DON’T DO IT!!!  I repeat, do not do it!  Seriously, if you ever hear anyone say that hydrogen peroxide can cure anything by drinking it or taking it intravenously; they are wrong.

Now I’ll tell you why the sudden interest in this particular subject.  I recently heard a really funny science joke which goes as follows,

“two men go to a bar, the first man orders a glass of H2O.  The second man says ‘I’ll have a glass of H2O too.’  The second man died.”

The joke is that H2O2 is the chemical hydrogen dioxide, commonly called hydrogen peroxide, which is deadly if consumed in large amounts.  After hearing this I went online to see if there were any other jokes like that one.  And this little website popped up.  To give you an idea of how dangerous this substance can be, this link will take you to a lab supply’s warning about the handling and dangers of the 35% “food grade” hydrogen peroxide that they supply. 

So if this stuff is so dangerous, why would anyone buy into the idea of drinking it to cure disease?  It’s actually pretty simple when you look at what these people claim.  They claim that they have the cure for cancer, AIDS, hepatitis, and many other chronic diseases.  How can they claim this?  Well they rely primarily on the work of Dr. Otto Warburg.  Warburg believed that a lack of oxygen in the body’s tissues was the cause of cancer and that flooding the tissues with oxygen would reverse the growth of tumors.  Now there are many things that cause cancer, but the key reason cancer cells develop is damage to the dna of the cell, which causes uncontrolled cellular reproduction.

This damage could happen for a wide and ever expanding set of reasons.  But two things are clear.  One, flooding the body with oxygen does not cure cancer.  Two, the ingestion of hydrogen peroxide does not cure cancer, AIDS, or any other disease.  In fact, the ingestion of hydrogen peroxide will very likely kill you.  Let me explain how.

Hydrogen peroxide is an oxidizer.  What this means is that it is an unstable chemical at the molecular level.  See atoms/molecules have a little quirk about the number of electrons they have in the outer electron layer.  If an atom/molecule doesn’t have the correct number of electrons in the outer most layer, it will do one of three things to correct this problem.  One, it will give an extra electron to another atom/molecule.  Two, it will take an electron from another atom/molecule.  Three, it will bond with another atom/molecule.

Now hydrogen peroxide, being an oxidizer, takes electrons from the atoms and molecules around it in order to stabilize itself.  This destabilizes the tissues that hydrogen peroxide comes in contact with; creating high concentrations of free radicals which continue to destroy tissues in the body.  This is also why chlorine gas is so deadly.

This is a warning label of high concentration hydrogen peroxide. Note the dangers of corrosion and flammability. Also not the “DO NOT TAKE INTERNALLY,” warning found at the top of the label.

So what happens to people who take these “treatments?”  Typically, people who ingest solutions of hydrogen peroxide will experience erosion of the stomach lining, esophagus, and damage to the various tissues of the mouth.  People who take these solutions through an IV will see deterioration of the veins, damage to the blood cells, and erosion of tissues near the injection site.  If a person is lucky enough to survive when starting these “treatments,” they will die as a result of prolonged exposure to hydrogen peroxide.

This is a dangerous pseudo science that takes advantage of people in duress due to chronic illness.  If you know anyone who is considering hydrogen peroxide “therapy,” tell them about the dangers and encourage them to seek professional treatment for their illness.

[Edit] Many people have asked me to provide studies for this article.  Well here they are.