‘Miracle’ remedy won’t cure autism or HIV: It’s bleach and may kill you, FDA warns

Federal health experts are warning against a remedy for autism, HIV and cancer that is ineffective and dangerous, citing a “recent rise in reported health issues.”

Mixing the social media-promoted solution and swallowing the resulting concoction is the same as drinking “a dangerous bleach” that can cause life-threatening side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warned in a news release Monday, emphasizing that FDA regulators have not approved the use of the product.

The FDA said it’s marketed as “Miracle or Master Mineral Solution, Miracle Mineral Supplement, MMS, Chlorine Dioxide (CD) Protocol (or) Water Purification Solution (WPS).” The FDA has been warning about the dangers of those solutions since 2010.

The products have been advertised “as a remedy for treating autism, cancer, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and flu, among other conditions,” according to the FDA.

“Miracle Mineral Solution and similar products are not FDA-approved, and ingesting these products is the same as drinking bleach,” Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Ned Sharpless said in a statement. “Consumers should not use these products, and parents should not give these products to their children for any reason.”

Federal health regulators said that websites offering the product characterize it “as a liquid that is 28 percent sodium chlorite in distilled water. Product directions instruct consumers to mix the sodium chlorite solution with citric acid — such as lemon or lime juice — or another acid before drinking. In many instances, the sodium chlorite is sold with a citric acid ‘activator.’ When the acid is added, the mixture becomes chlorine dioxide, a powerful bleaching agent.”

The FDA alert comes after new reports of people with severe diarrhea, dangerously low blood pressure, severe vomiting, dehydration and liver failure after drinking the dangerous remedy, according to the agency. Health regulators advised that anyone who has ingested the product and experienced harmful side effects see a doctor.

Dr. Charles Lee, an FDA expert, said in an earlier warning from the health agency that chemicals included in the remedy “are the active ingredients in disinfectants, and they have many other industrial uses.”

The product has appeared in the U.S. and abroad, and videos promoting the “miracle” cure have been viewed millions of times on YouTube, Business Insider reports.

One Kansas mother shared social media posts about how she was feeding a version of the remedy to her adult sons to cure their autism, NBC reported. And in July, The Guardian reported that a British man was charged with giving the liquid remedy to poor villagers in Uganda as a cure for cancer, malaria or HIV — with the British newspaper reporting that the ‘miracle cure’ was peddled to as many as 50,000 people in the East African country.

Uganda police spokesperson Fred Enanga said the British man and three Ugandans “were charged with carrying out illegal clinical trials and supplying of impure drugs,” according to The Guardian.

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Jared Gilmour is a McClatchy national reporter based in San Francisco. He covers everything from health and science to politics and crime. He studied journalism at Northwestern University and grew up in North Dakota.