There’s the acid alkaline balance in the body and cancer myth that no one actually understands it fully. Find out the whole truth behind it!
“I have some straps to check my saliva because someone told me that my body is too acidic.”
“I’m avoiding citrus fruits, tomatoes, and acidic foods, because cancer develops in an acidic environment.”
These observations seem very logical and credible. However, the concept that the body is too acidic, and a more alkaline diet “starves” cancer cells is just a myth. Read how this myth started and what we know today. See what we can do to incorporate cancer-fighting foods into your routine.
The history of acid alkaline balance in the body idea
In the late 1870s a scientist used the pump calorimeter to examine how much heat do chemical reactions absorb or produce. The machine consisted of a cylinder-shaped chamber, pressurized oxygen, and a small amount of water. The scientis would take various substances from food (ie fruits, vegetables, meat, etc.). By incinerating them into this device, it turned out that the elements had become an ash-like substance. Using the mix of this ash and water, the scientist was able to check the pH of each element. What he discovered was that items with a higher pH (more alkaline) were of vegetable origin. On the other hand, those with a lower pH (more acidic) were meats.
Then, in 1900, a Nobel laureate suggested something about cancer cells. They live in hypoxia, a very low oxygen environment, and acidic conditions and get their energy from sugars they extract from fermentation of yeast. From this, the theory arises that a low environment in oxygen and highly acidic conditions caused cancer.
Taking these results into account, it is easy to see where the acid alkaline balance in the body idea comes from. But remember that science has advanced dramatically since that time. While both gentlemen were always in cutting edge research of their time, we know much more about cancer, food metabolism, and diet today. But then, what do we know now?
The science of today
Cancer cell growth depends on the growth of blood vessels and efforts to provide enough oxygen to metabolize energy. However, the growth rate of cancer cells and the division is faster than the production of oxygen for the supply of blood vessels. This results in an inefficient metabolism for energy supply, and ultimately produces lactic acid.
But because the cancer cell is producing lactic acid, it does not mean that the whole body becomes acidic. In fact, the body has a very tight set of weights and counterweights to keep its blood (ie the body) having a pH between 7.35 – 7.45, or almost neutral. It is also impossible to significantly alter the pH of the blood with the food you eat. So controlling your saliva to check for acidity or alkalinity (acid alkaline balance in the body) is not an accurate measure of the actual pH balance of your body.
Therefore, it is not the body that is too acidic and gives cancer cells a means to grow and divide. Rather it is the opposite. Cancer cells produce acid, but that does not mean that the whole body is more acidic.
What can you do?
Fortunately, the same foods that the scientist found to be alkaline come back since the 1800s, since many of those same foods are now recommended for their cancer-fighting properties. These plant foods – including citrus fruits and tomatoes – protect cells from damage and stimulate normal cell growth. Conversely, the intake a lot of acidic foods has been linked to inflammation, insensitivity to insulin, and increased cell division.
As you can see, the myth of the need to make the body more alkaline has no significant value in relation to the growth of cancer cells or their development. However, we do know that it is better to incorporate more alkaline foods. The American Institute for Cancer Research recommends a vegetable-based diet that aims to receive at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day (at least 2 ½ cups). Additionally, it recommends use of whole grains compared to refined grains, incorporation of vegetables more frequently and eat less meat. Incorporating these dietary habits aims to limit intake of acid foods and increase intake of alkaline foods. Moreover, it provides your body with cancer-fighting nutrients.