Don’t have time to read? Here’s a quick summary:
- The benefits of “alkalizing the body” is real, in terms of fighting cancer. It’s just explained incorrectly, and it’s benefits are often exaggerated.
- Cancer cells themselves generate acidic waste. This waste further promotes cancer, and metastasis.
- When you “alkalize” the body (within reason), your blood stays in the normal pH range. But it helps the fluids around your cells return to a normal pH, instead of the acidic pH caused by the cancer itself.
- Helping your body neutralize cancer generated acidity (by alkalizing) may help to combat cancer metastasis.
- Manipulating your pH can potentially be dangerous, so talk to your doctor first before starting any such strategy.
People often ask my opinion on “alkalizing the body” when fighting cancer. Some people swear by the concept… others think it’s just a myth. But most people just want to know if there’s any truth to it.
By the end of this article, you’ll know the real story… even if you’re a (reasonable) skeptic.
The acid-alkaline diet theory is one of the most debated and misunderstood topics in natural health. Many people claim that pH balance is impacts diseases like osteoporosis, cancer… and even “all diseases” depending on who you are talking to.
So is the “acid alkaline theory” the holy grail of health…? Or is it just a myth that’s become hugely popular?
As you’ll see, both sides are correct in some ways. But both sides overlook some VERY important facts, especially as it pertains to cancer.
So today we’re going to talk about:
- What the acid-alkaline theory of health entails
- Where the skeptics AND the believers get it wrong
- Why the acid-alkaline theory IS relevant for cancer
By the end of this article, you’ll understand the huge importance (and the limitations) of alkalizing the body against cancer.
The Acid Alkaline Theory of Health Differs Depending On Who You Talk To…
The acid-alkaline theory can differ depending on who you are talking to. Some proponents of the acid-alkaline theory are rooted in science. Others are just based on incorrect information.
Because of this, many health enthusiasts end up promoting ideas that are incorrect, or explained incorrectly.
The acid alkaline theory talks about the importance of pH balance in the body, and how this can be affected by the foods that we eat.
Certain foods leave behind acidic “ash” byproducts after you digest them. Other foods leave alkaline ash byproducts after digestion.
According to this theory, many diseases breed in more acidic conditions. Thus, you’d want to focus on these “alkalizing foods” to attain good health.
The Acid Alkaline Theory Is Often Overblown
First off, it is important to address some of the overblown claims on the pro- acid alkaline side of the debate.
Some say that “constant over acidification” of the body causes many, or even all diseases . Others say that alkalizing your body through diet and supplements can cure many, or even all of these diseases.
This is great for headlines… but I guarantee you there are people out there who have “alkalized their body,” and still have health issues.
It would be nice if all of health and medicine boiled down to single problem like this… But the idea of “healing ALL diseases by alkalizing the body” just isn’t true.
Health is a complex interplay between a huge variety of factors. Some of these factors include:
- Diet and Nutrition
- Stress Levels
- Lifestyle Choices
- Pathogen Exposure (Bacteria, Virus, Fungus, etc.)
- Toxin Exposure
- Hormone Levels
- Neurotransmitter Balance
- Genetics / Epigenetics
And… these factors are constantly interacting with each other to determine your level of health.
So, you can’t boil down health and disease to just one factor. It’s the health of your overall “biological systems” which determines how “susceptible” you are to many diseases.
As you will see, your body’s pH balance may be an important factor…. but it’s definitely not the ONLY factor.
Your BLOOD Doesn’t Become Acidic
Though many in the acid-alkaline camp know better, there’s another misconception that is often promoted. This (basically) incorrect claim is that an “acidifying diet” causes your BLOOD to be acidic. This is also not true…
If you’re generally healthy, your body (particularly the kidneys and lungs) will neutralize these acids. This keeps your blood in a tightly regulated pH range between 7.35- 7.45 . If your blood truly became acidic (i.e. acidotic) you wouldn’t be reaching for a green juice… you’d be in the hospital.
If it gets acidic enough, you’d end up in a coma, and could even die.
So there are some big problems with the acid-alkaline theory, at least in the way it is sometimes portrayed in the health community.
Because of this, many “acid-alkaline skeptics” call this theory a myth.
So, the acid-alkaline skeptics are correct about the pH balance of blood. A healthy body does regulate blood pH around 7.35- 7.45. Every time you eat, your blood pH may undergo minor and temporary changes in pH depending these foods that you eat… But the “acid or alkaline ash” from the foods you eat is “buffered” (i.e. balanced) by your body.
The same thing happens with the lactic acid you generate when you exercise. Your body will make sure that your blood stays right around 7.4.
But… here’s what the acid-alkaline skeptics overlook…
Alkalizing Happens In Your Cellular Fluids
“Alkalizing the body” happens in the “interstitial fluids,” via the blood… Not in the blood itself.
In general, your red blood cells stay within your blood vessels. But the yellowish fluid portion of your blood (i.e. plasma) flows beyond your blood vessels to feed your cells. At this point it becomes “interstitial fluid.”
Here’s a more detailed explanation of interstitial fluid, if you want to learn more:
So most of your cells aren’t directly surrounded by blood… They’re surrounded by this interstitial fluid. The interstitial fluid is what makes up the “environment” in which most of your cells live.
Things like oxygen, sugar, fatty acids, hormones, and metabolic waste also flow back and forth between the blood and your cells, via the interstitial fluid.
But whether from exercise or cancer (as you will see later), acidic waste also accumulates in, and moves through the interstitial fluid.
Most importantly, taking “alkalizing dietary factors” makes it easier for your body to neutralize this acidic waste… even when your blood remains at normal pH .
Tumors Create Acidic Waste… And You Want To Get Rid It Quickly
Almost all cancer cells make their energy in a dysfunctional way . The by-product of this is tumor generated lactic acid, which further promotes cancer progression .
Tumor generated acidity can:
- Increase the cancer’s ability to metastasize
- Increase the ability of cancer cells to migrate to and invade other tissues
- Reduce the ability of your immune system to recognize and attack tumors
- Cause further mutation in cancer cells
- Make cancer cells more resistant to radiation therapy
- Make cancer cells more resistant to certain types of chemotherapy (and maybe anti-cancer supplements)
In a healthy human body, your interstitial fluids generally stay between a pH of 7.2 and 7.5. But if you have cancer, the tumor generated acidity can cause the pH around the cancer cells to be as low as 6.0 .
And even when the tumor tissues are acidic, the rest of your body will usually stay within the normal pH range. This acidic terrain creates perfect conditions for the tumor to grow, spread, and hide from your immune system.
Alkalizing The Body Fights Metastasis
So helping the body neutralize this cancer generated acidity is an important factor…. The benefits of this have been shown by researchers in cancer afflicted mice . These mice were fed either with plain water, or water with sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) which is an alkalizing substance.
When baking soda was added to their water, the tumor generated acid was neutralized, and the pH of the tumor’s extracellular fluid became normal. It also blocked tumor metastasis, and reduced the cancer’s ability to spread to the lymphatic system. And overall, this was a safe process as the pH of normal tissues, and the rest of the body remained normal.
Though this study used baking soda as the alkalizing factor, many natural alkaline mineral waters are also very rich in bicarbonate. Thus alkalizing factors in your diet, can help your body neutralize these tumor generated acids more effectively.
And though I’m not aware of any similar studies relating specifically to alkaline ash producing foods (i.e. fruits and vegetables), it’s likely that they would also help in the same way if you ate enough to shift your urine pH to the most alkaline side of normal.
Alkalizing Is An Important Factor… But Not A Cure All
Though this study showed the benefits of alkalizing the body, it also provided evidence against one of the more popular claims from the acid-alkaline theory camp… the claim that “cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment.” Of course this is assuming the alkaline side of the physiological norm, as any cell (and the person) would die if you increase the pH high enough (i.e. lye exposure.)
Unfortunately, the study above shows that this isn’t true, as far as this study is concerned. Though alkalizing the mice fought against the spread of the cancer, the primary tumors in the mice still grew at the same rate, even in an slightly alkaline pH of 7.4.
Note: I’m not aware of any studies related to increasing pH to maximum physiological alkalinity (i.e. the most alkaline possible without going into alkalosis… maybe nearer to 7.45 in the blood/ 8.0 in the urine, or even a little bit above.) This would be interesting to see…
Important Details To Consider
So as you can see, alkalizing the body is something that you should consider if you are fighting cancer. However, there are some important things that you must know….
First… manipulating the body’s pH in any way can potentially be dangerous. Something as common as baking soda can interfere with certain diseases and medications (i.e. diseases that involve fluid imbalance, corticosteroids, etc…)
So please talk to your doctor before starting any type of alkalizing supplements. You should also consider working with them, or another qualified healthcare professional who is familiar with alkalizing strategies.
Also… some chemotherapy drugs may do better in alkaline environments, while others may do better in acidic environments . This is an important consideration if you are actively undergoing cancer treatment.
So even though cancer can survive in an alkaline environment… it doesn’t discount the benefits of alkalizing the body for its potential anti-cancer and anti-metastatic effects. In fact, metastasis itself is one of the most dangerous aspects of cancer that has to be addressed .
And when you have cancer, you are basically in a race between the ability of the cancer to grow and metastasize… versus… the ability of your immune system, natural anti-cancer factors, and/or pharmaceutical drugs, to kill the cancer.
Bottom Line: The anti-cancer effects of alkalizing the body is very important, if you want to fight cancer optimally. But don’t depend on it as a “cure all.”
Did this article clarify your thoughts on the acid-alkaline debate? What are your thoughts about this? Let me know… !
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Gene Wei is a Board Certified Doctor of Oriental Medicine in the state of Florida, and the founder of AntiCancer360. He’s also a graduate of the University of California Los Angeles, and East West College of Natural Medicine.
His practice is focused on integrative and natural anticancer strategies. Over the years, he’s helped many people overcome difficult cancers… including some cases of “terminal cancer” which were able to be reversed with an “Aggressive Integrative Approach.”