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Internal use of hydrogen peroxide clarified.

COUNTRYSIDE: I agree with the usefulness of hydrogen peroxide as described in Becky Ransey's article in the January/February 2006 issue with one general and one specific qualification. The regular drug store version of hydrogen peroxide that comes in the brown bottle of different sizes is not for internal use. It can contain impurities that over time can adversely affect a frequent user's immune system. Since anything applied to the skin and especially the mucous membranes is readily absorbed into the blood stream, the definition of internal use must include topical application. The cleaning of food preparation surfaces likewise cannot be recommended. Personally, I wouldn't use it on my pets or other animals, either, except perhaps in a one-time situation if no alternative were available.

The alternative is food grade hydrogen peroxide, which is available in 35% strength only and absolutely must be diluted. If ingested full strength it could kill, which is why it is sometimes somewhat difficult to obtain. Some years ago most health food stores used to carry it, but now one has to look for it. There are Internet sources as well. In any event, food grade hydrogen peroxide is the only version I personally would use, in spite of its significantly higher cost, except perhaps to clean the floors or bathroom.

The specific qualification concerns the prolonged treatment of yeast infections with hydrogen peroxide. To treat an occasional outbreak is probably okay, but use the food grade version. Recurring outbreaks usually are indicative of a systemic yeast infection, or candidiasis, and while the hydrogen peroxide will temporarily clear up a vaginal outbreak, it can't cure the underlying systemic infection, which actually is a serious health problem. All of us carry the candida fungus, but as long as we are in good health it remains confined to the digestive tract. There it is kept in check by a healthy intestinal flora. It is when we lose the beneficial bacteria that make up a healthy intestinal flora that candida (along with other damaging organisms) can expand and eventually take over to the extent where it leaves the intestinal tract and moves into the blood stream, from where it is free to reach most any organ in the body. Thus the vaginal yeast infection is just a symptom of a much more serious underlying condition, which really needs to be treated and cured if further problems are to be avoided and good health is the goal. (Another frequent sign of candidiasis is toenail fungus that won't respond to treatment).

One really needs to find a good alternative health care provider to deal with this problem since there is no magic pill conventional medicine can offer. Diflucan, which is usually prescribed, is highly toxic to the liver, in the case of systemic infection has to be taken for many months, and may not provide a permanent cure. A change in eating habits, at least temporarily, is required, with elimination of sugar (and all sweets), refined flour and flour products, and a general reduction of grains. Large doses of probiotics are needed to reestablish a healthy intestinal flora, though not all are equally effective. Better is the consumption of home fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut (raw) etc., and this should be continued as a habit.

It is not my intention to offer a course of treatment here, but rather to point out that frequent yeast infections are likely to have a more serious underlying cause that should be attended to, and to describe some of the processes involved in its development and possible treatment. If an alternative health care provider is not readily available, a search of the Internet under candida or candidiasis will no doubt provide a wealth of information. But it is well to remember to be selective and to use judgment.
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Title Annotation:Country conversation & feedback
Author:Ablieter, Leonard
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Article Type:Letter to the editor
Date:May 1, 2006
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