In 2016, the American Cancer society estimated that 1,685,210 people would be diagnosed with cancer. Of that number, they predicted that 595,690 would die from the disease. Based on current trends and statistics, the National Cancer Institute predicts that nearly 40% of men and women in this country will have cancer at some point in their lifetime. (4, 5)
There’s no way around it, those statistics are scary. Cancer cases are rising at a faster rate than we are coming out with new treatments, and the ones that exist are almost as scary as the diagnoses itself. It’s no wonder that many people consider turning to alternative medicine when given a grim prognosis. For many, they have nothing left to lose.
The Problem with Alternative Approaches to Cancer Treatment
At The Hearty Soul, we love alternative medicine and believe that it has a place in preventing and treating many illnesses, infections, and diseases. That being said, we are also firm believers in science and the need for treatments, especially for something as deadly as cancer, to be properly studied and verified before people turn to it as their first line of defense over conventional methods.
A big problem with unproven alternative methods for cancer treatment out there are the harm they can inflict on vulnerable people and also to the reputation of alternative medicine and its practitioners. The baking soda cancer cure is one of these unsubstantiated claims that discredits actual proven, holistic medicine.
The Baking Soda Cancer Treatment
You may have seen popular memes or articles being shared on social media that suggest cancer cannot thrive in an alkaline environment, and that an acidic body is a cause of cancer. Based on that hypothesis, some practitioners have suggested that baking soda can make your body alkaline, kill cancer cells and prevent them from coming back. Sounds too good to be true, right? Let’s unpack it. (1, 2)
Alkalinity vs Acidity in the Body
To understand the baking soda cancer treatment and it’s basis, we must first understand the body and its relationship with pH, which operates on a sliding scale between 0 (the most acidic) to a pH of 14 (most alkaline or basic). (1, 3)
This premise of the baking soda cancer treatments rests upon the assumption that we can alter the pH level inside our body. The problem with this theory is that every organ in our bodies has a different pH, with wider or more restricted range as to how much it can change. For example, the stomach has a pH level of 2 and saliva has a pH level of approximately 7.0-7.5.
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When it comes to being able to alter the pH of our blood, this must remain within a tight range of 7.35-7.45 at all times, otherwise the human body would go into a state of acidosis; thankfully, our organs do an excellent job ensuring we maintain homeostasis at all times.
The bottom line: We cannot change the pH of our blood or anything else in our body using diet (or baking soda) except for our urine, which is what people typically measure and assume reflects the pH of their blood as well. (1, 3) For more information on the acidity and alkalinity of the body and why the alkaline diet does not work, read here.
Cancer is Caused by Gene Mutations, Not Acidity
The idea that cancer is caused by acidity in the body comes from misinterpreted information from a study done by Dr. Otto Warburg, who won the Nobel Prize in 1930 for his contributions to chemistry and how cellular respiration works. (1)
What Dr. Warburg helped discover was how cancer cells originate from normal, healthy cells already present inside your body. Instead of using oxygen for energy, cancer cells use glycolysis, or the fermentation of glucose, to grow and divide. This process produces lactic acid, meaning that it is not acidic conditions or low oxygen that cause cancer, but instead irreversible damage to the cell’s ability to derive energy from respiration (oxygen). A low pH and low oxygen levels are a byproduct of cancer growth, not a cause. (1, 2)
Unfortunately, people have taken this information and twisted it to make claims like “Every person who gets cancer’s body is too acidic”, and that they can make their body more alkaline through diet or in this case, baking soda.
What Really Causes Cancer
There are more than one hundred types of cancer that currently exist, all named for where they occur in the body. While they are all different and require various methods of treatment, one thing unites all of them: They are causes by changes or mutations to the DNA within normal, healthy cells. (6, 7)
Inside every cell in your body, there are genes that tell the cell how to function, grow, and divide. Errors in this cause the cell to stop its normal function and may cause them to become cancerous. (7)
These gene mutations can be caused by a variety of factors, including: (7)
- Cancer-causing chemicals (carcinogens)
- Chronic illness
- Lack of Exercise
There is not a “cure-all” when it comes to cancer, baking soda included.
Case Study: Dr. Simoncini and the baking soda cure
A popular theory that has made rounds on the Internet is by Dr. Simoncini, who suggests that cancer is a fungus caused by Candida bacteria, and that it is allowed to grow and thrive because of an acidic environment in our bodies. He claims that baking soda, when ingested, injected, and even inhaled for certain cancers, neutralizes this acid and makes the area around the cancer and the body more basic, effectively killing the cancer. He claims that all cancer can be cured this way. (2) Dr. Simoncini has been persecuted in his own country and had his medical license revoked.
If you or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer, the first thing you should do is visit your oncologist and naturopath who will work with you to find a treatment method that you are comfortable with, and coping mechanisms to support your body through the healing journey. Till date, there is no ‘cure-all’ for cancer, either in the sphere of conventional Western medicine or alternative medicine; each person requires their own individualized approach.
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