As we learn more about how to prevent cancer, we’ve learned that it’s possible to create an internal environment hostile to the disease. This begins by living a healthy lifestyle. For example, going without sugar–which cancer loves– and exercising on a regular basis.
But today, I’m going to talk about a common belief that an acidic diet causes cancer while an alkaline diet sends rogue cancer cells packing. Read on to discover more…
It’s a well-established fact that many cancers thrive in three conditions:
- An acidic internal environment
- A low-oxygen environment
- A toxic environment
According to many cancer experts, an acidic environment is the worst offender of the three when it comes to causing cancer.
In other words, if you want to create an inhospitable environment not only for cancer cells but also for bacteria, viruses or fungi, then you need to guard your body’s pH.
The right pH is critical for good health
pH is the measure of negative hydroxyl ions (OH-), to the number of positive hydroxyl (H+) ions in your fluid or tissue. The higher the pH, the more alkaline and oxygen rich the body. On the flipside, the lower the pH, then the more acidic and oxygen-poor the body. For good health many doctors believe you need to maintain a pH of about 7.4.
Although the difference appears insignificant, many cancer experts believe that acidity in the range of 7.0 to 6.7 weakens every system in your body, making you a sitting duck for disease.
It forces your body to borrow minerals from your vital organs, bones, and teeth to neutralize that acid and remove it. The body will do whatever is necessary to keep the blood slightly alkaline, but it may have to strip everything else of minerals to do that. It’s this depleted state that sets you up for disease.
According to advocates of the acid-alkaline theory of health, disease NEEDS an acidic and low oxygen environment to survive and flourish. Some authorities say terminal patients have acidity levels 1,000 times higher than those of normal healthy people.
In a state of acidosis and low oxygen, glucose becomes lactic acid during fermentation—more on this in a minute—forcing your pH to plummet, potentially reaching 6.0 or 5.7, or lower.
The thing is, certain parts of the body are designed to be acidic, such as the stomach after a meal so you can digest your food, your small and large intestine—for the same reason—and a woman’s vagina.
But generally, if your overall body grows too acidic over time, disease sets in.
Acidosis and disease
Some studies have shown that cancer cells thrive in highly acidic environments – in other words, environments with a low pH.
Other research shows that chronic acidosis causes diabetes, osteoporosis, heart disease, immune problems, chronic infections, and more.
Acidosis is also linked to problems that seem minor but may foretell serious ones in your future such as anxiety, diarrhea, early morning fatigue, headaches, rapid heartbeat, restless legs, shortness of breath, high blood pressure, insomnia and, of course, heightened susceptibility to illness.
How can acidosis cause these problems? It begins with low oxygen levels.
The hazards of low oxygen levels
When your cells are low in oxygen, they become inefficient at converting food to energy.
If your oxygen levels dip dangerously low, angiogenesis (creation of new blood vessels) begins. This provides fresh oxygen, boosting your oxygen levels and slowing cancer – but only temporarily!
Eventually your energy-conversion efficiency cranks down another notch, creating a vicious cycle. Researchers believe this cycle is a major driver of cancer. It could explain why so many cancers become drug resistant within three to six months.
This is based on a recent study, but the idea is not particularly new. More than 90 years ago, Dr. Otto Warburg won his first Nobel Prize (1931) for proving that cancer was caused by lack of oxygen respiration in cells.
In an article called The Prime Cause and Prevention of Cancer, he said, “the cause of cancer is no longer a mystery, we know it occurs whenever any cell is denied 60 percent of its oxygen requirements.”
In other words, the primary cause of cancer is the replacement of oxygen respiration with fermented sugar. Your body’s cells should get their energy from oxygen, whereas cancer cells meet their energy needs mostly by fermentation.
Fermentation lets cancer cells survive, but they cannot perform normal functions. All they can do is multiply and grow, degrading into cancer cells that no longer serve you, but just live to survive for themselves.
Normal cells can’t live without oxygen (they’re obligate aerobes), but all cancer cells can live without oxygen (they’re partial anaerobes).
So, how do your cells become oxygen deprived?
Internal toxins trigger acidosis and make you
Metabolic waste products are acidic and must be detoxified. It’s a normal part of life, if you can detoxify effectively.
But most people are regularly exposed to so many toxins that their bodies become overwhelmed. From toxic lawn care and cleaning products, plastics, air pollution, drugs, and mercury fillings, to toxins from fertilizers, insecticides, and herbicides in your food.
Compound that with everyday stress, poor sleeping habits, and a sedentary lifestyle, and you get quite a build-up of waste products and toxins. Your body may not be able to rid itself of these substances fast enough to keep up.
If you’re a cancer patient, chemotherapy and radiation also contribute to your toxic load.
Any overload of toxins can clog up your cells, leading to poor quality cell walls that deny access to the nutrients (needed for respiration), and further reduce your ability to detoxify.
Over time, these waste products become solid wastes like oxidized fats, uric acid, kidney stones, and tumors. They contribute to rapid aging and related diseases such as arthritis and heart disease.
How to beat acidosis, low oxygen, and toxins
all at once
According to Robyn Chuter, ND at the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, the goal should not actually be to “alkalize” our bodies.
“…you can make it easier for your body to maintain its different optimal pH ranges by making healthy food and lifestyle choices. For example, by eating a whole food, plant-based diet rich in fiber and resistant starch from vegetables, fruits, legumes, and whole grains, you’ll provide your gut microbiome with the carbohydrates needed to produce short chain fatty acids that help maintain optimal pH in the colon.”
Maria Petzel, an MD Anderson senior clinical dietitian, puts it a different way, saying a so-called alkaline diet isn’t a bad thing. “The alkaline diet basically reinforces good, old-fashioned healthy eating,” explains Ms. Petzel. “The diet recommends eating more vegetables, fruits and drinking lots of water and cutting back on sugar, alcohol, meat and processed foods. All of these things will help improve your overall health, help you lose weight and even help lower your cancer risk.
“This diet can also help reduce inflammation. Inflammation is a natural response to injury and infection, but too much inflammation – also known as chronic inflammation – can cause DNA damage and lead to cancer. So, eating foods that reduce inflammation can help reduce your cancer risk.”
Some other tips include to:
- Drink plenty of water.
- Eat organic foods
- Chew your food—30 to 40 times each bite
- Trade acidic coffee for herbal tea—green tea especially
- Move your body with regular exercise
- Manage chronic stress
- Sleep well
- Avoid toxic chemicals in your home and work environment
Long-time readers of this newsletter may remember that I’ve been skeptical of the acid-alkaline theory because a healthy balance seems to be the effect rather than the cause of good health habits. After reading the new research I’m still skeptical.
But there’s no question that the healthy, nutrient-rich foods or mineral supplements prescribed by many cancer prevention and treatment programs to make your body more alkaline are good for you. If it makes them happy to describe a “healthy diet” as an “alkaline diet” then more power to them.