By Whit Sheppard
Gamma is a way in which we measure the concentration of ozone gas. This is important because it gives us a way to determine what concentration level you will be receiving. Most ozone generators used medically will typically have a chart that will help you determine the different concentrations the generator can achieve. This chart is commonly referred to as the “gamma chart”. It’s important to understand how this chart works so you know how to use your equipment properly, otherwise you could potentially be getting an unregulated amount of ozone.
Gamma, which is shorthand for “microgram per milliliter” or mcg/ml (sometimes shown as ug/ml) is essentially a more precise way of measuring ozone for medical purposes, rather than the g/hr (gram per hour) denomination that is more commonplace in ozone generators used for cleaning air and water. Air and water purification ozone generators can’t be effectively converted to gamma without some kind of analyzer to track the precise output at different flow rates and dial settings. They typically produce ozone that is not accurate enough for medical uses.
Paracelsus is attributed to the famous phrase, “Sola dosis facit venenum,” which means “the dose makes the poison,” and that is true with ozone and all other compounds on Earth. Most people doing ozone therapy that stay within the suggested guidelines (20-50 gamma for most applications) will notice many benefits, including killing bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other microbes. In addition to the germicidal effect ozone has on foreign pathogens and infections, it also increases ATP production in the cells, which usually results in an increase of energy, as well as stimulating the immune system. When you start getting past 65-80 gamma concentrations there is evidence that suggests it could potentially inhibit tissue generation and also might start to suppress the immune system.
Most insufflations occur in the 20-50 gamma range for optimal effect. It is recommended to do these treatments ideally at an oxygen flow rate of 1/8 LPM. Some generators will not have a variable output dial for you to adjust the amount of ozone at a specific flow rate, which essentially means you have one setting per flow rate. If that is the case, it will be harder for you to titrate or adjust the gamma dose. Titrating the dose is recommended because it allows your body to slowly acclimate to the ozone at lower gamma levels (20-30 gamma) before getting into the medium and higher gamma doses (30-50 gamma).
The recommended volume per ozone insufflation is around 500 cc or 500 mL, which would be around four minutes of continuous flow at 1/8 LPM. If you are using a different flow rate you will need to determine how long to do the treatment to achieve 500 cc or ml. Some people do higher volume insufflations than 500 ml, but it’s certainly not recommended for beginners.
On ozone generators that measure in gamma there is a general trend that can be counter-intuitive to someone new to these machines. On the gamma chart you will notice that the gamma output will get higher as the oxygen flow rate is reduced and the gamma output will be lowered as the oxygen flow is increased. This has to do with the contact time of oxygen in the ozone cell. The longer the oxygen spends in the ozone cell (which is running it through a charged electric field), the more ozone is created. This explains why higher oxygen flow rates produce less ozone, while slower flow rates will produce much higher gamma concentrations.
Ozone generators that are used to clean air and water typically measure output by weight. The most common measurement is grams per hour (g/hr) or milligrams per hour (mg/hr). When grams per hour is measured the amount of ozone produced increases when the flow rate is increased. When the flow rate is decreased the grams per hour becomes less, the opposite of a medical generator.
Knowing the concentration of ozone is crucial when using ozone therapy. This is why it is important to only use a medical ozone generator with a high grade oxygen feed. You want to be able to precisely control the amount of ozone you produce in order to safely perform any ozone therapy application.