An alternative treatment regimen to traditional medicine, hydrogen peroxide therapy claims to make illnesses better through the addition of oxygen into the body. According to some health experts, this form of medical intervention is not beneficial to health and might even be dangerous. Proponents of hydrogen peroxide therapy disagree, however, and they promote the treatment for conditions ranging from microbial infections to cancer.
Hydrogen peroxide is a chemical that contains two hydrogen and two oxygen atoms, and it has the chemical formula H2O2. It occurs naturally in human cells as a relatively toxic byproduct of metabolic reactions, but it also can act as a signaling molecule. It carries two oxygen atoms and can break down into a water molecule and a free oxygen, so alternative therapists who think that oxygen supplements can benefit health use it as a delivery form for oxygen.
Oxygen therapies such as hydrogen peroxide therapy are claimed to deliver a level of oxygen inside the body that can kill diseased or infectious cells. Traditional medicine does use oxygen in some procedures, but in a manner that is different from those promoted by alternative therapists. One such example of the use of oxygen in traditional medicine is the use of oxygen masks to assist certain patients' breathing. Hydrogen peroxide is used in traditional medicine to clean skin and wounds and to kill any potentially infectious microbes.
Alternative therapies attempt to deliver oxygen directly into the body through techniques such as injection or swallowing the hydrogen peroxide. Some practitioners might insert the hydrogen peroxide into the colon through an enema tube as a treatment for particular diseases. Bathing in diluted hydrogen peroxide is another form of hydrogen peroxide therapy.
Therapists who perform these procedures might claim to be able to treat a variety of medical conditions. Degenerative illnesses such as Alzheimer's disease, autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis and even liver cirrhosis might be on the list of treatable conditions. The therapist might also claim that the procedure delays aging or detoxifies the body. Cancer sufferers might also be offered hydrogen peroxide therapy, as can people who have chronic lung diseases or problems with the circulatory system.
Many health experts and organizations, such as the American Cancer Society, have said that hydrogen peroxide therapy does not have any beneficial effect on health. They say that this form of alternative health practice, might, in fact, be dangerous to health. Injuries to the intestine that might be lethal can occur through the introduction of hydrogen peroxide into the rectum through an enema.
Injections or ingestion of the substance can also block blood vessels or kill blood cells, resulting in gangrene or death. Allergies to the chemical are also possible and can be lethal. In addition to direct damage, the chemical might cause genetic mutations and can adversely affect unborn children.