the mms zombie rises to shamble once more

I've written about MMS – the "Miracle Mineral Supplement" – several times beforeA (here and here, for example). I guess it's a useful thing to hold up to show how something can clearly be woo – eg claims that it kills/cures practically everythingB under the sun – and yet people still buy the stuff. Buy it, & potentially do real harm using it. Because MMS is essentially bleach: 28% sodium chlorite in distilled water. Those using it typically 'activate' it by mixing it with lemon or orange juice, which gives the strong bleach, chlorine dioxide. And then they drink it, or – even worse – feed it to their children…

Because it's popped up again in this news story, I thought I'd point out the ridiculousness of the claims for how MMS 'works', before weighing in on the story itself. Sad to say, the NZ-based website where I first found those claims is still around today, Quack Miranda warning & all. That site notes that ClO2 is "a proven pathogen killing mineralB used extensively in the hygiene and water treatment industriesC to destroy bacteria, viruses, pathogens and other harmful organisms in water" and helpfully points out that "the human body is 60-70% water". Their implication is that thus it works just as well in the body – in fact, it's not even implied; further down the page they actually say that "you could class the human body as being a 'water system'! As a biologist I'm gobsmacked: there is a world of difference between water treatment and reticulation systems, and the human body.  

Anyway, here's how it's claimed to work: 

When a chlorine dioxide ion contacts a harmful pathogen in a water system, it instantly rips up to five electrons from the pathogen, in what can be likened to a microscopic explosion; harmless to us, but terminal for pathogens. The pathogen – an electron donor – is rendered harmless due to the involuntary surrendering of its electrons to the chlorine dioxide – an electron acceptor – and the resulting release of energy. Oxidised by the chlorine ion, the former pathogen becomes a harmless salt.

Once it encounters various pathogens in water systems, chlorine dioxide performs a highly energetic acceptance of four electrons when it comes across any cell that is below a pH value of 7. This means that diseased cells are essentially vaporised (i.e., oxidised) while healthy cells are unaffected.

Now, ignoring the differences in the number of electrons cruelly ripped from … somewhere… this claim also obviously buys into the nonsense about needing to alkalise one's body (because acid conditions cause disease, donchaknow). It's also wrong: here's the actual mode of action

Compounds within the cells and on the surface of cell membranes that contain oxidisable material react with chlorine dioxide, causing cell metabolism to be disrupted. Chlorine dioxide also reacts directly with disulphide bonds in the amino acids and the RNA in the cell.

That is, ClO2 will attack any oxidisable material on or in any cell; it's not selective in its action. Which is precisely why consuming MMS (either by mouth or rectally; more on that in a minute) has the potential to be quite harmful. 

Anyway, back to the original news story, which tells us that a mother in the US was arrested for feeding MMS to her child – after 'activating' it, not with the usual lemon juice, but with hydrochloric acid. As Orac has noted (reasonably often), in addition to the usual claims that MMS will cure AIDS, malaria, & even cancer, there are also people who promote it as a 'cure' for autism. Worse, not only do they advise that parents of autistic children get them to drink the stuff, they also advocate using it in enemas – apparently in the belief that autism is due to intestinal parasites. Parents who do this often share photos of what they find in their children's faeces – what they're actually seeing is mucus, plus bits of mucosa ie the tissue that lines the gut. (If you want an idea of what the children are subjected to, read this post by one mother. I did – & felt like throwing up. That poor little boy.)

The only words I have for the people selling this stuff are not really printable. 


A Just realised that my first post on this topic was back in 2008. How time flies! A pity the woo doesn't fly away with it. 

B including, supposedly, cancer. The wooster at this site seems to have bought into the pseudoscientific claim that cancer is a form of fungus. 

C Minerals are usually defined as inorganic & crystalline in structure, so I guess the purveyors are right on the inorganic part. Chlorine dioxide, alas, is a gas under normal conditions.

D Sadly for this argument, many things kill pathogens in the petri dish, but fail to do so internally.

5 thoughts on “the mms zombie rises to shamble once more”

  • As I understand it, if the initial “dose” of “activated” MMS doesn’t cure the autism/cancer/infection/fungus/whatever, the recommendation is to double the “dose” – and double it again, and again…
    It’s as though they hadn’t heard the phrase “the dose makes the poison”.
    Any side effects – such as pain, colitis, rectal bleeding, dehydration, sloughing of colonic mucosa, renal failure, etc – just show that the MMS is working.
    But, by following these instructions, the individual will eventually cure themselves of the inconvenience of life.
    Yet the Genesis II “church of health and healing” (or more accurately: “church of poisonous bleach”) continues to market MMS, even though Medsafe has warned about it
    If pharmaceutical companies marketed a medication with as little regard to the evidence that these people do with MMS, I would lay bets that these self-same marketers would be amongst the very first to lay complaints about the marketing methods and ethical practices of “Big Pharma”.
    …and yet they are unable to recognise the cognitive dissonance that their own conflicting attitudes and beliefs demonstrate.

  • Alison Campbell says:

    The whole thing makes me really angry. If people are foolish enough to continue with this crap even after they’ve started bleeding from the rectum & losing the lining of their gut, that’s bad enough. But to do that to their kids!
    I see the original story (the mother in Indiana) made it to the Herald today; I’ve tweeted them a link to this post (though I’ll be agreeably surprised if it’s picked up).

  • herr doktor bimler says:

    The key point here is that the guy behind the whole scam, Jim Humble, was a $cientologist for a while. He learned all the tricks of high-end religious fraud before leaving them to start his own religion, with bleach as the sacrament and himself as Arch-Bishop. So this is not one of these cases where you wonder, “Has this scammer managed to convince himself that there is some value to what he is selling?” Humble knows he’s grifting, and as long as the money keeps rolling in, he will just chuckle to himself at the stupidity of the suckers who are cleaning out their children’s bowels with bleach because he told them to. The dude is giving sociopaths a bad name.
    Anyway, you can explain everything that’s wrong with the nonsense explanations for the fraudulent claims made for MMS, but remember, these are rationalisations. It’s not like Humble pored over biochemistry textbooks for years, wondering what will cure diseases. No, he just realised that the way to get the suckers totally committed to his scam — so that they can recruit others and keep up the money flow — is to convince them to try something totally bizarre and counter-intuitive, making it harder for them to admit how stupid they were. Hence bleach. Everything else came afterwards.

  • I’m guessing this post will not be allowed to be published, but, on the off chance that it is…

    This “article” and most of the comments contain OUTRIGHT LIES.
    DO NOT let the pseudo-intellectuals and sub-intellectuals and agenda-mongers fearmonger you into poor health and/or death.
    MMS is basically 100% SAFE. (otherwise there would be THOUSANDS of people sick and dead by now, instead of Restored to Health from pretty much every disease most people can list off of the top of their heads, including most so-called “incurable diseases”)

    Join the Grassroots Health Movement Revolution.

    You DO NOT have to be unhealthy, sick, ill, dying, or near death! (almost everyone, almost all of the time)

    BE Healthy and Well – SEE: [url removed as I see no reason to provide advertising for quackery]

    • I’d like to think you’re a Poe but, sadly, I think this is for real. To answer your statements:
      * in my experience it’s the quack websites that don’t allow contrary comments. You’ll find they’re usually approved by science sites, unless abusive or obscene.
      * lies? Please provide evidence to back that up.
      * bwahahaha
      * citations, please. Lots of them. If MMS was that safe or effective it would be a widely used by mainstream medicine. It isn’t, & won’t be, because its claimed mode of action is laughable. As is your claim that MMS will cure absolutely everything. This is a sure sign of woo – since diseases have a range of causes, the odds of bleach doing them in are nil.
      * and, you do realise that people are living longer now, & in better health, than in the past? Hardly supports your claim that we’re all on the verge of death. But, thank you for providing an object lesson.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *