The Food Standards Agency (FSA) is urgently warning UK consumers about a supplement described as “equivalent to industrial strength bleach” and that if used as directed can cause severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

In a warning published on Friday, the FSA said the product, known as Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS), also sold as Miracle Mineral Supplement, is being sold as an oral supplement.

“If you have consumed MMS and feel unwell you should consult your doctor,” they urged, and “if you have any of this product you should throw it away”.

Available over the internet, MMS is a 28 per cent sodium chlorite solution, and equivalent to industrial bleach. Not only can it cause severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, taken as directed, high oral doses can also lead to dehydration and reduced blood pressure.

The product instructions tell consumers to mix the 28 per cent sodium chlorite solution with an acid such as citrus juice. This mixture produces chlorine dioxide, a strong bleach used for stripping textiles and industrial water treatment.

The product claims to treat multiple unrelated diseases, including hepatitis, HIV, swine flu, acne, cancer, and the common cold.

If consumers take it diluted to less than instructed, it can also damage the gut and red blood cells, leading to respiratory failure, warned the FSA.

The UK agency has instructed local authorities that the product should not be on sale, and urges anyone who sees it on sale in shops and other retail outlets to contact their local trading standards officer.

Earlier this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a similar warning about MMS to the American public.

The federal agency said it had received several reports of injuries from consumers, including life-threatening low blood pressure from dehydration, as well as severe nausea and vomiting.

They also said they were not aware of any research that showed MMS to be effective in treating any of the conditions it claimed to be effective against.

A similar warning has been issued by the authorities in Canada.

Sources: FSA (UK), FDA (US).

Written by: Catharine Paddock, PhD