This post is going to be controversial. On the one hand, there is evidence for an alkaline diet/state assisting in the prevention of cancers.. and on the other hand, evidence that an alkaline diet/state has no effect towards cancer.
Whether an alkaline diet/state prevents or reverses cancer isn’t the argument in this post… it’s what science says.
We’ve mentioned previous on Choose Alkaline posts that correlation does not equate to causality. For example, all serial killers drank water, does this mean by default that drinking water caused them to become serial killers? The same to a point can be said about cancer.. again, to a point.
All cancer cells are acidic, but does this mean that acidity caused the cancer? Not from a pure logical point of view. It is just as logical to conclude that the acidity in the cancer cells is a result of the cancer.. there is a huge difference. If acidity is the result of cancer, then no amount of alkaline foods or supplements will do anything to help with it. If acidity is however the cause of cancer.. well that’s a different story altogether.
I’ll be the first to admit, from my purely unqualified (as in no formal medical training) I’m skeptical of some of the claims made regarding the causes and “cures” of cancer.
An acidic diet/lifestyle will contribute to and increase your chances of cancer.
In the same way that smoking will contribute and increase your chances of lung cancer, not every smoker gets lung cancer. Not all smokers have lung cancer and not all people with lung cancer are smokers.. but smoking will and does contribute to lung cancer. People who live an alkaline lifestyle can get cancers and some people who have an acidic lifestyle don’t get cancers. However, people who have an acidic lifestyle increase their chance of getting cancers.
Dietary factors that contribute to chronic low‐grade metabolic acidosis have been linked to breast cancer risk, but to date no epidemiologic study has examined diet‐dependent acid load and breast cancer. We used data from 43,570 Sister Study participants who completed a validated food frequency questionnaire at enrollment (2003‐2009) and satisfied eligibility criteria. The Potential Renal Acid Load (PRAL) score was used to estimate diet‐dependent acid load. Higher scores reflect greater consumption of protein and phosphorus, and lower consumption of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. The association between PRAL and breast cancer was evaluated using multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression. We identified 1,882 invasive breast cancers diagnosed at least 1 year after enrollment (mean follow‐up, 7.6 years). The highest PRAL quartile, reflecting greater acid‐forming potential, was associated with increased risk of breast cancer (HRhighest vs. lowest quartile: 1.21 [95% CI, 1.04‐1.41], Ptrend=0.04). The association was more pronounced for estrogen receptor (ER)‐negative (HRhighest vs. lowest quartile: 1.67 [95% CI, 1.07‐2.61], Ptrend=0.03) and triple‐negative breast cancer (HRhighest vs. lowest quartile: 2.18 [95% CI, 1.22‐3.91], Ptrend=0.02). Negative PRAL scores, representing consumption of alkaline diets, were associated with decreased risk of ER‐negative and triple‐negative breast cancer, compared to a PRAL score of 0 representing neutral pH. Higher diet‐dependent acid load may be a risk factor for breast cancer while alkaline diets may be protective. Since PRAL scores are positively correlated with meat consumption and negatively correlated with fruit and vegetable intake, results also suggest that diets high in fruits and vegetables and low in meat may be protective against hormone receptor negative breast cancer.
We receive emails and questions all the time regarding the idea that “Cancer cannot live in an alkaline environment”. We this is true.. in part.
This has been doing the rounds since the 1930’s but has really taken hold in the last 5-10 years. Based on the Nobel prize winning research of Otto Warburg:
We have to consider the context of such a massive claim as this, not just the words alone. If you knew that Dr Warburg was referring to “existing” in a test tube, wouldn’t that put a totally different spin on his words? Well that’s exactly what he was referring to. Your body is not a test tube, not even close.
It’s not possible to “turn the body alkaline”, it simply will never happen. We’re not designed to be fully alkaline. We need acidity within the body, but in the correct places and correct levels. The miss-understanding we face today though, is that we think we should be trying to turn our body alkaline rather than to assist it in processing acidic food through an alkaline diet.
The medical research is compelling. An acidic-diet leads to diet-induced acidosis which increases the risk for several diseases. When you consistently put your body into diet-induced acidosis – things start to break very quickly, and in a multitude of ways.
In the past 80-plus years, medical science has proven an undeniable link between an acidic diet and disease. In one recent study, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Southern California analyzed data from 41,731 women between the ages of 35 and 74, and found that diet-induced acidosis was a significant risk factor for breast cancer.
In a recent Japanese study, the researchers analyzed the health records of 31,590 adults who underwent a health screening between January 2001 and
December 2010 and found that those with the lowest (acidic) urinary pH had a far higher incidence of cancer and cardiovascular mortality than those with the highest (alkaline) urinary pH.
Thousands of studies have shown the measurable protective effect against cancer of consuming a diet rich in alkaline fruit and vegetables. In April 2017, Chinese researchers conducted a meta-analysis that covered more than 10,000 individuals, and showed that the higher the participant’s vegetable consumption, the lower their risk of renal cell carcinoma.
Research Shows an Alkaline Diet Protects Against Cancer.
Here are just a handful of the published research showing how beneficial an alkaline diet is to protect and reverse cancer:
Study #1: Research Paper Title: Buffer Therapy for Cancer
Published in: Journal of Nutritional Food Sciences, 2012 Aug 15; 2: 6; Authors: Maria de Lourdes C Ribeiro, Ariosto S. Silva, et al
Key Findings: This study demonstrated the anti-cancer effects of buffer therapy and suggests foods that can contribute to or compete with this approach to manage the disease.
Study #2: Research Paper Title: Examining the relationship between diet-induced acidosis and cancer
Published in: Journal of Nutrition & Metabolism, 2012; 9: 72; Authors: Robey IF.
Key Findings: Acidity is a well known factor associated with cancer. Lower pH levels in the extracellular space promote the invasive and metastatic potential of cancer cells…Acidogenic diets, which are typically high in animal protein and salt and low in fruits and vegetables, can lead to a sub-clinical or low-grade state of metabolic acidosis (and) the relationship between diet and cancer is well known…acid-base disequilibrium has been shown to modulate molecular activity including adrenal glucocorticoid, insulin growth factor (IGF-1), and adipocyte cytokine signalling, dysregulated cellular metabolism, and osteoclast activation, which may serve as intermediary or downstream effectors of carcinogenesis or tumor promotion.
Study #3: Research Paper Title: The Role of Mitochondria in Cancer and Other Chronic Diseases
Published in: Journal of Orthomolecular Medicine, Volume 29, Number 4, 2014; Authors: Zeviar, DD, Gonzalez MJ et al.
Key Findings: The evidence appears to be strong that an alkaline diet high in antioxidants (fruits and vegetables) would help prevent chronic degenerative disease and cancer, and lead to a better quality of life…Prevention of cancer involves two elements: consumption of the proper diet and the avoidance of substances that damage the mitochondria. Chronic inflammation can stimulate all stages of tumorigenesis, (DNA damage, uncontrolled replication, inhibition of apoptosis, augmented angiogenesis and tissue invasion/metastasis.
Study #4: pH is a Neurally Regulated Physiological System. Increased Acidity Alters Protein and Cell Morphology and is a Significant Factor in the Onset of Diabetes and Other Common Pathologies
Published in: The Open Systems Biology Journal Volume 5, 2014; Authors: Ewing G
Key Findings: The body’s impaired ability to regulate its acidity, exacerbated by the consumption of highly acidic beverages, is a considerably underestimated factor in the subsequent development and onset of many common pathologies e.g. diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, cancers…The long-term exposure to abnormal levels of pH, in particular to higher levels of acidity, exceed the body’s inherent buffering mechanisms and contribute to the early onset of morphological changes which are characteristic of emergent pathologies e.g. abnormal cell growth or apoptosis/cell death.
There are so many more, just like this (I’ve included many below in the references for this article), and I am sure you’re getting the picture: diet-induced acidosis increases cancer risk and an alkaline-forming diet reduces cancer risk.
What should we take away from this?
Well, if nothing else, that the majority of cancers today are preventable… but you MUST start your walk down the alkaline lifestyle path.
Related Article: I’m Acidic, What Do I Do First?
Thankfully, there are 2 options available to us to make the start to an alkaline lifestyle right away. Change your diet and/or take advantage of alkalising supplements. By far, the supplement path is the easiest and fastest way to get alkaline and away from that cancer inducing acidosis state. To check out the latest and best alkalising supplements provided by the guys at SevenPoint2 (7.2), click the banner below.
Additional reading and study links:
References & Studies
Ambrosone CB, Tang L. Cruciferous vegetable intake and cancer prevention: role of nutrigenetics. Cancer Prev Res (Phila Pa). 2009 Apr;2(4):298-300. 2009. (link)
Ambrosini GL, de Klerk NH, Fritschi L et al. Fruit, vegetable, vitamin A intakes, and prostate cancer risk. Prostate Cancer Prostatic Dis. 2008;11(1):61-6. 2008. (link)
Bahrami et al., “Inflammatory Markers Associated with Subclinical Coronary Artery Disease: The Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study,” Journal of the American Heart Association (June 2016).
Bhattacharya A, Tang L, Li Y, et al. Inhibition of bladder cancer development by allyl isothiocyanate. Carcinogenesis. 2010 Feb;31(2):281-6. 2010. (link)
Bryant CS, Kumar S, Chamala S, et al. Sulforaphane induces cell cycle arrest by protecting RB-E2F-1 complex in epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Molecular Cancer 2010, 9:47. 2010. (link)
Brüngger et al., “Effect of chronic metabolic acidosis on thyroid hormone homeostasis in humans,” American Journal of Physiology (May 1997).
Clarke JD, Dashwood RH and Ho E. Multi-targeted prevention of cancer by sulforaphane. Cancer Lett. 2008 Oct 8;269(2):291-304. 2008. (link)
Chen P, Li C, Li X, et al. Higher dietary folate intake reduces the breast cancer risk: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Br J Cancer. 2014 Apr 29;110(9):2327-38. doi: 10.1038/bjc.2014.155. Epub 2014 Mar 25. Review. (link)
Cooper AJL, Krasnikov BF, Niatsetskaya ZV et al. Cysteine S-conjugate β-lyases: Important roles in the metabolism of naturally occurring sulfur and selenium-containing compounds, xenobiotics and anticancer agents. Amino Acids. 2011 June; 41(1): 7—27. 2011. (link)
Galeone C. Allium vegetables intake and endometrial cancer risk. Public Health Nutr. 2009 Sep;12(9):1576-9. Epub 2008 Nov 6. PMID: 18986589 (link)
Hernandez-Ramirez R, Galvan-Portillo M, Ward M et al. Dietary intake of polyphenols, nitrate and nitrite and gastric cancer risk in Mexico City. Int J Cancer. 2009 September 15; 125(6): 1424-1430. 2009. (link)
Higdon JV, Delage B, Williams DE, et al. Cruciferous Vegetables and Human Cancer Risk: Epidemiologic Evidence and Mechanistic Basis. Pharmacol Res. 2007 March; 55(3): 224-236. 2007. (link)
Hodge G, Davis S, Rice M, Tapp H, Saxon B, Revesz T. Garlic compounds selectively kill childhood pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia cells in vitro without reducing T-cell function: Potential therapeutic use in the treatment of ALL. Biologics. 2008 Mar;2(1):143-9. PMID: 19707437 (link)
Hu J, Straub J, Xiao D, et al. Phenethyl isothiocyanate, a cancer chemopreventive constituent of cruciferous vegetables, inhibits cap-dependent translation by regulating the level and phosphorylation of 4E-BP1. Cancer Res. 2007 Apr 15;67(8):3569-73. 2007. (link)
Karim et al., “Renal handling of NH4+ in relation to the control of acid-base balance by the kidney,” Journal of Nephrology (March 2002).
Larsson SC, Andersson SO, Johansson JE, et al. Fruit and vegetable consumption and risk of bladder cancer: a prospective cohort study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2008 Sep;17(9):2519-22. 2008. (link)
Maximilian Zeyda and Thomas M. Stulnig, “Obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance—a mini-review,” Gerontology (April 2009).
Park et al., “Association between the markers of metabolic acid load and higher all-cause and cardiovascular mortality in a general population with preserved renal function,” Journal of Hypertension Research (March 2015).
Ribeiro et al., “Buffer therapy for cancer,” Journal of Nutrition & Food Sciences (April 2012).
Silberstein JL, Parsons JK. Evidence-based principles of bladder cancer and diet. Urology. 2010 Feb;75(2):340-6. 2010.
Thompson CA, Habermann TM, Wang AH, et al. Antioxidant intake from fruits, vegetables and other sources and risk of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma: the Iowa Women’s Health Study. Int J Cancer. 2010 Feb 15;126(4):992-1003. 2010. (link)
Tarraga Lopez PJ, Albero JS, and Rodriguez-Montes JA. Primary and secondary prevention of colorectal cancer. Clin Med Insights Gastroenterol. 2014 Jul 14;7:33-46. (link)
Zhang et al., “Consumption of fruits and vegetables and risk of renal cell carcinoma: a meta-analysis of observational studies,” Oncotarget (April 2017).
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