If like me, you frequently see health related social media posts saying that you should eat alkaline foods or drink alkalised water (such as baking soda drinks) to improve your health, or even prevent cancer, because (allegedly) cancer cannot survive in an alkaline body... ignore them! These posts are wrong!
If you actually follow or implement those ideas, then please read this and consider the real facts, because you may actually be doing your body and your health more harm than good. Sorry...
The facts are:
- acidity or alkalinity is measured on the pH scale from 0 (highly acidic) to 7 (neutral) to 14 (highly basic or alkaline)
- your body has different pH in different fluids and organs for good reasons
- your body only works well within a small pH range for that particular organ or fluid, for example, blood pH should be within 7.35 and 7.45; a very small range, outside of which YOU DIE
- your saliva or urine pH (from test strips etc) bears no resemblance of what is going on in the rest of your body
- various areas of the body MUST be acidic, to repel bacteria, virus and yeast infections, such as on your skin and in your stomach and gastrointestinal, urinary and reproductive tracts. These microbes LIKE an alkaline environment and thrive in it!
- your body has 5 pH buffering (ie, balancing) systems to keep various organs of fluids within the small pH range necessary for good health. Providing too much acidic foods or drinks will simply be balanced out with production of more alkaline compounds and increased excretion of the acids!
- there is the public perception that cancer cannot survive in an alkaline environment, and therefore why we need to eat and drink more alkaline products and avoid acidic foods. The real fact is that cancer cells have a disordered metabolism and only produce energy via a process called glycolysis, from which a major byproduct is lactate, also called lactic ACID! Hence it is the cancer cells producing the acidic environment, NOT the acidic environment causing the cancer...
Then there's my (least) favourite social media health post recommending drinking alkalised water with bicarbonate (baking soda) to prevent disease and cancer! This comes from old research from an Italian cancer doctor Simoncini who produced research that he killed cancer cells with alkaline baking soda. HOWEVER, he INJECTED baking soda into tumours, and found this killed cancer cells. BUT it isn't actually the alkalinity which kills the cancer cells, but by the "osmotic shift" in fluid from within the cancer cells into the higher alkaline fluid injected into the tumour. The cancer cells dehydrated and died as a result.
Unfortunately people have just taken the "baking soda kills cancer cells" headline and run off with the idea that baking soda and alkalinity can be taken in any form as a cheap and simple cancer prevention or treatment! Nothing could be further from the truth.
Drinking baking soda water will hit your stomach and neutralise some of the stomach acid! This will reduce the effectiveness of the acidic stomach to kill bacteria and viruses and other pathogens (leading to more infections), AND reduce the amount of digestion of foods that the stomach can break down, which in turn means a reduced absorption of digested nutrients which your body really needs, and in turn your entire body and health will suffer. Your stomach needs to be highly acidic in order to properly break down carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins B9 (folate), B12, and other nutrients which you can then use. If you don't have enough acidity in your stomach, you won't get these nutrients and your health will suffer.
Alkaline foods can be very healthy, but so can acidic foods (tomatoes, citrus, pineapple, and many others). Just because some foods are acidic doesn't mean they are bad, and similarly, just because some foods are alkaline doesn't mean they are healthy! To be healthy, you need to eat a variety of foods, and not restrict your intake based on an incorrect assumption or misinterpretation of a story based on a food's pH level!
Having good health and preventing diseases like cancer is more about what NUTRIENTS are in those foods and how well your digestive system is functioning, and avoiding chemicals and toxins that our modern foods are exposed to.
This is why you need to ignore the hype and see a qualified nutritionist or naturopath, like me, for the facts on improving your health, and preventing and treating health conditions!