Sodium chlorite — also referred to as chlorous acid, sodium salt textone, and Miracle Mineral Solution — is composed of sodium (Na), Chlorine (Cl) and Oxygen (O2).

Don’t confuse sodium chlorite with sodium chloride. Sodium chloride (NaCl) is also called table salt. Sodium chloride is used for many things, but we typically think of it as a seasoning and food preservative. Sodium chlorite (NaClO2) is typically found in an industrial setting as a bleach and a disinfectant.

Sodium chlorite is marketed to both consumers and industries for various uses. Some consumer uses of sodium chlorite include:

  • water treatment and purification
  • surface cleaner for areas of food preparation
  • antimicrobial treatment for food, especially seafood

Larger concentrations of sodium chlorite are commonly used for industrial purposes, such as:

  • bleaching and stripping of textiles, pulp, and paper
  • sterilizing agent used in water treatment plants

Sodium chlorite has been promoted as a health supplement and a treatment for various illnesses, such as:

While there are anecdotal reports from people who claim to have experienced medical relief by ingesting sodium chlorite solutions, there’s no reliable scientific evidence showing a benefit. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t evaluated or approved sodium chlorite for health purposes.

Despite the lack of evidence supporting the use of sodium chlorite as a medication, some continue to support this chemical as a form of alternative medicine. Of these supporters, people with ALS — also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — report the most positive benefits from sodium chlorite. ALS is a rare neurological disease that progressively leads to:

Eventually this condition can shut down vital parts of the body. Only 10 percent of people with this condition live for longer than 10 years following diagnosis.

People with ALS who use sodium chlorite report positive benefits including:

  • increased muscle activity
  • clearer speech
  • slowed rate of ALS progression
  • improved flexibility
  • improved motor functions, balance, and speed of movement

Sodium chlorite received approval in the European Union as an “orphan drug” in the treatment of ALS. These drugs are usually used for rare conditions and don’t always require proven safety and effectiveness. A small number of studies have evaluated sodium chlorite in people with ALS but the results are too preliminary to know if it’s beneficial.

In small doses, sodium chlorite may be safe but hasn’t been officially evaluated through scientific research. However, ingesting sodium chlorite as a form of alternative medicine for extended periods of time or in larger dosages is unsafe and can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

In addition to these symptoms, there are more serious health problems that healthcare providers warn may result from use of this chemical, such as:

In high concentrations, sodium chlorite is typically used as a bleach and a disinfectant. Direct exposure to this chemical can result in:

Sodium chlorite has proven industrial uses, but more research is needed before this chemical can be considered a medical treatment. Small doses may be safe but ingesting larger doses could be dangerous and lead to severe symptoms, burns, and health complications. If you’re considering sodium chlorite for a medical purpose, consult your doctor before exposing yourself to this chemical.