissues and organs), antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), asthma, cancer, canker sores, cataracts, chronic bronchitis, common cold, cough, diabetes mellitus, diabetic ulcers, ear infections, energy booster, fatigue, flu, glaucoma, headaches, heart disease, hemorrhoids, hypertension (high blood pressure), immunostimulation, improving breathing, lung disease, memory loss, metabolic disorders, obesity, pain, prostate problems, shingles, sleep disorders.
There is no proven safe or effective dose for vitamin O in adults.
Children (under 18 years old):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for vitamin O in children.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.
There are no known reports of allergy to vitamin O.
Side Effects and Warnings
Vitamin O, although not a proven treatment for any condition, is theoretically safe. However, vitamin O may not be safe when purchased from certain sellers as some products marketed as vitamin O have been known to contain inorganic germanium, which can cause kidney damage and toxicity.
Manufacturers have reported side effects of slight headache or too much energy following too much vitamin O at one time.
Use cautiously in patients who are likely to replace proven, effective medications with vitamin O.
Use cautiously in patients with high blood pressure who are watching their sodium intake, as some vitamin O products contain salt.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Vitamin O is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Vitamin O products may contain sodium chloride (salt); therefore, patients with high blood pressure should be aware. Use cautiously if taking blood pressure-lowering agents due to possible additive effects.
Interactions with Herbs & Dietary Supplements
Vitamin O products may contain sodium chloride (salt); therefore, patients with high blood pressure should be aware. Use cautiously if taking blood pressure-lowering herbs or supplements due to possible additive effects.
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Fujimoto M, Ishibashi H, Shimamura R, et al. [A patient with liver cirrhosis manifesting various symptoms including cerebellar ataxia due to germanium intoxication]. Fukuoka Igaku Zasshi 1992;83(3):139-143.
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Raisin J, Hess B, Blatter M, et al. [Toxicity of an organic Germanium compound: deleterious consequences of a "natural remedy"]. Schweiz.Med.Wochenschr. 1-8-1992;122(1-2):11-13.
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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.