Miracle Mineral Supplement is also known as MMS, by its chemical name Sodium Chlorite (NaClO2), and as ‘that bleach thing’ by those who have heard about it but are still skeptical, and ‘the drops’ by many of those in the process of using it with their own families. It is part of the Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism Protocol and recently has been used by a few of my friends, with varying degrees of effectiveness.
I have heard of it before, as when you have a child diagnosed with autism and are active in natural communities, you get hundreds of ‘miracle’ suggestions. I usually prioritize food and dietary changes, or supplements that I recognize (like amino acids and folate) over other supplements. So this hadn’t been a priority for me until my friends started using it and were seeing results.
Results can usually prompt me to look into something more. These were my questions, and the answers that I found.
Is it a mineral?
Minerals are naturally occurring, are inorganic (do not contain carbon), are solid, has a fixed chemical structure, and is crystallized in structure. (source)
Some common substances that are all minerals:
- Table salt
So, yes, sodium chlorite is a mineral. But that doesn’t always mean that just because it is a mineral and is natural it is healthy to ingest.
Is it bleach?
Chlorine bleach, like Clorox, is sodium hypochlorite, or NaOCl. It is made up of one sodium, one oxygen, and one chlorine atom.
MMR is sodium chlorite, or NaClO2. It is made up of one sodium, one chlorine, and TWO oxygen atoms.
Yes, that second oxygen atom completely changes the properties. H2O is water and is made up of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. H2O2 is hydrogen peroxide and is made up of two hydrogen atoms and two oxygen atoms and has very different properties than water.
Sodium chlorite and chlorine dioxide both differ from bleach – so no, it is not bleach.
Sodium Chlorite to Chlorine Dioxide
Sodium chlorite is combined with an acid of some sort (usually citric acid or hydrochloric acid) to make chlorine dioxide, ClO2. This form still is very different than the well-known bleach, but it also is used as a disinfectant. It is used to clean swimming pools and for water treatment.
Since we are concerned about antibiotics and antimicrobial agents wiping out the good gut flora including good bacteria and good yeasts, in our digestive system and on our body, it makes sense to double and triple check before we consume something known to ‘disinfect’ or ‘sanitize’.
I’m especially concerned about the effect on our immune system and gut flora. I believe that a lot of problems that we have are due to overuse of antibiotics – I know that I was on antibiotics often as a child, and yes, they did appear to help. They did get rid of infections caused by bacteria, just as MMS would. But I also believe that they caused my gut flora to be altered and long-term problems, including passing down poor gut flora to my children (read about the gut flora/autism connection here).
“Chlorine dioxide is a broad-based biocide that kills spores, bacteria, viruses, and fungi. To date no organism tested against ClO2 has proved resistant.” (source)
Another blogger has similar concerns, “So basically chlorine dioxide behaves like a completely indiscriminate antibiotic in the gut. The side effects of nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhoea etc. you can get as you increase the dose of MMS are consistent with this as they are the same side effects you can get with antibiotics. These symptoms of sickness aren’t a sign of any “detox”, they’re a sign that you’re disrupting your gut flora (and with chlorine dioxide, possibly the cells of your stomach lining themselves too). One potential effect then is, as with antibiotics, to disrupt your immune system (particularly in young children, where it’s not been fully developed) and leave you open to further infection. “
And this is antibacterial. So is it safe?
Conventionally, chlorine dioxide is beginning to be on the market for malaria, Ebola, and food pathogens, and is being distributed by a group that is owned by Johnson and Johnson (source). Johnson and Johnson has a prior history of marketing and selling products that they knew harmed their customers (source).
Developed in a military lab, for use especially in places that do not have power, the military industry teamed with private industry to make this available to the public. (source)
It has been used to treat Ebola, malaria, and disinfect Anthrax contamination. It is also used in Ethanol production, to clean the tanks. (source)
The environmental working group classifies sodium chlorite as a low risk additive to mouth wash (source).
Claims From Alternative Users
Chlorine dioxide is different than chlorine, most notable differences are noted here.
- Chlorine Dioxide acts only by oxidation. Chlorine will combine to produce harmful Chlorinated by-products, e.g. Chlorinated phenols, THM’s, Dioxins etc. Many of these by-products are recognised carcinogens.
- Chlorine has been found to be ineffective against complex organisms, e.g. cysts and protozoa. Chlorine Dioxide has been found to be effective against a wide range of organisms.
- Chlorine does not remove Biofilm. Chlorine Dioxide Does.
- Chlorine is corrosive, Chlorine Dioxide is not.
For cleaning things such as public water systems, sanitizing medical equipment, and possibly treating antibiotic-resistant bacteria, I would agree that chlorine dioxide would be a better choice than chlorine.
But then we get to some more claims about how chlorine dioxide works that I would like to look into more.
Chlorine dioxide is said to differentiate between pathogens and beneficial bacteria.
There are differences between pathogens and beneficial bacteria. In the first place:
• Pathogens create a waste material that is poisonous to the body.
• Beneficial bacteria do not generate any poisonous material.
All organisms and body cells have an ORP (Oxidation Reduction Potential) that can be either positive or negative. The ORP is the electrical charge that cells exert on other things in their immediate environment. Oxidizers (i.e. chlorine dioxide) also have an ORP, mostly called Oxidation Potential, and all oxidizers have a positive potential.
• All pathogens (poison producers) have a negative ORP.
• All beneficial bacteria have a positive ORP.
Positive charges repel one another. Thus the chlorine dioxide never touches the beneficial bacteria and thus the beneficial bacteria are not destroyed. On the other hand, pathogens have a negative ORP. Remember the rule that opposite charges attract one another. Thus the pathogens are attracted to the oxygen and are destroyed instantly. [emphasis mine]
The bolded statement above would make this a fantastic substance, but I was unable to find proof that it would leave the good gut flora intact.
Based on what I understand about gut flora, at times there are bacteria that normally inhabit the gastrointestional system, but we get pathogenic (sickness) effects when there is an overgrowth. Staph aureus is an example of this kind of bacteria, that is normal, helpful, and can be pathogenic if there is an overgrowth. (source)
Oxygen Reduction Potential
I’m not completely sure what they are talking about here, but I think they are saying that pathogenic bacteria are destroyed by oxygen, which would be produced when chlorine dioxide reacts in the body. But not all pathogenic bacteria are anaerobic, and not all beneficial are aerobic. (source)
As an oxidizer chlorine dioxide is very selective. It has this ability due to unique one-electron exchange mechanisms. Chlorine dioxide attacks the electron-rich centers of organic molecules. One electron is transferred and chlorine dioxide is reduced to chlorite (ClO2– ). (source)
The protocol includes both the dietary (gluten/casein/soy free, and then SCD if that doesn’t work) interventions, along with the homemade chlorine dioxide.
As part of this protocol, the gut flora would be wiped out or at least some killed off by the drops, By switching to the Specific Carbohydrate Diet we would be continuing to not feed the bacteria down lower in the GI tract, hopefully allowing a better colony to establish in the gut than was present before.
Read more: What is the GAPS Diet (it’s based on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet)
This could be helpful if the body has a really pathogenic gut flora ecology. Kind of a clean slate, and the chlorine dioxide is able to target things like MRSA and worms that other antibiotics can’t. But it could also come at a cost, as the gut flora is an important part of the immune and digestive system, and disrupting it could potentially cause problems for life. This is why we try to avoid use of unnecessary antibiotics.
I personally would not use chlorine dioxide in my own family. I have concerns about it disrupting normal gut flora. It is true that antibiotic use can look like a ‘cure’ or even a ‘miracle’, which is why many of our parents in the 70s and 80s and even parents in the present will present to the doctor requesting antibiotics.
In my own history, I had frequent antibiotic use during childhood for infections (which were food allergy-related and I later was able to heal) and I believe it had long-term affects not only on myself but also on my children, who I passed gut flora to.
I would consider chlorine dioxide in the case of MRSA or another extreme infection, including a parasite infection. To me, it feels like a powerful high-spectrum antibiotic and I am not sure I want to risk potential unknown health effects with my family for our now-minimal symptoms that are cleared up by eating grain-free.
I have no doubt that it has ‘cured the symptoms of autism’ in the past, as it does wipe out the gut flora and parasites like worms, and it would do as any broad-spectrum antibiotic would do (though it appears that chlorine dioxide can also wipe out cysts, and worms and fungi, which many common antibiotics have trouble reaching.) It also would have the benefit of killing parasites, which are thought to be the cause of some autism. But I believe that this comes with a risk, and it may wipe out the gut flora of some patients in a way that would trigger an autoimmune disease, digestive problems, or more, and it’s not a risk I am willing to take.
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Opponents of chlorine dioxide internal use have already gone to the trouble of testing CD in yogurt culture and found that CD will indeed kill these beneficial bacteria if used in strong enough concentration. This is not at all surprising, as companies, such as Clordisys, have not found any organism that CD cannot kill. If there is something to the molecular charge effect (i.e. the repelling of same charged microbes) it would only be in effect in very diluted CD situations. This diluted situation might very well be what would be in effect by the time CD reaches the small and large intestine, but this would be difficult to test. CD is a very effective anti-microbial, even in low and safe dilutions. The protocol described in the book “Healing the symptoms known as Autism” includes the use of probiotics, in order to ensure that after harmful microbes, viruses and parasites are killed by CD, that the fertile terrain in the gut is subsequently repopulated with desired gut flora.
In cases of autism, gut health issues are common. CD use is about restoring proper balance in our microbiome. CD has been the major thing that has made such a difference in those who have enjoyed success in recovering from the symptoms of autism. Establishing gut health improves mental health. We are not dealing with a healthy mix of gut flora to begin with in these cases, which is one reason that CD can be so beneficial. Also foundational to success is a diet that does not promote the regrowth of unhealthy gut flora and/or parasites. Diet is stressed in the book as key to success as well.
CD use alone, without the reintroduction of healthy gut flora (and a diet that will support their thriving) might indeed be subject to the concerns that you have raised. However. the success enjoyed with rapid recovery from autism symptoms, by so many thousands of families around the world, along with the improved physical health that causes these improvements, suggests that any negative effects of such long-term CD use, are being adequately mitigated by the rest of the protocol described in the book.
Although there is some similarity to antibiotics in how CD kills bacteria and does not harm human cells (due to the cell walls of bacteria differing from human cell membranes) CD is consistently considered by experts to be impossible for bacteria to develop resistance to, as CD directly oxidizes crucial proteins in bacterial cell walls. Frontier Pharmaceutical has some photos of these effects and some good documentation describing this process on their website.
One topic that you touched on is oxidation strength vs. oxidation capacity. Oxidation occurs when electrons are transferred to the oxidant (such as chlorine dioxide, hydrogen peroxide, ozone, etc.) and is not as much about oxygen as the word sounds. CD has a very weak oxidation strength (expressed in voltage 0.95V) compared to other popular oxidants (i.e. it is gentle). However CD can take up 5 electrons (i.e. it is thorough) before it is reduced to the chloride ion, which is a basic ion in metabolism. During its reduction, CD does not chlorinate organic matter, which is another reason why it is so safe. This means it does not transfer the chlorine atom to create carcinogenic compounds, as you have noted.
Thank you for this comment! I know there is more that I need to research to completely understand it, I do believe it’s powerful, and if we were just starting our autism recovery (we no longer carry the autism diagnosis) I might be more inclined to try it. Where we’re at now, I’m concerned that it would disrupt our gut flora.
There are two more things about the HTSKAA protocol that I’m concerned about – most of the people that I know doing CD are doing it without the dietary protocol, or they are just doing GF/CF/SF (ie, they are having gluten free pizza without cheese often). If we’re eating the standard American Diet but taking these drops, which on the website are said to ‘leave the good bacteria alone because of the charge’, I think that they are setting themselves up for establishing poor gut flora again.
Second, I’m not sure the people doing the protocol understand how important probiotics are.
When I have more time I will update the article with more information on oxidation capacity – I need to look it up for myself though.
Yes, in my family, we have found that eating carbs has more of a noticeable detrimental affect on autism symptoms than any of the standard food types that are often restricted when dealing with autism. We do better the more closely we follow the Rosedale Diet, which is very low carb, high good fat and only moderate/necessary protein. Many others have also noted additional benefits following a low-carb, high-fat diet. As you say, there is no point feeding the type of microbes which we are trying to eliminate or limit.
I am impressed with your thorough investigation of the topic of CD use. Your concerns are valid and should be addressed to your satisfaction. I believe that it is a parental responsibility to thoroughly research and implement what is best for the health and well-being of our children.
The use of chlorine dioxide has helped my step-son dramatically recover from autism symptoms, particularly over the first 9 months of use in 2013-14. Using the ATEC (from ARI / autism.com) to evaluate his progress, he improved from a score of 53 to a score of 5 in 9 months (age 16-17 at that time). He still is drinking some CD each day, for 3 years now, as he feels it is helpful to how he feels. At the end of 2014 we traveled for 9 weeks without CD and his symptoms worsened by about 19 ATEC points without it. Returning to CD use provided him rapid improvement again. This suggests that we were unable to control the regrowth of pathogenic microbes (or parasites?) without CD. Diet while traveling was not ideal. He always takes an enteric-coated probiotic each day. He will be 20 years old this Fall.
You may be interested in the paper by Drs. Bradstreet, Ruggiero and Pacini, relevant to the newly discovered pathway that allows gut microbes to travel in and out of the brain. This provides even greater understanding of the importance of maintaining a healthy microbiome in the gut. Here is a link to a Fabebook post about this:
Thank you :) I research this for my readers, I have a lot of parents with special needs children that don’t have time to research everything for themselves, so if I’m looking it up for my family I try to post it here so others can benefit :)
Sorry, Cara, but it’s a bleach in my book. It spilled in my brown cotton purse and bleached a large totally white spot on it. Had to thrown the purse out.
Right- there are other things that will bleach (lighten in color) than Clorox, but the stuff that Clorox is made with, and what most swimming pools are treated with is different in chemical composition than this is. But just because it’s not what we normally call bleach doesn’t mean it’s good to ingest.
By the way, thank you so much for this posting! I have been hearing about MMS for years. Even attended a training by a local practitioner who regularly uses it for her malaria patients at her clinic in Africa near Lake Victoria, in addition to a number of other viral and bacterial diseases. However, when the only explanation she – or anyone – could give me about its effect on the microbiome was that it “only destroys the pathological strains” when no one could explain how in the heck a bacteria-killing chemical could possibly distinguish a probiotic bacteria from a deadly one… I decided to wait and see. Oh and then the icing on the cake was when it bleached my purse (see above). EXCELLENT POST!!!
I do think it’s okay to use as a last resort, but it is an antibiotic, and as with any antibiotic caution does need to be used!
I always look forward to your blogs and am thankful for your outreach to families, for your recipes and your research on the gut. Your website is one of many that I have listed as a resource on my little website/blog. I am a fellow “Autism mom”; we have been through DAN! protocols and are currently working with an international clinic for the development of children (happens to have the highest WeeFIM rating nationwide, 34% higher success rate with Autism). We have not yet attempted GAPS, but it could be on our list in the future. I respect those that attempt GAPS – it is hard work. I was a little surprised at the subject matter at this particular blog, but that’s what we bloggers do – we hit the bigger issues.
Regarding CD, many people forget that the CD protocol almost always leads up to and is used in conjunction with Dr. Andreas Kalcker’s parasite protocol. As of today, more than 200 children worldwide now have an ATEC score of 10 or less – simply meaning that they have lost their diagnosis – due to this protocol. CD is very specific in targeting pathogens, which is why a few children have recovered with just the use of this substance alone. A former doctor of mine (holistic physician) was using the protocol on her non-verbal son, and there are clinics which do employ its use for children on the spectrum. It has also been used successfully by adults for a myriad of other health issues. It is in fact the active ingredient in a spray for canine teeth.
As with everything, care must be taken. I have a friend who had been doing GAPS with her son; she indicated that he had lost 60 pounds (and it showed because he was rather underweight). She also informed me that some people end up in the hospital on GAPS.. I’m assuming that they did not have guidance or their bodies perhaps responded differently to it. Whatever the case, anything can take a wrong turn if not applied correctly. As for CD, I’ve spilled it on many things and never observed corrosion or discoloration of any sort.
Yes, the protocol needs time and research, however, the vehement reactions from so many others does not help those that have had great success and recovery with the use of it. We already have conventional medicine laughing at alternative physicians who are healing our children with diet and homeopathy.
Thank you, and I look forward to your next blog.
Thank you for your comment! I hope you don’t think I was criticizing the protocol, I am quite sure that it’s helped recover children on the spectrum (I have seen it help people that I know too). It’s trending in certain parts of the natural health community, so I wanted to look into it. Honestly, I have a similar article about GAPS– it’s not for everyone, and there are things to watch for. I want people to be informed, and I’m providing my opinion, that’s all :)
My apologies for being so vague – what I meant to imply was that there are many critics out there that have not done their research who vehemently oppose this protocol, but I did not mean to include you. I realize that CD is not for everyone (how could it be?), and that GAPS has helped hundreds of thousands – if not more – worldwide with everything from schizophrenia to eczema. I respect your diligent research on the variety of topics that you covered in the past; they are so beneficial to others. I hope you continue to use your talents to educate others as we are living in times where most people are unfamiliar with true health.
Thanks Julia :) Health can be an emotional topic, so I expect a certain amount of backlash to anything that I post. Thanks for the encouragement to continue :)
Cara, Glad you did your own research. I know many who have used CD and after the child recovers they are still looking at many problems. And of course they never talk about the child that regressed into self injurious behavior due to CD, or the child whose teeth got destroyed from it, or the child who develops air hunger from oxidized iron………..etc etc. As with ALL antibiotics they can be a miracle and also a harmful substance.
Yes, and I think that’s what I was trying to say with the article – if we gave everyone a shot of a high power antibiotic, some miracles would happen, and a lot of harm too. I’ve heard of SI with CD, but there is a tendency with ANY protocol to not talk much about the people it didn’t work for, and keep promoting who it did work for.
I have to say, I am disenchanted with GAPS fans who blog about chlorine dioxide I the same breath that they admit they need to research it further. It is okay to NOT blog on something you have neither used extensively or understand completely. Also, DrNCM has proven to be wrong-wrong-wrong on the subject of being ” okay” with delayed vaccines and tolerating conventional meats, dairy or plant products when a person’s budget is suffering. In my opinion, she has taken this high road stance to ensure she wouldn’t meet with too much resistance to her professional credentials. SCD & GAPS are both powerful healing tools, but if that is the only science you really know, do the just-beginning-to-learn readers a favor, and refrain yourself from blogging about what you don’t. Attempting to pass yourself off as a reference source by referring to a few molecular chemistry examples does not equate to expertise. And your readers would be foolish to think you have enough direct experience with the subject to opine on it.
You use your blog to support your ” test” kitchen. Add 2-3 drops of active cd to a freshly started jar of cabbage sauerkraut … Check in eight week … And fine-tune your ” science” . I’ m assuming you can write off the expenses, success or failure ensuing.
You are free to disagree with me, and if you choose not to read any more that of course if your choice. The entire blog is my opinion- about CD, about vaccinations, about the GAPS diet, and everything else. I don’t intend for it to be read as anything other than an opinion.
There is another mom who already did a CD/milk kefir trial, and it showed that it killed the milk kefir. I don’t personally feel the need to re-create this trial unless there is new evidence for CD only killing the bad bacteria.
“It is true that antibiotic use can look like a ‘cure’ or even a ‘miracle’, which is why many of our parents in the 70s and 80s and even parents in the present will present to the doctor requesting antibiotics.”
I recently heard a doctor (David Dornfield, I think) say that one reason autism symptoms seem cured when antibiotics are taken is that those cases were actually those with underlying undiagnosed lyme disease, or lyme induced autism.
Since autism is essentially just a collection of symptoms, it would make sense that this could be one of the causes. I believe there are more bacterial causes than just Lyme though (and other causes that are not bacteria-related are a possibility as well).
Chlorine Dioxide isn’t an invention of the military, although they do hold a patent on a form to activate it using portable, premeasured tablets, versus the drops-to-be-mixed form that most campers would be familiar with. I am wondering if that influenced your take on the matter ( military device) and if you would encourage armed forces not to use it as a personal water disinfectant or emergency anti microbial in low technology settings?
Anyway, my reading points to Sir Humphry Davy being the earliest chemist to work with chlorine dioxide and he did so in the early 1800’s. This short timeline shows some history that matches up with most that I have had time to read: http://www.performacide.com/the-history. Davy also worked with isolating iodine which of course can be in a powerful metallic state or diluted in water where it is also beneficial within the human body. Important to keep things in context and proportion when discussing safe vs. unsafe.
Oh- I didn’t mean to imply that it’s an invention of the military, I’m sure it was around well before that. This article isn’t about the water disinfectant- I believe that it is a great way to make contaminated water safe to drink. After doing this research on it I did actually purchase it for this use (water purification while camping/backpacking/emergencies).
The part that I disagree with is the protocol outlined in Healing the Symptoms Known as Autism, which advocates consuming an increasing amount of chlorine dioxide- much more than is needed to purify water. I wanted to look into the protocol to see if it was something our family would benefit from, and I decided that it’s not a protocol that I want to try in our family.
Keep up the good work Cara, you are my go to person for an ‘informed parent’ perspective on family issues related to autism. this is based largely on your personal experiences and willingness to explore all avenues of coping but with a fair, responsible and disciplined standard of evaluation that I would use if I were evaluating treatment protocols. Thank you so much for what you do and the way that you do it.
CD has been proven to be highly selective at destroying negatively charged pathogens.
An hour or two of exposure to positively charged gut flora (good bacteria) has an overall positive effect, whereas long term exposure will have a detrimental effect such as has been demonstrated on cheese cultures, sauerkraut and yogurt in a petri dish for example.
This is not surprising as it represent a closed environment in which good flora cannot multiply and flourish.