Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy

What is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

HBOT involves the patient breathing medical grade oxygen through a mask or hood. Since oxygen is considered a drug by the FDA, patients must obtain a prescription from a licensed healthcare professional for these therapeutic treatments.

Normal atmospheric pressure (at sea level) is 1 atmosphere (1 atm). Patients receive HBOT in a pressurized hyperbaric chamber. During treatment, the chamber pressure gradually increases to about 2 – 2.5 x normal atmospheric pressure (2 – 2.5 ATA).

How does Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Work?

Our cells need oxygen to heal and stay healthy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy increases oxygen levels by nearly 1200% during treatments. Increased atmospheric pressure and breathing 100% medical grade oxygen results in increased partial pressure of oxygen in our tissues by almost 20-fold, supersaturating the blood(1).

Such an increase in oxygen causes elevated production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS), which have been demonstrated to regulate thousands of genes(2, 3). These genes control growth factors, cytokines, and hormones; HBOT regulates them in a way that reduces inflammation, increases stem cell availability, forms new blood vessels, and defends against bacteria(3, 4).

HBOT Helps Grow New Blood Vessels

New Blood Vessel Formation

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been shown to stimulate the formation of new blood vessels via processes called angiogenesis and vasculogenesis(5). In angiogenesis, HBOT increases the synthesis of growth factors that cause existing cells to form new blood vessels(6). In vasculogenesis, HBOT increases causes the formation of completely new blood vessels by mobilizing stem cells from the bone marrow(5). New blood vessels help transport nutrients and oxygen to injured tissue and facilitate healing which otherwise might not have taken place.
Increases Stem Cell Production

Increased Stem Cell Activity

Stem cells have the potential to develop into many types of cells in the body, providing the body with an innate regenerative system. HBOT increases the release of stem progenitor cells (SPC’s) from bone marrow to peripheral circulation(8, 9). Such SPC’s are critical for forming new blood vessels (neovascularization), which has countless benefits, especially for injured tissue(7). Additionally, recent research revealed that certain SPC’s can form nearly any type of cell in the body, suggesting promise for their use in treating degenerative and inherited diseases (10,11).
Decreases Inflammation

Decreased Inflammation

In many diseases, the body responds to physiological issues by increasing its inflammatory response. Although this is necessary to some extent, certain cytokines (such as IL-1, IL-6) can cause serious problems when over-produced(12). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) has been shown to decrease systemic inflammation in the body(13). Research has demonstrated that HBOT does this by increasing the expression of anti-inflammatory genes and decreasing the expression of inflammatory genes(12,14). This results in a lowered inflammatory response that prevents further tissue damage and facilitates healing of inflamed tissue.
HBOT is Antibacterial & Antimicrobial

Antibacterial & Antimicrobial

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is known to increase the presence of reactive oxygen species (ROS), molecules which have a direct antimicrobial effect on certain bacteria(15). Elevated ROS’s damage the cellular components of such bacteria, and ultimately eliminate the conditions which bacteria require to live(16). The high oxygen tension reached during HBOT also prevents pathogenic microorganisms from surviving. Lastly, HBOT has also been shown to increase infected tissue’s susceptibility to certain antibiotics, suggesting its use as an effective adjunct treatment to conventional antibiotic medications(17,18).

Recent Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy News & Research

Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Effective For Treating Autism?

Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Effective For Treating Autism?

Abstract: Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized as a developmental disability caused by abnormalities in brain function. Studies link ASD with various physiological abnormalities, such as cerebral hypoperfusion, oxidative stress, inflammation, and...

References:
  1. Bitterman, Haim. “Bench-to-Bedside Review: Oxygen as a Drug.” Critical Care, vol. 13, no. 1, 2009, p. 205. DOI.org (Crossref), doi:10.1186/cc7151.
  2. Thom, Stephen R., et al. “Stem Cell Mobilization by Hyperbaric Oxygen.” American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, vol. 290, no. 4, Apr. 2006, pp. H1378–86. physiology.org (Atypon), doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00888.2005.
  3. Thom, Stephen R. “Oxidative Stress Is Fundamental to Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy.” Journal of Applied Physiology, vol. 106, no. 3, American Physiological Society, Mar. 2009, pp. 988–95. journals.physiology.org (Atypon), doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.91004.2008.
  4. Godman, Cassandra A., et al. “Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Induces Antioxidant Gene Expression.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1197, June 2010, pp. 178–83. PubMed, doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05393.x.
  5. Thom, Stephen R. “Hyperbaric Oxygen – Its Mechanisms and Efficacy.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, vol. 127, no. Suppl 1, Jan. 2011, pp. 131S-141S. PubMed Central, doi:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181fbe2bf.
  6. Thackham, Jennifer A., et al. “The Use of Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy to Treat Chronic Wounds: A Review.” Wound Repair and Regeneration, vol. 16, no. 3, 2008, pp. 321–30. Wiley Online Library, doi:10.1111/j.1524-475X.2008.00372.x
  7. Thom, Stephen R., et al. “Stem Cell Mobilization by Hyperbaric Oxygen.” American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, vol. 290, no. 4, Apr. 2006, pp. H1378–86. physiology.org (Atypon), doi:10.1152/ajpheart.00888.2005.
  8. Thom, Stephen R., et al. “Stimulation of Perivascular Nitric Oxide Synthesis by Oxygen.” American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology, vol. 284, no. 4, Apr. 2003, pp. H1230–39. physiology.org (Atypon), doi:10.1152/ajpheart.01043.2002.
  9. Aicher, Alexandra, et al. “Essential Role of Endothelial Nitric Oxide Synthase for Mobilization of Stem and Progenitor Cells.” Nature Medicine, vol. 9, no. 11, Nov. 2003, pp. 1370–76. PubMed, doi:10.1038/nm948.
  10. “CD34+AC133+ Cells Isolated from Cord Blood Are Highly Enriched in Long-Term Culture-Initiating Cells, NOD/SCID-Repopulating Cells and Dendritic Cel… – PubMed – NCBI.” Accessed August 19, 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9831864?dopt=Abstract.
  11. Jiang, Yuehua, Balkrishna N. Jahagirdar, R. Lee Reinhardt, Robert E. Schwartz, C. Dirk Keene, Xilma R. Ortiz-Gonzalez, Morayma Reyes, et al. “Pluripotency of Mesenchymal Stem Cells Derived from Adult Marrow.” Nature 418, no. 6893 (July 4, 2002): 41–49. https://doi.org/10.1038/nature00870.
  12. Benson, R. M., et al. “Hyperbaric Oxygen Inhibits Stimulus-Induced Proinflammatory Cytokine Synthesis by Human Blood-Derived Monocyte-Macrophages.” Clinical and Experimental Immunology, vol. 134, no. 1, Oct. 2003, pp. 57–62. PubMed Central, doi:10.1046/j.1365-2249.2003.02248.x.
  13. Thom, Stephen R. “Hyperbaric Oxygen – Its Mechanisms and Efficacy.” Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, vol. 127, no. Suppl 1, Jan. 2011, pp. 131S-141S. PubMed Central, doi:10.1097/PRS.0b013e3181fbe2bf.
  14. Godman, Cassandra A., et al. “Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Induces Antioxidant Gene Expression.” Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, vol. 1197, June 2010, pp. 178–83. PubMed, doi:10.1111/j.1749-6632.2009.05393.x.
  15. Memar, Mohammad Yousef, et al. “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy: Antimicrobial Mechanisms and Clinical Application for Infections.” Biomedicine & Pharmacotherapy, vol. 109, Jan. 2019, pp. 440–47. ScienceDirect, doi:10.1016/j.biopha.2018.10.142.
  16. Çimşit, Maide, et al. “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy as an Anti-Infective Agent.” Expert Review of Anti-Infective Therapy, vol. 7, no. 8, Taylor & Francis, Oct. 2009, pp. 1015–26. Taylor and Francis+NEJM, doi:10.1586/eri.09.76.
  17. Turhan, Vedat, et al. “Hyperbaric Oxygen as Adjunctive Therapy in Experimental Mediastinitis.” Journal of Surgical Research, vol. 155, no. 1, July 2009, pp. 111–15. ScienceDirect, doi:10.1016/j.jss.2008.08.031.
  18. Lerche, C. J., et al. “Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy Augments Tobramycin Efficacy in Experimental Staphylococcus Aureus Endocarditis.” International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, vol. 50, no. 3, Sept. 2017, pp. 406–12. ScienceDirect, doi:10.1016/j.ijantimicag.2017.04.025.