The starting point for understanding treatments involving acid/alkali balance is the scientific measure called pH (potential Hydrogen). On the pH scale, the value “7” represents a neutral point – a perfect balance between acidic and alkaline tendencies. Values higher than 7 are alkaline, and those lower than 7 are acidic. Acid/alkaline balance is seen as important in the treatment of cancer because of the discovery that cancer cells respire anaerobically: one of the discoveries that won Otto Warburg the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1931. The next step is the realization that acids tend to expel oxygen, whereas alkalis absorb it.
Our bodies maintain our blood at a pH of 7.4 so that the blood can absorb oxygen and transport it around the body. This is done by using alkaline material we absorb in our diet. But if we do not get enough alkaline material in what we eat, the body takes alkali from places where it is stored in the body (for example, the kidneys and the liver) and delivers it to the blood. Doing this affects the performance of other parts of the body that have had to give up their alkalis by making them more acidic than they should be. As they grow increasingly acidic these organs receive less and less oxygen, creating an environment favorable to the growth of cancer cells and unfavorable to the optimum performance of normal cells.
In our diet one of the most important things we consume, relative to maintaining a correct balance between alkalis and acids, is calcium. Calcium has a large number of vital functions in our bodies, but the one that is of greatest importance in the context of cancer is that it reacts with most acids to form a chemical salt and hydrogen. So calcium has the effect of lowering the acid content in our bodies, which in turn promotes the absorption of oxygen: conditions less favorable to the growth of cancerous cells. A number of studies reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the New England Journal of Medicine, American Journal of Clinical Nutrition and other medical journals in the late 1990s all make the huge benefits of a sufficient intake of calcium very clear.
How much is a “sufficient” intake? Almost certainly more than the official Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Some clinical studies have had volunteers taking more than twice the RDA, and benefiting from it. One of the simplest ways to increase your calcium intake is in the form of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) – cheap, readily available and efficient in lowering acidity. But there are many other ways to ensure we replace the alkalis our bodies so urgently need. A diet rich in raw fruit and/or vegetables is a good start. We can help ourselves by cutting down on protein, because protein breaks down primarily into acids when it is digested. The average American eats up to five times more protein a day than is required for good health.
A good way to keep a check on your pH levels is to take a saliva test. To do this you will need some pH paper, which you should be able to source from your pharmacist. After filling your mouth with saliva a couple of times and swallowing it, put some saliva on the strip of paper. The packet will have a color scale to help you interpret the results, but basically, the paper should turn blue.
Remember that we are concerned with balance. If we all lived a life that was balanced in every way we would hardly ever get sick. Some things you can’t control, but your diet – and through it your pH balance – you mostly can.