Hydrogen Peroxide H2O2 benefit and side effects, practical suggestions on used and review of oral, internal use
August 23 2018 by
Ray Sahelian, M.D.

Hydrogen peroxide is a clear liquid with strong oxidizing properties and is a powerful bleaching agent that has found use as a disinfectant, as an oxidizer, and in rocketry and in bipropellant systems. It is helpful in reducing the risk of gingivitis, gum disease, and to help whiten teeth.


Drinking hydrogen peroxide 
Q. I read your articles and I follow your tips. That are helpful. For the past 2 years I have been administering myself with just a small dose of hydrogen peroxide. Is it really a miracle?
   A. I have looked on Medline for studies on the benefit of this substance when ingested orally and I can't seem to find any that have tested it in humans and it affects the health of the body. There is a risk to ingestion. It does seem to be helpful in gum and tooth health.


J Appl Oral Sci. 2015. Effects on gastric mucosa induced by dental bleaching--an experimental study with 6% hydrogen peroxide in rats. There are several techniques for tooth whitening, the most used one being the external bleaching. The present study analysed the systemic effect of these products when they are swallowed. This experimental study aimed to observe the effects of a tooth whitening product, whose active agent is 6% hydrogen peroxide, on the gastric mucosa of healthy and non-tumour gastric pathology animals. Fifty rats were used and then distributed into 5 groups, one for control and four test groups in which the bleaching product was administered in animals with and without non-tumour gastric pathology (induced by the administration of 1 sample of 50% ethanol and 5% of drinking water during 6 days) at different times of study by gavage. There was a decrease in body weight in animals of groups handled during the study period, which was most pronounced in IV and VA groups. Changes in spleen weight relative to body weight revealed no statistically significant changes. The gastric mucosa revealed lesions in all manipulated groups, being more frequent in groups III and IV. It appears that there is a synergism when using hydrogen peroxide and 50% ethanol in the same group. There are some signs of toxicity 3 to 4 days after administration of 6% hydrogen peroxide. The prescription of these therapies must be controlled by the clinician and the risks must be minimized.


Drinking or injecting high-strength hydrogen peroxide products sold online to treat serious diseases such as AIDS can be harmful. The "35 percent food grade hydrogen peroxide" products are highly corrosive and ingesting them could cause stomach irritation and ulcers, gastrointestinal erosion, and perforation. Injecting the products intravenously could lead to blood vessel inflammation, bubbles in blood vessels and potentially life-threatening allergic reactions. The FDA has not approved 35 percent hydrogen peroxide for any use. The agency sent warnings to two Texas-based firms, DFWX and Frad 35 Inc., in which the agency said the firms were illegally selling 35 percent hydrogen peroxide products to treat AIDS, cancer, emphysema and other serious diseases.


Review article
Methods Enzymol. 2013. The biological chemistry of hydrogen peroxide. Hydrogen peroxide is generated in numerous biological processes and is implicated as the main transmitter of redox signals. Although a strong oxidant, high activation energy barriers make it unreactive with most biological molecules. It reacts directly with thiols, but for low-molecular-weight thiols and cysteine residues in most proteins, the reaction is slow. The most favored reactions of hydrogen peroxide are with transition metal centers, selenoproteins, and selected thiol proteins. These include proteins such as catalase, glutathione peroxidases, and peroxiredoxins, which, as well as providing antioxidant defense, are increasingly being considered as targets for signal transmission. This overview describes the main biological reactions of hydrogen peroxide and takes a kinetic approach to identifying likely targets in the cell. It also considers diffusion of hydrogen peroxide and constraints to its acting at localized sites.


Testimonial on danger and side effects received by email in 2017
I noticed other comments on your website about taking H2O2, 35% food grade, diluted in distilled water. The One-Minute Cure makes it seem like its no big deal. I took a couple drops for 6 weeks trying to get rid of candida, chronic fatigue. I basically was fed-up with leaky gut. I felt good high energy while on H2O2, but when I quit in about 3 weeks my immune system crashed. I have now been sick for 7 weeks with a cold/eye infection and ear infection (worst in my life). I have had bleeding in my ear with a fullness in my ear. Been on 3 different antibiotics, natural meds also, nothing hits it. My inflammatory response in my intestines went sky-high (pain, pain pain), with the need for lots of turmeric, serrapeptase, quercetin. Pulling out of this has been a long process. My sister also took this with me and she wound up in the hospital with a huge loss of blood from her intestines. She was trying to stop cancer, as she was recently diagnosed.


Medical Uses
Acne infection
J Cosmet Sci. 2013. Enzymatically generated hydrogen peroxide reduces the number of acne lesions in acne vulgaris. A major component to the etiology of acne is the growth and invasion by Propionibacterium acnes. Hydrogen peroxide is an excellent antimicrobial agent but is unstable in most formulations. We have developed a hydrogen peroxide generation system using the enzyme glucose oxidase and glucose. This system is stable in a simple formulation and nonirritating. In a short-term clinical study (4 days), this formulation was effective in reducing the individual lesion size and total number of inflammatory acne lesions. There was a 68% reduction in acne-induced inflammation and 61% reduction in acne size within 4 days of treatment. A long-term clinical study (6 weeks in use) displayed 56% reduction in total number of inflamed lesions and a 45% reduction in noninflamed lesions after 6 weeks. This suggests that topical enzymatically generated hydrogen peroxide may help alleviate acne.

MSRA disinfection
Hydrogen peroxide vapor, in combination with decolonization of staff and patient carriers, successfully controlled an outbreak of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus MRSA on a surgical ward that had previously been MRSA-free.

Prostate cancer testimonial
I have been taking 35% Hydrogen Peroxide Food Grade for prostate cancer for 2 years with no affect to my stomach. My Doctor said that I would need an operation which would require me to have a urinary bag. I refused the operation and have since been taking the Hydrogen Peroxide. I started by taking 3 drops three times a day with 2% milk. I increased this to 12 drops once per day. So far with no effect on my health. I am 79 years old and still work 5 days per week.
   A. I do not know enough about the influence of hydrogen peroxide on health or prostate cancer but I will keep my eyes open for such research.


Tooth and gum health, prevention of periodontitis
Am J Dent. 2014. A 6-month clinical investigation of custom tray application of peroxide gel with or without doxycycline as adjuncts to scaling and root planing for treatment of periodontitis. To evaluate the 6-month clinical effects of one scaling and root planing (SRP) procedure alone or combined with local administration of hydrogen peroxide gel (with or without inclusion of doxycycline for 2 weeks) using periodontal medicament carriers in the form of customized prescription trays for treatment of subjects with chronic periodontitis. 61 subjects with moderate to advanced periodontitis were assigned to three parallel treatment groups: 1) SRP combined with prescription-tray (Perio Tray) application of 1.7% hydrogen peroxide gel (Perio Gel) and, for the first 2 weeks, doxycycline, 2) SRP combined with prescription-tray application of peroxide gel, and 3) SRP alone. All subjects brushed twice daily with standard dentifrice and toothbrush for a 4-week acclimation phase, and continued this regimen throughout the 6-month treatment phase. Pocket probing depth (PPD) and bleeding index (BI) were assessed on natural and restored sites at baseline and after 2, 5, 13, and 26 weeks. SRP was performed 3 weeks after baseline. Analysis of pockets > 5 mm at baseline showed that mean PPD for both test groups significantly decreased from baseline approximately 0.50 mm prior to SRP.


Refuat Hapeh Vehashinayim. 2015. Teeth whitening with 6% hydrogen peroxide vs. 35% hydrogen peroxide, a comparative controlled study. In light of the lately changes in regulations regarding teeth whitening in Europe, the use of 6% hydrogen peroxide using a dedicated device becomes the first choice treatment option. The purpose of this controlled, randomized, parallel, blinded six months prospective study was to compare this method of teeth whitening treatment with that of in-office method using 35% hydrogen peroxide. 75 healthy american individuals, ages 18-62, participated in this study. The participants were divided into 3 groups: a 6% hydrogenperoxide group, a 35% hydrogen peroxide group and a placebo control group. Side effects such as oral mucosa irritation, burns or sensitive teeth were mild and resolved without intervention. A high satisfaction level was recorded. Tooth color shade can be substantially improved using a dedicated device with 6% hydrogen peroxide only. This whitening method can be helpful for the dentist in: home continuing treatment post in- office whitening specially in case with severe staining, maintenance of in-office whitening treatment outcomes or as an OTC home whitening procedure for patients with limited budget.


Catalase and hydrogen peroxide

Catalase is an antioxidant enzyme found in living organisms that changes hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen. Hydrogen peroxide is formed as a toxic waste product of metabolism. It must be quickly converted into other, less dangerous, chemicals. To manage this problem, the enzyme catalase is frequently used to rapidly catalyse the decomposition of hydrogen peroxide into harmless oxygen and water.


Questions and comments from readers, testimonials, claims

Q. I got an email from a friend regarding hydrogen peroxide, and I wanted your opinion. This is what is claimed: These are just some of the benefits of that plain little ol' bottle of 3% peroxide you can get for under $1 at any drug store. Hydrogen peroxide is described as an effective anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal. Throughout the world hydrogen peroxide is used instead of chlorine as a safer and eco-friendly municipal water purifier. Some use H2O2 in pools and spas.

1. Take one capful (the little white cap that comes with the bottle) and hold in your mouth for 10 minutes daily, then spit it out. (I do it when I bathe or shower.) No more canker sores and your teeth will be whiter without expensive pastes. Use it instead of mouthwash.
2. Let your toothbrushes soak in a cup of hydrogen peroxide to keep them free of germs.
3. Clean your counters, table tops with hydrogen peroxide to kill germs and leave a fresh smell. Simply put a little on your dishrag when you wipe, or spray it on the counters.
4. After rinsing off your wooden cutting board, pour hydrogen peroxide on it to kill salmonella and other bacteria.
5. I had fungus on my feet for years - until I sprayed a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water on them (especially the toes) every night and let dry.
6. Fill a spray bottle with a 50/50 mixture of hydrogen peroxide and water and keep it in every bathroom to disinfect without harming your septic system like bleach or most other disinfectants will.
7. Put half a bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your bath to help rid boils, fungus, or other skin infections.
8. You can also add a cup of hydrogen peroxide instead of bleach to a load of whites in your laundry to whiten them. If there is blood on clothing, pour directly on the soiled spot. Let it sit for a minute, then rub it and rinse with cold water. Repeat if necessary.
9. I use hydrogen peroxide to clean my mirrors with, there is no smearing, which is why I love it so much for this.
10. Disinfect your dishwasher or refrigerator.
11. Use it on trees and plants as a natural fungicide, insecticide, and as a weed killer.
12. Clean with hydrogen peroxide when your house becomes a biohazard after its invaded by toxic mold, such as those with water damage.

     A. Well, I will give hydrogen peroxide a try to see if the claims are true.


I am finding that by dipping my toothbrush into a container of over the counter h2o2 and then putting toothpaste on the toothbrush and then thoroughly brushing teeth, gums, tongue and roof of mouth, I can introduce it into my body in a safe and pleasant way. Every brushing makes me feel as if I have just had a teeth cleaning.


What are your thoughts on using food grade hydrogen peroxide for getting oxygen in your system.
    A. I have not studied in detail the use of this product ingested orally or internally but I would avoid using large amounts.


This does not lead to high profits, but as a favor to some poor dying cancer patient, you could tell them about hydrogen peroxide therapy that could cure any virus, cancer, aids, even rheumathoid arthritis. The cure is only 100 years old, If you have 35% food grade h2o2, it can be taken in water 5 drops per glass of water, and Increased up to 25 drops, per 8 oz of water. If you can not find pure food grade h2o2. you can take a bath in it, the oxygen will absorb through the skin, you will get an oxygen high. it will nourish the body & kill what does not belong to it.
    I have not seen any scientific evidence that these claims are true.


I have been hearing a good bit on the benefits of 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide, especially for COPD sufferers. Have you researched this? What are your thoughts and or findings, if any? What about ozone therapy?
    I have not looked into the role of this product in terms of its effect on lung function or COPD treatment but I doubt that it would be effective for lung disease.


I have been doing alot of research on inhaling a very diluted hydrogen peroxide mist into the lungs. People are saying that it is an instant COPD cleanse, coughing up cigarette tar almost instantly, and killing bacteria and helping with emphesyma. So far I havent found many results for experiments of this, other than personal testimonies. However, I have discovered some very useful and interesting information. It seems that lungs naturally produce H2O2 for self defense and for signaling of immune responses. This is significantly increased by DUOX-1 in the lungs, and by alveolar macrophages in response to cigarette smoke entering the lung. Catalase is increased in these areas to deal with the free radical concerns of the H2O2. Does this mean that lungs can tolerate H2O2 at a certain strength? Sub-injurious strengths of H2O2 can activate endothelial cells, producing things like Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1, whatever that is. Just the fact the lung can tolerate a level of treatment by outside H2O2 supplements is interesting. Here are titles of articles I came across: DUOX-1, what produces hydrogen peroxide in the lungs, is significantly downregulated by cigarette smoke; Endothelial H2O2 causes vasodilation and cardioprotection; Airway Epithelial Lung Cellular Migration and Wound Repair caused by ATP-mediated Activation of Dual Oxidase 1 (DUOX-1) with H2O2 collecting around the wounds; Endotoxins in lungs stimulate H2O2 production. Please tell me what you think of these articles. People say dont confuse FDA warnings because they talk about using full strength hydrogen peroxide. But the first link clearly states that membrane tissue can tolerate a low diluted level of H2O2 without injury.
   HP, as generated within cells, has a different effect than that inhaled into the lungs. I don't think one can extrapolate these studies and related them to HP being inhaled into the lungs.


I came across a book “The One Minute Cure” and it claims that you can help heal your body by taking a few drops of Food Grade Hydrogen Peroxide each day. Have you or anyone you know done any research on this?
   I have not seen such research.


There is a book titled The One Minute Cure which directs gradual ingestion of Food Grade hydrogen peroxide to provide oxygen to the blood and inhibit the growth of disease. Do you support this alternative therapy?
   I have not seen studies about this topic to have an informed opinion.


A friend of mine and I used 35% hydrogen peroxide for a week internally, we mixed several drops of it using a dropper in distilled water and we had to discontinue it because it gave us a burning sensation in our stomach and gave me a tight feeling in my chest, back and neck and made my friend bleed internally and she also have blood clots in her stomach.


I have taken H2O2 internally for a very long time, and it absolutely has many beneficial affects. A friend of mine is a nurse and wanted to know if you could "OD" on it, so she kept increasing the amount she was ingesting until she was up to 300 drops at a time. At that point, she was detecting the presence of H2O2 in her urine, so surmised that her body was passing off what it wasn't using. Her only "side effect" was having so much energy that she stayed awake for 3 days and felt great.


Please amend your post to include a discussion of 3% Food Grade (i.e. no chemical additives or preservatives) Hydrogen Peroxide. I live in Mexico and I study and practice Ozone Therapy and other Oxygen Therapies including Hydrogen Peroxide. This is an extremely important, powerful and healing medicine for detox, boosting the immune system and for oxygenation of the body and oxidizing of harmful compounds.
   I would like to believe this if it is true, but I have not come across any such studies. If you have come across any published clinical trials in humans, I would be glad to review them.


I have taken 35 percent hydrogen perioxide for 2 months with water. However after I stopped taking it my body began a series of reaction. Fluids from my stomach was moving to my head. I have taken aloe vera to calm my stomach. My question is what can I take to get rid of the peroxide in the body.
   I am not aware of any treatment except for time.