Oxygen therapy for Alzheimer’s?

On a recent episode of the Dr. Oz television program, a guest of the show strongly advocated the use of hyperbaric oxygen treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. So, what is hyperbaric oxygen therapy and when is it used?

What we know

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) is breathing 100% oxygen while under increased atmospheric pressure. According to Mayoclinic.com, “hyperbaric oxygen therapy is a well-established treatment for decompression sickness, a hazard of scuba diving. Other conditions treated with hyperbaric oxygen therapy include serious infections, bubbles of air in your blood vessels, and wounds that won’t heal as a result of diabetes or radiation injury.” 

Recent research has investigated whether HBOT may have value for other conditions such as cerebral palsy and multiple sclerosis, but no significant evidence has been found.

The Bottom Line

To the best of our knowledge, there is no substantive research evidence for this treatment in Alzheimer’s. A quick review of the published literature by the Alzheimer’s Association found no studies that support hyperbaric oxygen as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. And, as of today, there are no clinical trials of hyperbaric oxygen for Alzheimer’s listed on clinicaltrials.gov. For now, I wouldn’t put too much faith in this type of therapy for Alzheimer’s.

For more information on the latest news and developments in Alzheimer’s research, visit www.alz.org/research.

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26 Responses

  1. Terri Eckley says:

    Thank you for the information. I find that television programs often promote physical and emotional “cures” that have not been thoroughly researched. consumers of television may not know how to find accurate and reliable information.

  2. Lynn Drum says:

    I concur. I have heard a certain Dr ___ advocate the use of some interesting supplements from far away lands. I doubt any real research has been done on their efficacy. I have also heard him mention “science” that has been dismissed in recent years. Unfortunately, a lot of people listen to this and accept it as gospel.

  3. I am currently looking for a portable oxygen concentrator for my mom.She uses the filled tank kind right now.Does anyone know what type of portable concentrator she could use.When I say portable I mean like the AirSep,Invacare,Alliance,and DeVilbiss.
    Thanks in advance

    I have been looking into oxygen concentrators. I am debating buying a refurbished one from http://www.jdsorientalhealthsupply.com/oxygen_concentrators.html I am not sure if I should buy new and get the longer warranty or buy the refurbished one with a 6 month warranty. and get a much better price. Any advice would be appreciated

  4. Tami Moore says:

    I would put more faith in using Oxygen Therapy than I would the pharmaseutical drug options of Aricept and Namendez. I have personally eye witnessed that these drugs to nothing to help prevent, slow or improve the conditions associated with Alzheimer’s disease. I work in the Senior Living industry and have worked with 100’s of families. HBOT Therapy has been used for many years and is common practice in the prevention or treatment of many diseases in many countries. Unfortunately if treatment is not something the government or pharmaceutical companies can “profit” off of, then it is seen as quackery or hopefull. I would use HBOT therapy and the supplementation of Curcumin with my loved one in the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s as a preferred treatment. Increased oxygen into every cell of the body especially the brain can only help the body to heal and will cause no harm. It will also help prevent the tangles/plaque from forming to begin with. When I use HBOT I feel a huge increase in mental clarity, energy and calmness. I can only think that those with Alzheimer’s would also benefit and it is a much cheaper therapy option than any other drug being used on the market today. I would expect better research on these types of subjects prior to publishing on the AlZ.blog. or at least an open mind.

    • Bill says:

      My wife a year ago had declined to a point of no cognitive abilities, no short term memory and long term memory was on the decline. No desire to wash or eat. At that time she was taking only Aricept. Doctor then put her on Namenda XR 28 mg. I started to notice a change in her about three weeks ago. Upon further thinking, that change is dramatic. She is eating everything in sight, she is converse, when we have to go out she puts on dresses rather than pants. Takes time to put on her makeup even starting to remember things she observed in just weeks! She is becoming funny again. I am saying these drugs are working. Both our family doctor and her Neurologist agree that something somewhat remarkable is happening. This is fact not supposition, not something I think, or heard but witnessed. People who write on these forums do more disservice to caregivers with their “I think” or “I heard” than anything else.

    • Catina Mauro says:

      Thank you so much Tami for this information. I live in Toronto and we have two hospitals that do administer this treatment to Alzheimer patients but we have to first get our family MD to prescribe it in order for it to be covered by our public health insurance. My father who is ill refuses to take his medications saying to us daily that it is poisoning him. (I think he may be right, as he is medicated for diabetes, blood pressure, and cholesterol and takes umpteen pills at weird doses, that I believe were given for my dad’s former doctor to pay “homage” to Big Pharma. Daily we struggle to get him to take them so we thought that we could tell him that he may take less pills if he goes to these treatments. I hope that we can somehow get him over to the hospital for weekly for oxygen therapy as he is a very stubborn man even before he was diagnosed. I know that if a third party comes over to the home he will listen to a stranger before a family member and we may succeed at getting the treatment to see what difference it will make to him.

    • LNS MUKUNDAN says:

      Dear Tami , have you come across specific cases ofAlzheimers patients who have benefited by HBOT treatment ?
      I am the brother and Caregiver of a patient diagnosed with mild to moderate ALZHEIMERS , located in India .i am looking for alternate therapies and treatment through supplements but in our country very few doctors step outside the confines of FDA approved therapies and medications , which unfortunately offers little or no succour to many diseases , particularly ALZHEIMERS .
      Thank you .
      Chennai .
      India . Email : lnsmukundan1942@ gmail.com.

    • Annette says:

      I so agree with you Tami

  5. Francene says:

    I have used hyperbaric oxygen therapy and it has create much relief to my daughter who had a head injury. I have used it personally for fibromyalgia and I am pain free. I also noticed I am so much stronger and my cognitive skills are much sharper. My brain works quicker to and my daughter improved drastically. My body is so much stronger. It is over looked in how it can help people. It is one of the best therapies I experience with quantum biofeedback by Dr Bill Nelson

  6. sandy says:

    H2O2 Intraveonous is good for rheumatoid arthritis I wonder if this would be more or less effective than the chamber for Alzheimers? does anyone know?

  7. Frankie says:

    I was talking with a friend of many years who fears Alzheimer’s. She’s told me of a clinic in Florida using oxygen therapy at a cost of 6 to 7 thousand for the treatment. We reside in Southern New Jersey, is there a known treatment center within our area and less expensive? We’re 16 miles from Philadelphia, PA.
    Oh, she fears because she forgets and this is the sign, I told her we’re aging and it’s natural, we forgot things when we were children and not to claim any disease unless diagnosed. She’s going into a panic mode, please someone respond before she goes off the edge. She a college educated and artist in her own right, please help!!

    • BIll says:

      HBOT is one of several methods used to increase oxygen levels in the body. Google: “oxygen therapy” (lots of info); read “The One Minute Cure: by Cavanaugh

  8. cynthia says:

    My 84 year old mother was formally diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 3 1/2 years ago. At the time her oxygen sats were below 90 % so she was prescribed 2.5 litres of oxygen 24 hours a day. In the early stages she was agressive and refused to wear the oxygen, now 3 plus years later she wears it 24 hours a day, her disposition is wonderful. She is on a very strict medication protocol of Aricept, Namenda, Lexapro, Depakote, Seroquel and vitamins and a non FDA approved supplement called Procera. She still remembers who we are, where she is and does not wander. She is never agitated. I believe the oxygen therapy has played an extreme role in her stabilization. She also has heart disease and the oxygen helps to keep her blood flow better. Would be happy to share our therapy and dosages with anyone. It is a remarkable journey. I intend to provide documentation to the Alz.org so perhaps our protocol could be reviewed and possibly help others.

    • Perkins says:

      Hey there,

      Could hyperbaric oxygen therapy (henceforth referred to as HBO) help my Mom out? She had a massive hemorrhagic stroke last year. She is now in a wheelchair…she can talk, sit up and feed herself..she can also brush her own teeth and wash her face. Her long-term memory is somewhat intact, but her short-term memory is no longer good.

      I will have to call her insurance company to see if they will cover it..it’s a Medicare Advantage program called Humana Gold Plus.

      I look forward to hearing from you!

    • Gabi says:

      I was just wondering which Clinic or Doctor did you use for the therapy.
      I would like to give it a try for my mother who is 72 years old and was diagnose
      with dementia last year.We live in Chicago but I would consider traveling if necessary.

    • LNS MUKUNDAN says:

      Dear Cynthia , I am in India and my elder brother , 74 yrs has been diagnosed of ALZHEIMERS since five years . He is on medication like Aricept 15 mg a day , and Admenta ,plus medication for diabetes and blood pressure .but is not improving . I was looking up HBOT and I came across your comments on Oxygen supplementation for your grandmother , and your offer to share information on the protocol followed by you .
      I am very keen to know the source of oxygen you use for supplementation . It is obviously not HBOT , as you say she has it on all the time and it is done at home . Obviously it is the normal oxygen given in hospitals by tube under a specified pressure . Are you therefore using oxygen cylinders , or may be an oxygen concentrator. I don t know much about concentrators as few are available in India. Secondly in either case is she bed-bound or totally mobile ?
      I will be grateful for whatever information you can give me and any advice .
      Thank you . Regards ,
      LNS Mukundan .

      • LNS MUKUNDAN says:

        Further to my earlier communication to Cynthis , posted a little earlier , my email address is : lnsmukundan1942@gmail.com and I would appreciate a direct reply if that were feasible so that I could get further clarifications about the protocol as a whole , and if direct email were not feasible , a reply through this will be equally welcome . But do reply one way or the other as I am keen to learn about the protocol as a whole and oxygen therapy in particular . This . Mukundan. LNS .

  9. Kapono says:

    I was a paramedic of 12 years in Hawaii, Washington, and Oregon. Have seen nothing but great things from HBOT. I believe Tami is absolutely right, that pharmaceutical companies and doctors will divert from Hyperbaric Chambers if it’s not making them money. But it absolutely does work…seen it with my own eyes hundreds of times. From a stroke patient, a diabetic with gangrene, head injuries, heart conditions etc, have ALWAYS worked. It’s simple, HUMAN CELLS NEED OXYGEN TO LIVE. PERIOD!

  10. Lisa says:

    Well put Tami!! I have had wonderful success with HBOT treatments and am planning on returning for further treatments. It is irresponsible to say that HBOT does no good, if there are not even any studies from the past or planned for the future to prove or disprove the benefits of HBOT. The pharmaceuticals will never allow such research, because I believe, they know it will cause their profits to decrease greatly!

  11. Gracie says:

    I have MS. Memory extremely poor. Might this help?

  12. Thanks for this wonderful post. Dementias are an intellectual destruction, as well as perceptive rotting of the brain. The problem progressively works to decline the perceptive objective, taking the soul of storage. Dementias often occurs while the brain is functioning, i.e. controlling progress, or movement, etc, which the feelings are arrested.

  13. mic says:

    Thank you for sharing a well thought out informative article. I believe kepono is 100 right, there is not enough cash for the physicians.

  14. o2 says:

    o2 therapy is a treatment that provides you with extra oxygen, a gas that your body needs to work well. Normally, your lungs absorb o2 from the air. However, some diseases and conditions can prevent you from getting enough o2.

  15. Valerie says:

    My mother is 85 with Alzheimer’s. She suffers from her hip being bone on bone. She is not able to walk and she is in diar pain. She becomes combative when we transfer her from the chair to bed, car, or bathroom. I wonder if this would benefit her.

  16. Michelle Johnston says:

    I’m sorry about your wife’s diagnosis. We have information on our website related to existing treatments: https://www.alz.org/i-have-alz/treatments-and-research.asp. Other things that may be helpful include physical activity, healthy diet, social engagement and managing any other health conditions she has. You can reach the Alzheimer’s Association 24/7 at 800.272.3900.

  1. December 20, 2012

    […] Research: Oxygen Therapy for Alzheimer’s? This story summarized the basics about hyperbaric oxygen treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, which was highlighted during the very popular Dr. Oz show. […]

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