Food-Grade Hydrogen Peroxide?

Recently, I was having a conversation with a friend who is an esthetician and she mentioned a conversation she’d had with someone recently, who had begun asking about ‘food-grade’ hydrogen peroxide. With some further investigation, the person said that they had heard anecdotal evidence (my words) of a man who drank food-grade hydrogen peroxide to make him healthier, and that he had lost weight because of this practice, however, the health food store where this person found the product indicated they’d only used it for cleaning tables. Knowing what this person was planning, my friend said that she didn’t know where to find the product, and had to offer to talk to a nurse client about the practice in order to convince this person not to run out and start drinking the hydrogen peroxide.

My first question was what is food-grade hydrogen peroxide? According to the website, it appears to be a 35% solution of h2o2 (what you buy in the drug store is usually only 3%), and they claim that the ‘stabilizers in it are not the toxic stabilizers used in industrial and pharmaceutical grades of hydrogen peroxide’. I’ve been able to find absolutely no documentation for the stabilizers used in ‘pharmaceutical grade’ hydrogen peroxide, but given that we often apply this stuff to open wounds, I can’t imagine that they’re that bad.

Of course, in addition to people talking about using hydrogen peroxide for weight loss, there are also sites that talk about using hydrogen peroxide for cancer treatment, which apparently works both via ingestion and injection. The basis for this is the idea of ‘oxygen therapy’, which, incidentally, the American Cancer Society does not advocate, and in fact claims has been linked to several deaths.

Hydrogen Peroxide has some solid uses, like as a disinfectant, stain remover and bleaching agent. But the way Hydrogen Peroxide accomplishes these tasks chemically, should make anyone wary of using this stuff internally. When the chemical, H2O2, breaks down it generally results in 2H2O2 -> 2H2O + O2, part of why it makes such a great rocket fuel, but it also means that there is a lot of free oxygen running around, just looking for atoms to rip electrons from (remember, ‘oxidation’ is just another name for rust!). Yes, we do use this tendency of oxygen to rip electrons from atoms to generate our energy we use, but there are a lot of dangers to over-exposure to oxygen. That bubbling you see when you put hydrogen peroxide on a fresh blood stain (or cut for that matter)? That’s caused by cells rupturing as the oxygen released when the peroxide decomposes begins tearing apart proteins and cell membranes.

Food-Grade Hydrogen Peroxide might have better stabilizers in it than what’s available at the pharmacy, but I’m not entirely sure. And the chemical can often serve as a better replacement for chlorine bleach as a cleaning agent, but what drinking it is doing to you internally (if it causes weight-loss at all, it’s probably because it prevents your body from actually absorbing nutrients after a long time ingesting it), is pretty much exactly what it’s doing when used externally. Tearing cells open. Denaturing proteins. Use it to clean and disinfect, but anything that can be used to kill bacteria, is going to cause you problems internally, and should be treated with care.