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Is Hydrogen Peroxide Effective for Any Use?

Questionable Uses

One notable Web site praises the benefits of hydrogen peroxide, claiming that hydrogen peroxide therapy (usually given by mouth or IV) has been used successfully for the following conditions:
However, according to Dr. Steven Galson of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), "No one has presented any evidence that hydrogen peroxide taken internally has any medical value."
One should be careful of relying on anecdotal evidence (stories of personal experience), since such stories may be due to the "placebo effect" or could even be completely fabricated.
The American Cancer Society recommends that people with cancer not seek treatment from individuals promoting any form of hyperoxygenation therapy (including hydrogen peroxide therapy) as an alternative to proven medical treatments.

Why Do People Think Hydrogen Peroxide Has Any Benefits?

Hydrogen peroxide is a strong oxidizing agent, which means that it reacts with many other molecules in reduction-oxidation reactions. As such, it can cause "free radical" damage to cells and tissues.
Although the body naturally produces hydrogen peroxide (mostly as a by-product of other chemical reactions), naturally occurring enzymes, such as catalase, break down hydrogen peroxide into water and oxygen, preventing the formation of free radicals.
When used for wound care, hydrogen peroxide probably works mostly due to its bubbling action, which helps to mechanically cleanse the wound, since the antimicrobial effects of this product are questionable.
In fact, the bubbling action, which many people believe is due to the hydrogen peroxide "killing" the germs, is actually just the result of the chemical reaction between hydrogen peroxide and the catalase enzyme, which is found in blood and most tissues throughout the body.
Early research in laboratory animals suggests that naturally produced hydrogen peroxide may serve as a signal to attract white blood cells (which help fight infection) to wounds, although it is unclear if the same is true for humans, or if this means that using or taking hydrogen peroxide would have similar effects.
Proponents of hydrogen peroxide for alternative uses (such as for cancer treatment) believe that the substance works in various ways, such as by stimulating enzyme systems throughout the body and by providing oxygen to the body.

Hydrogen Peroxide (H202) Information

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