Vitamin O (Manufactured by Rose Creek Health Products, Inc., and Staff of Life, Inc.)
As a dietary supplement advertised on the Internet and elsewhere, Vitamin O is promoted to prevent and treat cancer, HIV/AIDS, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and other chronic illnesses by detoxifying the body and improving metabolism via high doses of molecular oxygen. It is purported to contain 30,000 ppm stabilized oxygen molecules in a solution of sodium chloride and distilled water. The anticancer activity of vitamin O is based on the theory that cancer cells grow in an oxygen-poor environment and cannot proliferate in oxygen-rich conditions.
Vitamin O was advertised in national newspapers for mail-order purchase until the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint against its marketers, Rose Creek Health Products, Inc., and Staff of Life, Inc., in March 1999. The FTC found, contrary to the advertisement claims, that Vitamin O does not allow oxygen molecules to be absorbed through the gastrointestinal system, does not prevent or treat any physical ailment or disease, does not have a beneficial effect on human health, has not been proven effective by medical or scientific research, and was not developed by NASA for use of astronauts (1).
- Cancer prevention
- Cancer treatment
- Cardiovascular disease
- Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders
- Cognitive improvement
- Common cold
- HIV and AIDS
- Recovery from illness
- Strength and stamina
Mechanism of Action
Vitamin O's supposed efficacy is based on the idea that most degenerative diseases (e.g., cancer, arthritis, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome) result from decreasing levels of atmospheric oxygen caused by industry and deforestation. Stress, toxins, and the modern diet of processed foods, fats, sugar, alcohol, white flour, and caffeine are said to make the body oxygen-deficient because more oxygen is required to metabolize them (1). Vitamin O marketers misappropriate the discovery of higher atmospheric oxygen levels in past geologic eras to conclude that the human body evolved to function at higher concentrations of oxygen than is now available; and that the dissolved oxygen content of most people's bodies is considerably lower than that needed to maintain sufficient metabolism; the lower the level of dissolved oxygen in a person's body, the greater the susceptibility to disease. While supplemental respiratory oxygen is thought to have anticancer activities by enhancing T cells and NK cells (3), none of the claims on oral vitamin O supplement are supported by laboratory or clinical evidence.
No formal pharmacokinetic studies have been performed.
The Federal Trade Commission charged the marketers of Vitamin O with making false health claims in March 1999, for which the marketers paid $375,000 in consumer compensation (2). None of the health claims made for Vitamin O has been substantiated.
Literature Summary and Critique
Vitamin O supplements have not been evaluated in laboratory or clinical studies.
- Federal Trade Commission v. Rose Creek Health Products, Inc., The Staff of Life, Inc., and Donald L. Smyth. Complaint For Permanent Injunction and Other Equitable Relief. March 15, 1999. Available at: http://www.ftc.gov/os/1999/03/rosecreekcmp.htm. Accessed December 4, 2014.
- Federal Trade Commission. “Marketers of 'Vitamin O' Settles FTC Charges of Making False Health Claims; Will Pay $375,000 for Consumer Redress.” News release; May 1, 2000. Available at: http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2000/05/rosecreek2.htm. Accessed December 4, 2014.
- 2.Hatfield SM, Kjaergaard J, Lukashev D, et al. Immunological mechanisms of the antitumor effects of supplemental oxygenation. Sci Transl Med. 2015 Mar 4;7(277):277ra30. doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aaa1260.