Drugs A - Z
Generic Name: oxygen
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Note: This review does not cover vitamin O that contains germanium. Please see the individual monograph on germanium for more information.
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.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: 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.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: 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.
Adults (over 18 years old)
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.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
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.
Pregnancy & Breastfeeding
Vitamin O is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific evidence.
Interactions with Drugs
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.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): Sarah Elsabagh, BSc, PhD (King's College, University of London); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
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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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Takeuchi A, Yoshizawa N, Oshima S, et al. Nephrotoxicity of germanium compounds: report of a case and review of the literature. Nephron 1992;60(4):436-442.
Van der Spoel JI, Stricker BH, Schipper ME, et al. [Toxic damage of kidney, liver and muscle attributed to the administration of germanium-lactate-citrate]. Ned.Tijdschr.Geneeskd. 6-22-1991;135(25):1134-1137.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.