Oxygen, Oxidation, Free Radicals and Ozone

By Hillary Hitt

When we want to understand the basic necessities that sustain life, the very essential elements, most important of all is oxygen. Before considering the nutritional benefits of fruits and vegetables let me provide some important information concerning this most integral part of life. Our discussion will cover many known and un-known facts concerning oxygen, oxidation, free radicals and anti-oxidants.

Oxygen is the basis of all plant and animal life. It is the most important nutrient needed by every cell of the body. Oxygen is the most vital element required for human life and it is the key to good health. We can survive without water for a week and go without food for a month, but we can only live a few minutes without oxygen. Oxygen is the life-giving, life-sustaining element. All body activities require oxygen.

Oxygen releases the energy in the food we eat to fuel every bodily process. This process is called oxidation or oxidation-reduction reaction. Through oxidation the body generates heat and energy from fatty acids, simple sugars and amino acids. It eliminates waste and dangerous microbes.

The human body is two thirds water. Most of that water is found in blood and lymph. In fact the blood holds about 10% water and the lymph about 85%. The rest of the water is stored in cerebrospinal fluid, interstitial fluids and bile. Water is composed of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. Thus, we are composed of over 50% oxygen.

The best way to insure good long lasting health is to oxygenate every cell in your body. The more oxygen we have in our system, the more energy we produce, and the more efficiently we can eliminate wastes.



Oxidation is defined as the process of oxygen combining with body substances to form water and gases. Excellent health is totally dependent on the production, maintenance and flow of a continual stream of energy. This energy is produced by the oxidation of glucose sugar, of fatty acids and amino acids. The process of oxidation is central to metabolism, circulation, respiration, digestion, assimilation and elimination. With an abundant supply of oxygen the blood is purified and free from a build up of cellular waste. Having an ample supply of oxygen allows the body to rebuild itself when ill and maintain the immune system.

Good health is completely dependent upon proper oxidation with an ample supply of oxygen to do the job. Good health depends on a pure, clean blood stream and thus, good circulation, strong blood vessels and a vital heart. Every organ, nerve, tissue and cell depends on a clean blood stream. When we breathe in enough oxygen from the air, oxygen is exchanged with carbon in the hemoglobin part of the blood in the lungs, to create carbon dioxide, a very important waste product, thus, making carbon into a suitable substance for elimination. But when the body is depleted of oxygen needed for proper oxidation, this process is impaired. According to Dr. Otto Warburg, two time Nobel Prize winner,

“Once the level of oxygen available to a cell drops below 60% of normal, the cell is forced to switch to an inferior method of energy production—fermentation. The cell can never be returned to the proper oxidation system, and loses its governor on replication. It begins to reproduce copies of itself wildly, a condition we call cancer.”

Dr. Warburg made it known that all poisons, or carcinogens, can impair cellular oxidation. He made it very clear to the world that any substance that deprives a cell of oxygen is a carcinogen.

Carcinogens are poisons from all kinds of man made chemicals, combustion processes, cigarette smoke, petrol fumes, air pollution, radiation, chronic disease, fried oils, fried, broiled, baked, smoked and baked meats, household products, aerosol sprays, deodorants, skin creams, make-up, mental stress, sun exposure, sun screens, x-rays, no exercise, too much exercise, all processed foods, drugs, alcohol, hydrogenated oils and oils that are heated to high temperatures and the list goes on.

When certain poisons reach the cell they can prevent oxygen uptake. When an insufficient amount of oxygen is received by the hemoglobin of the red blood cells, carbon is not changed into carbon dioxide but made into carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide can not be eliminated from the lungs, thus it attaches to the hemoglobin in the red blood cells and circulates throughout all the body’s organs. . Carbon monoxide is a toxic irritant to the nervous system. It is a very acidic substance, which lowers the pH of the blood. The poisonous effects of it can cause the body temperature to go down, making the system incapable of resisting the adverse effects of various bacteria, viruses, yeasts and fungi and other poisons the person is exposed to. A lowered body temperature and a more acidic pH can not only indicate a lowered amount of oxygen uptake but insufficient oxidation. For long periods of time, days, months and even years, of the body being starved of enough oxygen, depending on the person’s health and constitution, disease can often be the unfortunate outcome.

It is now common knowledge that if the oxygen supply to a cell is as low as 40% of normal, the oxidation is severely damaged. Furthermore, this damage causes the cell to begin to ferment sugar anerobically, without oxygen. The anerobic metabolism also produces the waste products carbon monoxide as well as lactic acid. The energy production by the cell, without oxygen, is down to 1/6 of what it normally produces with aerobic oxidation, in the presence of oxygen.



Like planets traveling around the sun, an atom consists of a nucleus in its center surrounded by shells (levels) of electrons spinning round the nucleus. It is normal for electrons in the outer shell to be in pairs. Pairing of electrons is the norm. During the oxidation process when atoms and molecules exchange electrons, every now and then an electron in the outer shell becomes unpaired. Free radicals are atoms and molecules that have unpaired electrons. Free radicals are highly reactive and can bind to and destroy various cells of the body. Free radicals are a very common occurrence in nature and not all of them are bad. According to Saul Pressman, in The Story of Ozone, “There could be no chemical reactions and thus no life without free radicals. The properties of free radicals vary widely: some are toxic to all living cells, others only toxic to the most vulnerable cells. Singlet oxygen (O1) is a highly reactive but beneficial free radical that acts as a scavenger of other harmful free radicals. The oxygen combines with them to render them harmless, thereby protecting cells from damage.“Bad free radicals” are highly reactive atoms or molecules, lacking an electron in their outer shell. They target your tissues’ protein bonds, the DNA and mitochondria in your cells’, and the fatty acids in your cells’ membranes. If they are not neutralized, or stabilized, by an extra electron of oxygen, or a “good free radical” or antioxidant scavenger, they can cause major degenerating problems such as advancing the aging process, undermining the immune system and playing a major role in the development of many diseases, such as: cancer, atherosclerosis, emphysema, cataracts and glaucoma, high blood pressure, immune system deficiencies, diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, and various types of dermatoses including wrinkles..

These reactive particles are basically unstable atoms or molecules that are trying to find another electron to pair with. They continuously collide with other evenly paired atoms and molecules, stealing an electron from their outer shell, causing them to also become unstable and bad free radicals. These bad free radicals first destroy one cell and then move on to attack another. Once initiated, a free radical chain reaction occurs that ultimately ends with the total destruction of that cell and many more.

Let’s look a little closer. When our bodies are exposed to the radiation from the sun, air pollution, tobacco smoke, pesticides and herbicides, asbestos, continual infections, heavy metals, physical and psychological stress, alcohol, sugar and drug use, over cooked meats that are fried, broiled, smoked and boiled, also genetically modified, irradiated and processed foods of all kinds, these toxic substances are oxidized, or burned in the cell. During the oxidation or energy producing process, bad free radicals are the dangerous by-products that are formed during this process. As an atom or molecule loses one of its electrons to another, it becomes highly reactive, at which point it seeks another electron to combine with. It is in this volatile state that the atom or molecule becomes known as a bad free radical. When this atom or molecule finds another electron to steal it causes this other atom or molecule to have one less electron, making it highly reactive. Remember, electrons come in pairs. And so the process continues until the cell membrane is destroyed, your immune system’s functioning is weakened and the DNA in the cell mutates or is destroyed.

Before we give in to letting bad free radicals take over our body for good, there are the antioxidants or good free radical oxygen scavengers that directly combat these bad free radicals, inhibiting their formation and preventing them from continuing their path of destruction and the depletion of other antioxidants.

What antioxidants do is donate electrons to the bad free radicals, re-stabilizing them with an extra election. Thus, they stop the destructive act of stealing. Antioxidants are chemicals that remedy or stop the bad free radical reaction, reversing DNA damage and helping us utilize oxygen more efficiently. Given our high exposure to carcinogens which can cause bad free radicals, it is essential that we consume sufficient amounts of fresh organic fruits, vegetables, sprouted grains, seeds, nuts and beans and get plenty of fresh air filled with oxygen; exercise regularly, meditate and live a happy clean life.



Before we rush into talking about antioxidants we really should say a few words about what ozone is.

There is such a great amount of misunderstanding about ozone and it is good to know the truth. Chemically ozone is oxygen with an extra molecule of oxygen added. It is unstable and very reactive. It also has a much higher energy level than oxygen alone.

The cycle of oxygen and ozone are interrelated. During the photosynthesis process conducted by all plants on land and phytoplankton in the oceans, oxygen is released into the atmosphere and it rises up about 25 to 30 miles. At this altitude oxygen is energized by another oxygen molecule from a part of the sun’s ultraviolet spectrum. This is how and where ozone is produced.

The energized oxygen or ozone is heavier than air and it begins to descend to earth. As it descends it attaches itself to any airborne particles it comes in contact with, such as pollutants from smog. It is attracted to air pollutants because it has a negative charge and air pollutants have a positive charge. At ground level, ozone continues to attach itself to all pollutants. Basically it oxidizes them, giving away an oxygen molecule, thus, cleaning the air.

Smog is made when the photoelectric effect of the sun’s rays act on carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. These chemicals are the end products from hydrocarbons that are burned in combustion engines.

The misunderstanding comes when we think that ozone is a bad thing. It is often incorrectly blamed for smog, where it is slightly present in very small amounts of 35 parts per hundred million. On the other hand, carbon monoxide is present in smog at around 3000 parts per hundred million, and hydrocarbons at around 100 parts per hundred million.

Another misunderstanding is that ozone is made when petroleum is burned in the engine. This is also incorrect. Ozone is only produced by mother-nature. As it descends to earth and encounters water vapor, in the way of rain or snow, it can attach itself to it forming hydrogen peroxide. Rain and snow both contain hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is actually called oxygen water because it is water with an extra oxygen molecule. It is a well known fact that plants grow much better from rain water than from irrigation. We have had this experience from our papayas.

Hydrogen Peroxide: As taken from “The Story of Ozone” by Saul Pressman

Hydrogen Peroxide, the partner to ozone, is more properly called oxygen water, since it is water with an extra oxygen molecule. It is found in rain and snow; the water at Lourdes; in fresh fruit and vegetables; and in colostrum, the first milk that a mother produces, where it provides a defense against infection until the baby’s own immune system develops and is able to produce its own hydrogen peroxide. In the body’s immune defense, hydrogen peroxide is released by T-cells to destroy invading bacteria, viruses and fungi. Blood platelets release hydrogen peroxide on encountering particulates in blood. Hydrogen peroxide is formed in the body by microbodies called peroxisomes, which combine water with oxygen, if sufficient oxygen is available. The importance of a high level of oxygenation is obvious. In the large intestine, acidophilus lactobacillus produces hydrogen peroxide which keeps the ever-present candida yeast from multiplying out of control. When candida albicans spreads out of the intestine, it escapes the natural control system and can gain a foothold in the organs of the body, causing what is called chronic fatigue syndrome and allergic hypersensitivity. Here’s what a few doctors say about free radicals and antioxidants.


As stated by Dr. Horst Kief:

“As with everything on our planet, both oxygen and antioxidants have two sides the positive and the negative. One side, free radicals will age us quicker, on the other side, without them we have no immune system. It is not well known that oxygen is bound to our hemoglobin as a superoxide anion, so the oxygen in our breathing process is already there as a radical.

It’s the same with antioxidants. Antioxidants are often prescribed to be taken along with the use of ozone (O3). These are not simply opposites that cancel each other out but rather a thoughtful optimization, since most antioxidants have very specific tasks. Vitamin E is active at the cell membrane. Vitamin C is itself a radical that can speed the electron flow through oxidation.


By Deepak Chopra:

“. . . The whole life extension enterprise misses the point. The damage caused by free radicals is secondary, not causal. In its normal state, the body controls free radicals as a matter of course. Your body is not blindly fighting for its life against “bad” chemicals; such a notion is far too simplistic. If you could view a cell as it produces its myriad free radicals and myriad scavengers at the same time, you would see the two floating around in the same environment, not like loose cannons, but closely monitored and controlled by the cell. Both are kept in balance and used as the cell requires a serene harmony.

It has not been shown that older people have necessarily higher levels of free radicals in their cells or lower levels of scavengers (antioxidants). Free radical damage is but one type of imbalance that can occur at the cellular level. If the body’s generative powers are at optimum, disorder and chaos do not attack a cell. One of the ways to maintain the body’s state of generative health is through exercise, providing a good supply of oxygen to the cells.

By actually building muscle late in life, older people can significantly rejuvenate their whole physiology, reversing the metabolic decline we have come to see as normal. Physical fitness is also intimately linked to one’s general well-being and attitude. . . “It is possible to counter free radical damage with the help of ozone ionizers, ozone bars, ozonated saunas, ozonated water, hyperbaric oxygen tanks, and hydrogen peroxide 35% put into a colonic with green tea or organic coffee a few times a week. The easiest way to build up resistance to a polluted environment is through eating a nutritious whole foods organic diet rich with all of the antioxidants, phytonutrients, enzymes. Included in this should be a daily exercise program. If you are living in a polluted environment these suggestions are particularly important for you.








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