Oxidative Therapy – The Role of Hydrogen PeroxideFaizan Khan
Oxidative therapy is one of those interventions that comes in when the body’s internal mechanisms are not sufficient to neutralize the adverse changes. It is one of the most effective ones, to say the least. It has historical evidence that supports its efficacy against deadly illnesses.
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the foremost tools we use to deliver oxygen. So it begs the question, can it be used in the form of oxidative therapy too? How effective is hydrogen peroxide therapy against the recent coronavirus?
But before we answer those questions, let’s dive into precisely what oxidative therapy is and how hydrogen peroxide fits into the puzzle!
What is Oxidative Therapy?
Oxidative therapy is an umbrella term for several therapies that boost your immune system. This boost is caused by additional oxygen delivery to the tissues, enhancing mitochondrial processes and facilitating healing.
Although this process sounds modernistic with high-tech equipment, it has been used for a long time. The first use of oxygen dates back to the 1700s to treat tuberculosis and the 1900s for treating pneumonia. This process was boosted after advances and technology and WWI, and oxidative therapy became more popular among medical professionals to heal.
Today, supplemental oxygen is widely used in hospitals for emergency care for respiratory conditions and treatment of wounds. Moreover, doctors use oxygen therapies to treat a myriad of viral or bacterial infections via Hyperbaric Oxygen Chamber.
The basic chemical oxidation therapy uses oxygen, ozone gas, and hydrogen peroxide. Some of the standard procedures for oxidative therapy are:
Ozone is a colorless gas made up of three atoms of oxygens (O3). Although you may recall it from your 7th-grade biology, it is the same chemical that makes up the surrounding layer of Earth that protects it from harmful UV rays.
Ozone therapy refers to the process of injecting ozone gas into your body to treat a disease or wound. In your body, it breaks down into regular oxygen and provides it boosts your immunity.
UV Blood Irradiation Therapy
These types of blood irradiation therapies use low levels of light (such as laser light) and expose them to blood for therapeutic purposes. In addition, it has been claimed that ultraviolet radiation kills bacteria by DNA damage and activates the immune system.
As one may suspect, this procedure has been controversial since its early use in the 1940s-1950s.
Intravenous Hydrogen Peroxide Therapy
As the name suggests, in this procedure, hydrogen peroxide is given intravenously. Hydrogen peroxide is entirely safe to use at lower concentrations.
The physiology of hydrogen peroxide inside the body clearly explains how it is safe to use. When inside the body, hydrogen peroxide releases singlet oxygen inside the body. This oxygen would be otherwise reactive if it weren’t for hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin binds to oxygen and discharges directly in the tissues without producing ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species). Hence, it is not surprising when intravenous hydrogen peroxide is preferred more than ozone therapy in the USA and many parts of Europe!
Bio-Oxidative Medicine – The Role of Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the best therapeutic tools we have because it tends to liberate free oxygen. Oxygen is vital to life and has tremendous implications inside the body, including healing wounds, killing bacteria, and promoting the immune system.
Therefore, hydrogen peroxide is one of the foremost chemicals used in oxidation therapies.
How Does it Work?
The working of hydrogen peroxide can be majorly attributed to the free oxygen that it liberates.
If you look at the structure of hydrogen peroxide, it is very much like water but with additional oxygen. This extra oxygen is loosely bound to the hydrogen peroxide structure. When it comes into contact with the atmosphere, it loses this oxygen, which is utilized in various oxidation-related functions.
A similar process occurs when hydrogen peroxide is introduced inside the body in the form of IV injections. When hydrogen peroxide comes into contact with blood, it is tackled by two enzymes, catalase and cytochrome-C.
The Catalase enzyme breaks down hydrogen peroxide immediately, releasing water and a singlet-oxygen species. This process occurs predominantly in the liver. On the other hand, cytochrome-C binds hydrogen peroxide and prevents its dissociation for forty minutes. In the meantime, this cytochrome-C bound hydrogen peroxide is effectively transported throughout the body’s cells and tissues. After forty minutes, hydrogen peroxide breaks down, providing singlet oxygen throughout the body.
What Does Hydrogen Peroxide Do In Particular?
Now that we know the mechanism of action of hydrogen peroxide, we can discuss what benefits it provides to the body.
Hydrogen peroxide is attributed to all the benefits of oxidation inside the body; they include killing pathogens, reacting with metabolic wastes, and so much more!
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the best anti-pathogenic tools we have. When it counters pathogens inside the body, it immediately reacts and neutralizes them.
Anaerobic bacteria which do not need oxygen for survival are immediately killed off by hydrogen peroxide. That’s because hydrogen peroxide releases oxygen and a high-aerated environment inhibits their growth. Such anaerobic bacteria are mostly disease-causing, and all viruses are anaerobic as well.
Moreover, good aerobic bacteria require oxygen for survival and thrive in the presence of hydrogen peroxide. These bacteria include helpful intestinal bacteria that aid in digestion. Hence hydrogen peroxide has a two-fold benefit!
Provides Singlet Oxygen That Helps Neutralize Harmful Bodily Toxins
Every minute our bodies produce hundreds of different toxins and metabolic waste. This waste is a load on kidneys and liver, which are constantly filtering them out. One of the ways these harmful toxins can be removed is by oxidation.
The singlet oxygen that hydrogen peroxide provides can be used to oxidize and effectively remove these toxins from the body. And by doing this, hydrogen peroxide does a great favor to your kidneys and liver. Moreover, excess energy that was required in converting metabolic waste is conserved. This doubles the rate of enzymatic action inside the body and boosts the body’s metabolism.
What Concentration of Hydrogen Peroxide is Ideal for Oxidative Therapy?
Hydrogen peroxide comes in all types of concentrations. From the highly diluted 0.5% to the industrial 90%, hydrogen peroxide concentration relates with the task at hand.
As expected, for the use of the human body, such as in oxidative therapy, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide should be small. Nevertheless, the trusty 3% hydrogen peroxide is the way for many household procedures and tasks.
For sensitive areas like the nose and mouth, the safe concentration of hydrogen peroxide is 0.5-1% concentrated. However, hydrogen peroxide can irritate the mucosal surfaces at higher concentrations, causing nausea, vomiting, respiratory distress, and even epithelial burns.
How Do We Administer Hydrogen Peroxide for Oxidative Therapy?
The two main routes of hydrogen peroxide administration for oxidative therapy are mouth, nose, and ingestion.
For using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash, you should be aiming for a 1% hydrogen peroxide concentration or more minor. The regular 3% hydrogen peroxide may be adequate; however, it may cause mucosal irritation if inhaled.
A hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is made by mixing one part hydrogen peroxide with one part water. When it comes to dosage, a Cambridge University Press review article recommends using hydrogen peroxide mouthwash three times per day as an oxidative therapy for one minute each. Moreover, hydrogen peroxide mouthwash is labeled completely safe for human use.
The other route of hydrogen peroxide oxidative therapy is in the form of nasal sprays.
As the mucosal linings of your respiratory tract are rather sensitive, the hydrogen peroxide concentration used should be 0.5% or less. Many research articles recommend nebulizing hydrogen peroxide twice a day for five to ten minutes. And like mouthwash, hydrogen peroxide is safe for the use of nasal sprays. According to the article, 3% hydrogen peroxide solution was nebulized in people with infections for 6 months, and no damage was seen on oral mucous membranes. So a modest 0.5% should be more than safe!
Conditions That Hydrogen Peroxide Oxidative Therapy Can Help Manage
Hydrogen peroxide is a potent oxidizing agent, as we have seen in the above sections. Now, what are its real-time implications inside the body? How many ailments is hydrogen peroxide effective against, and what is the route of action?
Below are some of the most substantial effects of oxygen released by hydrogen peroxide inside the body:
1. Dissolve Cholesterol Deposits
Cholesterol is a compound formed by long chains of saturated fatty acids. In regulated amounts, it is necessary to maintain the composition of the cell membrane. However, with genetic predisposition and poor diet, the body’s cholesterol levels can get very high. And according to research, hypercholesterolemia is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases worldwide.
Hydrogen peroxide can be an effective therapy in managing cholesterol levels in the body. When injected intravenously as an oxidative therapy, hydrogen peroxide shows remarkable results in reducing the cholesterol concentrations inside the body. According to the research, hydrogen peroxide blocks cholesterol transport into the mitochondria of rat luteal cells and inhibits steroidogenesis.
Which, in simple terms, means hydrogen peroxide blocks hormone-sensitive receptors inside the cells, which promote the manufacturing of cholesterol. This means hydrogen peroxide can be used to treat genetic hypercholesterolemia without complicated medications!
2. Treatment of Vascular Disease
Your blood vessels are like pipes that conduct the water of life, e.g., blood throughout the body. The blood is the primary source of oxygen and mineral transport in the body. Therefore, the blood vessels are an integral part of the body’s normal functioning. And unfortunately, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death worldwide.
The main culprit behind this is the deposition of fat and calcium plaque inside the blood vessels. Over time due to poor diet and genetic causes, the cholesterol and calcium build up inside the blood vessels and clog them. This leads to hypertension, damage to the blood vessels walls. And if it persists for a long time, it forms blood clots and thrombus, which can travel to the heart and cause an infarction.
Therefore, hydrogen peroxide’s potency for lowering cholesterol levels can be attributed to reducing the risk of heart attacks and high blood pressure. In such conditions, hydrogen peroxide can be given near the blocked artery. In addition, the oxidative properties of hydrogen peroxide are helpful against dissolving cholesterol and calcium deposits.
3. Cancer and Tumour Management
Tumour and cancer cells are normal cells gone berserk. When a cell loses its orientation and the ability to die, it becomes a tumor. And if it starts to invade other cells and make them lose orientation, it is called a metastatic tumor or cancer.
Reactive oxidation species (ROS) are oxygen radicals that have a solid capability to damage the DNA and induce cytotoxicity. However, when they contact normal cells, they induce apoptosis (cellular death) by oxidizing various enzymes and proteins essential for survival. And this begs the question, can ROS be used to kill tumor cells as well? Can both negatives eliminate each other into a beautiful phenomenon?
The researchers at the British Journal of Cancer think that as well. The evidence was shown by a study conducted on rats with gliomas (a type of cancer). The researchers found out the Reactive Oxidizing Species induced many cytotoxic enzymes like Superoxide Dismutase to induce apoptosis in cancerous cells. And as we already know, hydrogen peroxide is the best tool to deliver oxygen. Hence, the field of treating cancer using oxidizing therapy and hydrogen peroxide is very encouraging, and further research is required.
4. General Infections
Every day our bodies contact hundreds of pathogens. The majority of them are blocked by the skin, hairs, and mucosa present in the nose. However, some of them manage to escape and enter our bodies. Luckily, we have an army of white blood cells ready to fight any pathogen that enters the body.
However, sometimes the bacteria or virus that enters the body overwhelms the body’s defense system and causes diseases. In such cases, external intervention is required to promote immune response and slow down pathogenic growth.
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the best tools to control the growth of bacteria, viruses, and fungi. It has been cited across countless research articles as a potent disinfectant that can be the deadliest of bacteria. Moreover, the effect of hydrogen peroxide is generalized, and its response is as strong against all types of species.
The primary reason why hydrogen peroxide is so effective can be explained by basic biology. The cell walls of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are made up of simple proteins and lipids. And oxygen can oxidize these compounds into amino acids and fatty acids, breaking down the cell wall. Because of the changing nature of cell walls, these organisms cannot survive and die out. Hence, hydrogen peroxide can be readily used to treat infections in the form of oxidizing therapy.
5. Skin Ailments
Skin is the host for countless bacteria and pathogens. It defends the body against hundreds of different organisms, and if it weren’t for skin, we’d get critically ill. In addition, the skin itself has many cleaning mechanisms like macrophages which are responsible for removing bacteria and skin debris.
However, these bacteria overhaul the defensive cells and cause harmful skin diseases. Or sometimes, the dead white blood cells accumulate in the skin in the form of pus-filled zits and acne.
Hydrogen peroxide is especially effective in killing the bacteria and germs present on the skin surface. The greatest evidence for it is the trusty brown bottle in first aid kits at home. Hydrogen peroxide is extensively used to disinfect wounds from bacteria and germs.
And likewise, many ointments and antibacterial lotions use hydrogen peroxide in small amounts to kill bacteria and pathogens from the epidermis. The best part about using hydrogen peroxide is it’s also effective in skin ailments caused by fungi. Unfortunately, that’s not something all disinfectants can acclaim!
6. Lung Clearance
Like skin, lungs also inhale hundreds of pathogens every day. Although the nasal hairs and mucosa block 99% of these organisms, some escape into the alveolar walls.
Inside lungs, they can cause deadly diseases like pneumonia and bronchitis. But hydrogen peroxide can come to your rescue!
Hydrogen peroxide can be given in the form of inhalers if an acute pulmonary infection is suspected. Moreover, hydrogen peroxide has also shown efficacy against the novel coronavirus, which is discussed more in detail below.
Hydrogen Peroxide Oxidative Therapy and the Coronavirus – All You Need to Know
After the advent of COVID-19, the world has become a changed place. Not only has it shaken the healthcare system of the world altogether, but it also had detrimental socioeconomic consequences. Even a year later, there is not a universal treatment for COVID-19. Most of the therapies revolve around vaccinations and remedies
And this begs the question, how effective is hydrogen peroxide in treating patients with coronavirus? Is it a fortunate fluke, or does hydrogen peroxide have the potential to become a treatment for the novel coronavirus? Here is what the research has to say:
Hydrogen peroxide has successfully emerged as an effective disinfectant against the COVID-19. But how does it work against bodily infections?
Recent studies conducted in Mexico and Brazil have shown hydrogen peroxide as adjuvant therapy for COVID-19 patients. The 23 infected patients under observation healed from the COVID-19 virus relatively quickly when they were given oxidative therapies of hydrogen peroxide in the form of nasal sprays and mouthwashes. Moreover, the 28 caretakers who were also given a similar therapy did not show any signs and symptoms of the COVID-19 virus! Thus, this study points to the fact that the oxidative properties of hydrogen peroxide are helpful against bodily infections.
However, other substantial evidence for hydrogen peroxide shows it to be a successful treatment plan for COVID-19.
Considering all the compiled evidence, we have safely said that hydrogen peroxide is completely safe as an oxidative therapy for COVID-19 patients. However, further research is required, which can mark it as a final treatment plan for the novel coronavirus.
One of the significant benefits of using hydrogen peroxide over other disinfectants and chemicals is its organic nature.
When compared to other bleaching agents like bleach and ammonia, hydrogen peroxide is a lot more safe and easy on the skin. That’s because hydrogen peroxide is pretty much made up of water. And after disassociation, it forms harmless water and oxygen, unlike bleach that liberates chlorine.
Another great benefit of using hydrogen peroxide is the ease of use and its price. Hydrogen peroxide is commonly available, so much so that it’s present in almost every household all first-aid kits. That’s because it’s easy on the wallet and saves you a lot of time and energy!
The same goes for coronavirus therapy. Hydrogen peroxide can be used easily to treat COVID-19 patients in the form of mouthwashes and nasal sprays.
How to Use
The procedure to use hydrogen peroxide is pretty much the same as the one mentioned in the oxidative therapy section. The most common routes of hydrogen peroxide are nasal sprays, mouthwashes, and ingestion.
You can disinfect your fruits, vegetables, clothes, and kitchen/bathroom surfaces from COVID-19 with a simple 3% hydrogen peroxide solution. All you have to do is pour down hydrogen peroxide, wait 5-10 minutes and wash it all off with regular water and a cloth.
Moreover, you should be mindful of using the concentration of hydrogen peroxide for the body. While ingesting, the hydrogen peroxide concentration should not exceed 1%. For nasal sprays, the concentration of hydrogen peroxide should be even at a lower threshold of 0.5%. However, for mouthwashes, you can safely use the 3% hydrogen peroxide in diluted form.
Essential Safety Precautions
With great power comes great responsibility! Although hydrogen peroxide is pretty safe to use, inattentiveness can result in excessive exposure.
The single best advice is the watch out for the concentration of hydrogen peroxide you are using. Do not buy hydrogen peroxide that’s higher than 3% concentrated, and certainly not use it for your body!
If you have to contact the hydrogen peroxide for more extended periods directly, wear gloves. Although hydrogen peroxide is used to clean wounds, more prolonged exposure to chemicals may irritate the skin. Therefore, you should aim for the maximal contact of 5-10 minutes.
Avoid the contact of hydrogen peroxide with the eyes. Although you can ingest hydrogen peroxide safely at lower concentrations, at 3% or more, hydrogen peroxide is known to irritate mucosal surfaces. This means it can irritate the eyes, the mucus of the nose and cause respiratory distress if inhaled at higher than average concentrations!
One last piece of advice is to always check the expiration date on the hydrogen peroxide bottle. If the bottle is not opened, it can last up to 3 years. However, this period dramatically decreases to 6 months if the bottle is opened and comes into contact with the atmosphere. You can check for the expiration of hydrogen peroxide by pouring some of it down the sink. Sinks contain enough organic matter to cause bubbling. Hence, if such bubbling is not seen, chances are your bottle of hydrogen peroxide may have expired.
Oxidation therapy is an effective procedure to treat various ailments that has a history as its witness. For example, since the 17th Century, it has been used to treat tuberculosis and pneumonia. In recent times, oxidative therapy has also shown effectiveness against the novel coronavirus.
Hydrogen peroxide is one of the safest and easiest ways you can give an oxidative therapy. Not only is it cost-effective, but it can be performed at home with little or no hassles. It can be given intravenously, as a mouthwash, or as a nasal spray. All of these are safe, according to the research.
Therefore, it is safe to say hydrogen peroxide therapy is a domain worth trying. So grab your set of hydrogen peroxide bottles today!