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  • Writer's pictureDr. S. Rallis DC, ND

IV hydrochloric acid

Because of the increasing threat of antibiotic resistance, I think it’s important that we seriously consider alternate antimicrobials -especially ones that have established records of safety!

One agent to consider is intravenous hydrochloric acid (IV HCl).

Used primarily in the treatment of severe metabolic alkalosis, as an alternative to sodium or potassium chloride injections (1), intravenous HCl has a long track record as an immunostimulant.

Historically used as early as the 1920s, the therapy seemed to gain traction in the early 1930s (prior to the widespread use of antibiotics). Pioneered by two doctors, Dr. Burr Ferguson MD and Dr. Walter Bryant Guy MD, they published their findings in The Medical World journal. Dr. Guy, also wrote a book on the same subject, “Hydrochloric Acid and Mineral Therapy”, which was published in 1935.(2) A further review article was later published in JAMA in 1934.(3)

It was understood at that time that HCl acted as a germicide, altering oxygen content in the red blood cells (RBCs) and increasing white blood cell (WBC) activity. What we know now is that when HCl is given intravenously, small signalling proteins called cytokines are released that ultimately trigger this increased immune response.

Some of the published uses for the therapy at that time included: HCl as a germicide, tuberculosis, tonsillitis, sinusitis, acne vulgaris, neoplastic diseases, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases. (4)

Today, we use HCl to boost and support the immune system for a wide array of conditions including, influenza, viral infections, staph, strep and pneumonia (in concert with antibiotics), chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia. Some doctors are also using it as part of their adjunct or supportive treatment for certain cancers.

This therapy is contraindicated in autoimmune conditions, for patients taking immunosuppressive medications and in leukemia and lymphomas.

I use it the office primarily for #colds and #flu, #pharyngitis, #sinusitis and non-resolving infections. I think it’s an interesting adjunct for cases of chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia, especially if these conditions are due to a latent infection. One clue to the latter might be the persistence of a slightly elevated basal body temperature.

As far as supportive cancer therapies, I will typically defer to #mistletoe as an immune stimulating agent, but would consider HCl in cases where mistletoe is poorly tolerated.


(1) Guffey JD, Haas CE, Crowley A, Connor KA, Kaufman DC. Hydrochloric Acid Infusion for the Treatment of Metabolic Alkalosis in Surgical Intensive Care Unit Patients. Ann Pharmacother. 2018;52(6):522–6.

(3) JAMA. Intravenous Hydrochloric Acid in the Treatment of Disease. 1934;102(7):534-537. doi:10.1001/jama.1934.62750070003010.

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