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Does Hydrochloric Acid Intravenously Harden Arteries?
The observations of Dr. Miller of hardening of the arteries after a
few injections of solutions of hydrochloric acid in a man of 70 are
well worth consideration. In my experience, the only hardening of
the blood vessels I have seen was at the site of the injection of
solutions stronger than those used by Dr. Miller and in rather small
veins. Since Dr. Miller does not say what strength of the acid solution
was given his elderly patient, for purposes of this discussion suppose
we'll say he used 1-1000 HCl or 0.01 in 10 cc of water.
Unless this solution is given very rapidly, it is difficult for me to see how
any irritation is made even at the site of the injection. As to any such effect
on the arteries, I cannot see how less than 1 drop of hydrochloric acid in
10 cc of water in five or six liters of blood could possibly be so potent as
to cause such irritation of the arteries as to cause any hardening.
My technician and I have had a greater number of the acid injections than any
patient I have had save one. (That patient has had so many his history is worth
a paragraph later.) My technician weighs about 112 pounds; I weigh 160. Veins
are rather small in both of us. In these determinations, all variations of
the acid solutions have been used up to four-percent. After one takes one injection
of the acid solution intravenously, after the strength is increased beyond
1-250, one only wants one of each strength up to four percent to feel that
the investigation has gone quite far enough, for it is painful for several
hours, the pain going up to the shoulder. Such intravenous injections are used
rarely on patients.
When I began to give intravenous injections of the hydrochloric acid to my
technician in December 1929, she had acne, with induration of the skin and
a deficiency in acid content in the stomach. She had one prominent vein, the
median basilic of the right arm. With the repeated injections of the acid,
the walls of this vein grew thicker slowly. After the injections were made
stronger, the vein was usable about a year, when I fancy I must have given
some solution a bit too rapidly; it became totally occluded and has continued
so. It is now necessary to use smaller veins.
In my own case, the small vein has been used regularly for about five years.
One cannot see it. It can only be felt, and the technician is the only one
who can strike it. Kind urological friends occasionally give me an injection
of the acid and, after a few attempts, use a vein on the dorsal surface of
A little personal history might not be amiss just here. After unusual physical
exertion in October, I had a slight hemorrhage of the brain about the fissure
of Rolando, sufficient to make my right side, particularly the hand and arm,
rather useless. Blood pressure in the Veterans' Hospital was 170/100. After
a fair amount of persuasion, my kind colleague, Dr. Edwards, agreed to give
me this "dangerous" drug in five-percent solution intramuscularly.
The white count at the time of the injection was 8500. Four hours afterward,
it was 15,900 per cubic millimeter. This procedure was suggested because the
lymphocytes are known to be the agents for the removal of extravasated blood
and for the demolition of clots, and I felt that the injection of the acid
would simply increase and make more active this purely natural phenomenon.
I was appreciably better after three of these injections -- so much so that
I took a leave to return home to hear a paper on the intravenous injection
of HCl by Dr. C.W. Shropshire, a urologist of Birmingham.
My technician continued the intramuscular injections as given in the hospital
every other day for two weeks. Since then, I have had HCl intravenously or
intramuscularly every week or ten days. My blood pressure is now 150/ 190,
and there is no evidence of any hardening of the arteries. Hence, I am forced
to think that any hardening of the arteries in Dr. Miller's patient came from
some cause outside the acid injections.
Now to tell Dr. Miller of the patient of 69 who has had more of the acid injections
than I have. I saw him first on January 4, 1928, in the City Venereal Clinic,
supported on one side by a young man and on the other by a heavy cane; both
agents were necessary for locomotion. He came to the clinic, not for treatment,
but to sell, paradoxically enough, health insurance. His condition gave a vivid
illustration of one's need for it. Tabes dorsalis, with a history of 15 years,
was his principal malady, and he was attempting to get sufficient money from
the sale of insurance to buy a wheelchair for future progress.
At this time, I had been using the hydrochloric acid injections for five weeks
intramuscularly; so this agent was told of what I thought to be the promise
of interesting clinical determinations. He was given 10cc HCl, c.p. 11500 (0.0
in 90 cc of distilled water) intramuscularly, two such injections being given
per week. The young man's services were no longer necessary after the
seventeenth day following the first injection. By the way, this man's
white count was 3500 before the injection; within an hour thereafter, the count
was something above 5000. For two years, he was given two injections a week,
During this time, I began the intravenous use of the acid and tried it on him
on several occasions. Each time, a pronounced inflammatory reaction followed.
This was never seen after the intramuscular injections of the weak acid solution.
Bismuth or salicylate of mercury, however, would be followed by a marked reaction.
During the third year, one injection every five days seemed sufficient for
this soliciting salesman to carry on. At the end of this time I began to use
still stronger solutions of the acid, and this case of tabes furnished a useful
subject. It was found that solutions stronger than 1-250 were followed by reactions;
the stronger the solution, the greater the reaction. So marked was this phenomenon
that he was really sick for a few hours after receiving the five-percent solution.
But happily his visits became less frequent, and he only came when the numbness,
lack of coordination, or pain was marked. On every such occasion, when we have
done a count, a marked leukopenia has been found. With the quick reestablishment
of more nearly a normal count, these symptoms were markedly relieved. This
patient is now having intramuscular injections of 1-250 two or three times
a month, and since he goes about the town wherever he cares to go, with a small
amount of occasional discomfort, I feel that his malady is being kept under
control and that life is a bit more livable than it would be without the acid
injections. He has had over 400 injections of the acid as described, and if
he has any induced hardening of the arteries, I have never seen any evidence
It is an interesting fact that some 300 years ago in Africa, Negroes with nervous
diseases were brought to the coast or to sea level where they might be infected
with the malady that we now know to have been malaria. Because these primitive
people had found that such cases improved when chills and fever accompanied
the more disabling malady, would it not be entirely logical to conclude that
the benefit that must have been seen was the result of the cellular stimulation
that accompanied the inflammatory reaction in the paroxysm of malaria? In light
of the present practice of the infection of paretics by the direct injection
of the plasmodium of malaria, one might conclude we were agreed that the Africans
had found a useful therapeutic procedure. So, if one can induce the essential
factor of the inflammatory reaction without the chill and without the fever
by the simple injection of the basic acid of the body, the acid on which the
acid base balance is maintained, one might think it worthwhile.
"Three Years of HCl Therapy" continues
next month with Part II, which includes original articles by Dr.
Walter Guy on degenerative
disease, toxemia, and cancer, among other topics.
For more information, please visit
The Arthritis Trust of America
7376 Walker Road
Fairview, Tennessee 37062-8141 USA