Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation (UBI)
What is UBI?
Ultraviolet Blood Irradiation (UBI) is a medical therapy developed in the 1920s in which a small portion of a patient’s blood is extracted and exposed to ultraviolet light before being returned to the body.
What are the benefits?:
- Improved immune function. UBI has been shown in multiple studies over multiple decades to be effective against viruses, bacteria, parasites, and fungus. It improves the body’s resilience against infection by various mechanisms. Unlike modern synthetic prescriptions, UBI treatment does not lead to resistant or superpathogens.
- Decreased inflammation. It helps to “turn off” the signals associated with inflammation and chronic degradation. It also helps to improve pain.
- Improved circulation. It stimulates the production of red blood cells, improves blood flow, and enhances the delivery of oxygen to the tissues.
- Improved energy production. It gently supports overall resilience to physical and emotional stress and improves overall healing and vitality.
- Doesn’t destroy healthy flora (the way antibiotics do)
- Can be done in conjunction with other medical therapies and prescriptions
- Doesn’t depress normal immune functions (the way steroids can)
- Helps a broad range of conditions (as opposed to taking multiple different medications for each)
- Gets at the root of the issue (the cellular health)
- Can be easily paired with ozone for a powerful, safe, synergistic healing effect
Conditions commonly treated with UBI include (but aren’t limited to) the following:
- Autoimmune conditions
- Acute bacterial or viral infections
- Chronic bacterial or viral infections (including EBV, Lyme, etc)
- Chronic fatigue
- Muscle pain
- Joint pain
- Overall malaise
In 1928, Dr. Emmett Knott used UBI for the first time on a human patient to treat a woman expected to die of severe sepsis following an abortion. She made a full recovery, and research on this therapy continued into the 1940s and 1950s. Dr. George Miley and Dr. Henry Barrett reported that UBI was beneficial in treating a wide variety of bacterial and viral infections, for improving circulation, and for increasing blood oxygen content.(1) Despite being an extremely effective treatment for infections, UBI fell out of favor in America in the 1950s due to the rise of antibiotics and vaccines. UBI continued to be studied and administered in Germany and Russia, and it is being reexamined in America due to the rise of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
While UBI was originally used for treating infections, benefits have also been found for patients who suffer from pain or chronic fatigue. For people suffering from viral infections, bacterial infections, inflammatory conditions, circulatory conditions, or immune disorders, UBI is a compelling treatment option because it can be administered safely alongside more traditional therapies, and it has little to no side effects. UBI does not create antibiotic-resistant bacteria and does not react poorly with other drugs. It is often paired with ozone therapies for synergistic effect.
UBI for Bacterial Infections
Early applications of UBI focused mainly on treating bacterial infections and sepsis. In 1940, Dr. Henry Barrett reported on 110 cases and found UBI treatment to be effective for a number of bacterial infections including tuberculosis, mastoiditis, furunculosis, and acne vulgaris.(2) It was concluded that UBI could inactivate toxins, destroy and inhibit the growth of bacteria, and normalize white blood cell count.(3)
While it was originally thought that UBI is effective for bacterial infections because UV light kills pathogens, recent research has revealed that this is probably not the case, and that the mechanisms of UBI are far more nuanced. In high doses, UV light has the potential to be extremely harmful to the body. However, UBI works based on the concept of “hormesis,” which is that “any toxic chemical substance or drug, or any physical insult… can be beneficial, protective or even therapeutic, provided the dose is low enough.”(4) This is why, in Knott’s original experiments, UBI was found to be most effective when only 5-7% of a subject’s blood was exposed to UV light. Recent studies have found that “ultraviolet light in the B and C regions inactivates bacterial and viral DNA & RNA,” while white blood cells are able to repair any UV light-induced damage.(5) By increasing oxygen content in the blood, UBI also increases the body’s innate immune response. Phagocytic reactions in response to infection require 100 times more oxygen than white blood cells in their resting state. By providing more oxygen to the blood, the body’s ability to fight infections increases.(6)
UBI for Viral Infections
In 1940, Dr. Henry Barrett reported on 110 cases (see above) and found UBI to be effective on bacterial infections as well as viral infections, including infectious arthritis, uveitis, and chronic paranasal sinusitis.(7) Later, Dr. George Miley treated viral pneumonia and nullified shingles infections with UBI.(8) Alongside Dr. Christensen, Dr. Miley also used UBI to treat polio.(9) Recent research confirms that UBI is effective in treating hepatitis, a discovery made in the 1950s that is gaining more traction as the medical community seeks alternatives to antibiotics.(10)
A 2019 study found that ultraviolet blood irradiation was effective in treating hepatitis C without any adverse effects. Researchers found that “ultraviolet light in the B and C regions inactivates bacterial and viral DNA & RNA” without causing lasting damage to white blood cells.(11) In addition, UV rays “significantly modulated” the body’s immune response by boosting production of type 1 interferons, a group of cells that inhibit viral replication.(12) Ultraviolet blood irradiation equips the body to better fight viral infections.
UBI for Circulation
Much of the power of UBI comes because this treatment increases blood oxygen content and improves circulation. Dr. George Miley recorded that patients treated with UBI experienced, “A 58% increase in the venous oxygen content in ten minutes... A 9% decrease in venous oxygen after a half hour…[and] a 50% increase in venous oxygen one hour to one month after treatment.”(13) Dr. Henry Barrett also found that UBI caused an “increase in peripheral circulation (due to vasodilation)... [an] increase in oxygen combining power of the blood… [and an] inactivation of toxins in the blood.”(14) Also in the 1940s, UBI was found to cause “absorption of ultraviolet rays by blood and emanation of secondary irradiations… increase in red blood cells, and normalization of white cell count.”(15) These secondary emanations of UV rays are part of why the positive effects of UBI can be so long-lasting. UBI also improves the flow of red blood cells and decreases blood viscosity, making it easier for blood to circulate.(16)
UBI increases blood oxygen levels in part because it temporarily increases oxidative stress. While chronic levels of oxidative stress are considered detrimental, in small quantities it may be beneficial because it signals antioxidant defenses.(17) UV light also increases sodium-potassium exchange and the ratio of red blood cells to whole blood.(18) The effect of UV light on circulation and blood content is partially responsible for its multifaceted benefits for immune response, circulatory conditions, and fatigue.
UBI for Immune Response
UBI was first used for treating a septic patient, and recent research into the mechanisms of UBI shed light on why it is effective for immune response. By boosting the body’s innate immune response, UBI can increase a patient’s natural capability for healing. There is also evidence that UBI can improve chronic stress and the body’s ability to resist long-term hypodynamia, a loss of strength or power.(19)
Septic patients can experience a “cytokine storm,” a potentially deadly overreaction of the body’s immune system. UV rays are able to reverse production of cytokines and stop them from being released, which can prevent these immune overreactions.(20) This was most likely the cause of success in Emmett Knott’s first test of UBI on a woman expected to die from severe sepsis following an abortion. UBI can also inhibit or kill various classes of lymphocytes, white blood cells responsible for immune response. While this may appear problematic at a first glance, large amounts of lymphocytes can cause an overwhelming systemic response, leading to additional serious health issues. UBI can normalize this response.(21) This explains, in part, UBI’s positive effect for inflammatory conditions.
UBI activates neutrophils, which can then engage in phagocytosis, the process by which cells engulf pathogens in a portion of their cell membranes.(22) In addition, UBI encourages production of type I interferons, cells which inhibit the spread of infectious agents.(23) Finally, UBI boosts immune response by increasing oxygen levels in the body. Phagocytic reactions in response to infection require 100 times more oxygen than white blood cells in their resting state. Infection also lowers oxygen tension, which lowers the body’s immune response.(24) By providing more oxygen to the blood, the body’s ability to fight infections increases.(25)