Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Oxygenating Your Blood?

Since diabetes education is my specialty, and many people don't actually get to talk to me until they have already developed problems, I actually get to spend a decent amount of time talking about wound prevention.  In short, a person with diabetes can develop nerve damage, which in turn hurts the circulation, and the places farthest away from the heart (e.g. the feet) are usually the first places where you notice problems.   If someone does develop a wound, they need to clean it, but one of the things you DO NOT WANT TO DO is pour hydrogen peroxide on the wound.  Why?  The hydrogen peroxide will damage any healthy tissue still remaining and make YOUR WOUND WORSE.

Yes, I am shouting.  I like for people to keep their feet instead of having them cut off.

How does this relate to nutrition?  I also have to deal with nutrition related supplements, and a friend sent me this article about how people are trying to take food grade hydrogen peroxide internally.  (And yes, they do also recommend using it on wounds.  I showed this to one of my colleagues who is a wound care nurse and I think he is still curled up in ball crying.)  We all agree that cancer is scary, but is taking this substance really going to help cancer prevention?  Particularly when you don't even want to use it on wounds?

Of course the answer is no.  Back in the 1930's there was a doc by the name of Otto Warburg, M.D. who proposed that oxygen would destroy cancer cells (he had a Nobel prize, so someone thought his ideas were worth considering I suppose).  Unfortunately, once research was actually done, the highly oxygenated blood actually fed the tumors and the use of injecting hydrogen peroxide into tumors was found to be ineffective.  And if that's not bad enough, the consumption of food grade hydrogen peroxide can cause vomiting, severe burns of the throat and stomach, and even death.  Infusing it could also result in a deadly gas embolism in the blood.

What is food grade hydrogen peroxide good for?   The main use it has is for sanitizing surfaces in the kitchen or other surfaces that come into contact with food.  In other words, if you want a sanitizing agent less smelly than bleach food grade hydrogen peroxide is your best best (be careful not to get your clothing in contact with it though, unless you want to "bleach" it).  For more information on the fascinating history of Oxygen Therapy, read this article that originally appeared in the Scientific Review of Alternative Medicine: Oxygenation Therapy: Unproven Treatment for Cancer and AIDS.  I also recommend this post from Quackwatch: Oxygenated Water?

Take home message--avoid the use of hydrogen peroxide unless you are using it to sanitize kitchen surfaces.


  1. I would totally e-mail you this question, but I can't seem to find one.

    Any chance that you could tackle "The China Study"? I can't find a post of yours on that, so maybe you haven't written on it?

    1. I did talk about the "movie version" here:
      Will be happy to expound on it, and this also reminded me that I really need to start tagging my posts somehow!

    2. Well, thank you. Keep up the great blogging!