Hydrogen peroxide is often used to whiten teeth, treat minor cuts and scrapes, or dye one’s hair. Some individuals claim that hydrogen peroxide can also help cure cancer, but what does the research say?
Claims that hydrogen peroxide can also help cure cancer stem from the fact that it is an oxidising liquid, which means it gives off oxygen. Low oxygen levels can cause cancer, and some people think that exposing cancer cells to high levels of oxygen will prevent them from growing and they will die.
This type of therapy is often known as oxy medicine, oxidology, or oxidative therapy.
No current research suggests hydrogen peroxide has any effect on cancer cells. There are, however, many warnings against using it internally.
What are the Claims?
Claims that hydrogen peroxide can treat or cure cancer date back to the early 1930s when a German doctor called Otto Heinrich Warburg discovered that cancer cells could grow successfully without oxygen. This spurred other researchers to hypothesise that low oxygen levels lead to cancer development.
Some researchers believed that providing an abundance of oxygen to cancer cells might cure the cancer, so they began to look into how compounds, such as hydrogen peroxide, affected cancer cells.
Research in the mid-1900s suggested that hydrogen peroxide could have a positive effect. Research was conducted on animals, and although there were some favourable results, most indicated that hydrogen peroxide had limited effects.
Some individuals, however still claim that food grade hydrogen peroxide, which has a concentration of 35%, can treat cancer better than conventional treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation.
What Does the Research Say?
Recent studies have shown some flaws in the early research. The biggest problem with the initial research is the hypothesis that cancer thrives without oxygen and that oxygen can hamper its growth. Researchers now know that although cancer can survive without oxygen, it can also continue to grow in an oxygen-rich environment.
Additionally, a study published in 2011 proved that cancer cells produce hydrogen peroxide, which may help the cells to grow.
The United States Food and Drug Association (FDA) have issued a warning to consumers about purchasing high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, indicating that there is insufficient research to show that hydrogen peroxide is suitable for any medicinal purpose.
Risks & Warnings
Though hydrogen peroxide is available from various retailers for injection or digestion, people should be aware of the potential side effects and risks of using it.
The typical concentration of hydrogen peroxide in products is 3%. Even at this concentration, hydrogen peroxide may cause stomach pain and burns.
Proponents of hydrogen peroxide for cancer treatment recommend a concentration of 35%.
At this concentration, hydrogen peroxide can cause some of the following issues when swallowed:
- Burns in the mouth, esophagus (food tube), and stomach
- Bloating in the stomach
- Difficulty breathing
- Loss of consciousness
Injecting hydrogen peroxide may result in the following side effects:
- Gas bubbles that can impede blood flow, which can be fatal
- Kidney failure
- Deterioration of red blood cells
- Inflammation of blood cells at the injection site
Additional effects of exposure to hydrogen peroxide include:
- Eye irritation
- Bleaching of the hair or skin
- Burns or blisters
Please note that the Little Fighters Cancer Trust shares information regarding various types of cancer treatments on this blog merely for informational use.
LFCT does not endorse or promote any specific cancer treatments – we believe that the public should be informed but that the option is theirs to take as to what treatments are to be used.
Always consult your medical practitioner prior to taking any other medication, natural or otherwise.