Cancer and baking soda

Cancer and baking soda

According to some research, baking soda (NaHCO 3 or baking soda) may help reduce the growth and spread of cancer . What’s true about all this? Could baking soda be helpful in curing cancer?

Blood pH, alkaline diet and cancer

Not everyone knows that the blood pH CANNOT undergo too sudden swings and that, to stay healthy, the acid-base regulation should keep it between 7.35 and 7.45. The balance of blood pH within this small range is ensured by various physiological regulation systems, active above all at the respiratory, blood and urinary level.

Recently some insights have hypothesized that the chronic lowering of the systemic pH can negatively affect the state of health, predisposing to problems such as osteoporosis , reduced physical efficiency and premature aging. Let it be clear, however, that in most cases it is NOT the human body that is defective in regulating blood pH; rather, it is the modern man’s lifestyle that compromises its functionality. In particular, the lowering ( acidification ) of blood pH is promoted by some factors, among which: acidic diet ( too much protein , lack of magnesium , potassium and calcium , excess alcohol, excessnerves , poor or insufficient hydration – see PRAL ), smoking , excess sodium , etc. The negative effects of such a condition could be: excessive excretion of urinary calcium and impairment of various bodily functions up to the INCREASE OF THE RISK OF ONset OF CANCER. All in all, these hypotheses appear well founded, provided one considers that the impact of similar eating habits on blood pH is not (or at least not the only) responsible factor; in fact, an “acidic” diet is also low in fresh fruits and vegetables and high in protein and fatanimals, as well as exceeding with calories , salt , alcohol and sugars ; it is known that similar eating habits, beyond the impact on blood pH, can favor * the onset of many diseases, including some forms of cancer.

It is no coincidence that sodium bicarbonate is a common ingredient in various alternative anticancer therapies (highly discussed and controversial because they lack scientifically validated efficacy ), where, however, it is often included in more complex formulations, including cocktails of different substances; for example, high-dose vitamin C , selenium , quercitin and other antioxidants , citric acid , THC (cannabinoid), curcumin , amygdalin , melatonin ….

* PLEASE NOTE: neoplasms have a complex, typically multifactorial etiology , i.e. they can be caused or favored by a multitude of different factors (e.g. ultraviolet rays , ionizing radiation , tobacco, alcohol, food carcinogens and progcarcinogens, certain viruses or bacteria etc.), which can interact with each other and which, in any case, must defeat the body’s defense mechanisms in order to cause cancer .

It is therefore irrational to trace the causes of cancer to a single factor, especially if this is not accepted as a carcinogen by the international scientific community (as in the case of the chronic acidity tendency of the blood pH).

Potential cancer benefits

If bad eating habits can lower blood pH to the lower normal limits, good habits should be able to raise it or otherwise keep it at optimal values, helping to prevent the onset of cancer. In aid of alkaline foods , some researchers have studied the therapeutic potential of an extremely widespread and cheap molecule: sodium bicarbonate (NaHCO 3 ) in the treatment of cancer.

Below we report the details of the most important study in support of the usefulness of sodium bicarbonate in the treatment of cancer, a study that has been taken up and extremely dangerously and unconsciously magnified by various online sites.

The experimental ” Bicarbonate increases tumor pH and inhibits spontaneous metastases” carried out by the Arizona Cancer Center (University of Arizona) 1 has shown that the IDEAL extracellular pH for the growth of cancer (probably present in circumstances of dysplasia , neoplasia and metastases ) is ACID type because:

  • Increases the glucose metabolism of the neoplastic tissue
  • Decreases blood perfusion to the benefit of tumor growth
  • Stimulates the invasiveness and metastatic potential of cancer.

These findings are in agreement with those of other research/scholars; several experimental studies have in fact demonstrated that the extracellular pH of tumors is typically lower than that of healthy tissues, and that an acid pH promotes invasive tumor growth in primary and metastatic tumors. In particular , the external pH of solid tumors is acidic as a result of increased glucose metabolism and poor blood perfusion resulting in hypoxia . Other studies 2,3 and others have shown that oral administration of sodium bicarbonate isable to selectively increase the extracellular pH of tumors, improving in some cases the efficacy of some anticancer drugs.

In the same study, the oral administration of sodium bicarbonate was studied in mice with breast cancer , undertaken with the aim of increasing the systemic pH and consequently reducing the peripheral acidity of the neoplasm; the results were positive and after the use of sodium bicarbonate there was a moderation of the formation of spontaneous metastases originating from the breast cancer of the guinea pigs. The therapy also reduced lymph node involvement but did NOT decrease the relative number of circulating tumor cells within the lymphatic stream itself. In addition, the administration of intravenous sodium bicarbonatein other cancer models it has been shown to be useful in the reduction of liver and prostate metastases BUT it has not had any beneficial effect on MELANOMA -type tagumentary impairments .
As can be deduced from this brief summary, the increase in pH and the reduction of acidity by means of sodium bicarbonate have undoubtedly produced a positive effect on the growth and proliferation of breast, lymph node , liver cancer and prostate .

There are, however, critical issues in this study 7 ; for example:

  • treatment had no effect on the primary tumor in any tumor type; it has not proved useful, therefore, to heal the tumor, but only to slow down its spread and reduce its aggressiveness
  • oral sodium bicarbonate therapy produced only a slight increase in pH and was ineffective in inhibiting the growth of large primary tumors, and in reducing the development of metastases in rapidly growing highly aggressive cell lines.
  • The same authors of the study highlighted how the amount of sodium bicarbonate that would be necessary for humans to obtain the same effects observed on guinea pigs would be dangerous for the patient’s health (risk of excessive increase in blood pH), suggesting that it would be preferable the use of proton pump inhibitors

Future research goals

Dr. Pagel and his team are able to monitor tumor pH variations by means of a very special magnetic resonance machine ; thanks to this instrumentation, the research group will further investigate the effects of sodium bicarbonate on cancer in HUMAN patients affected by the pathology in question. Pagel himself underlined in an interview that sodium bicarbonate does not eliminate the tumor, but slows it down and allows anticancer drugs to act more effectively. Indeed Pagel continues, « the administration of bicarbonate is in any case potentially dangerous both because in the long run it can cause irreversible damage to healthy organs, and because the quantity of bicarbonate tolerated by the human bodyit is probably smaller than in the mouse; both because not all tumors produce high levels of acids; therefore the cure could turn out to be worse than the disease » . That’s why researchers argue that using proton pump inhibitors would be more effective and safer than bicarbonate.

Further Criticalities and health hazards

One of the pioneers of alternative anticancer therapies based on the use of sodium bicarbonate, Dr. Tullio Simoncini, was struck off the medical register for having administered the product to patients suffering from neoplastic diseases for therapeutic purposes, advertising its curative effect. discrediting some conventional anticancer therapies, and profiting from them personally. Added to this were heavy sentences for fraud and manslaughter (see more on wikipedia).

This practice, in fact, is considered not only devoid of scientific foundation but even harmful in certain circumstances, to the point of being even fatal if used in high doses.

Furthermore, there are studies that have shown that sodium bicarbonate is completely ineffective 7 , or worse, can increase the growth of certain types of tumors, especially of the urinary tract or stomach 4,5,6 or enhance the carcinogenic effect of other substances..

Ultimately, pending further insights, even hoping to cure cancer by simply taking sodium bicarbonate appears extremely optimistic.

At most, such an intervention could help conventional anticancer drugs in their action.


Essential bibliography :

  1. Bicarbonate increases tumor pH and inhibits spontaneous metastases – Robey IF, Baggett BK, Kirkpatrick ND, Roe DJ, Dosescu J, Sloane BF, Hashim AI, Morse DL, Raghunand N, Gatenby RA, Gillies RJ. – Arizona Cancer Center, University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USA – Cancer Res. 2009 Mar 15;69(6):2260-8. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-5575. Epub 2009 Mar 10.
  2. The potential role of systemic buffers in reducing intratumoral extracellular pH and acid-mediated invasion. Silva AS, Yunes JA, Gillies RJ, Gatenby RA. Cancer Res. 2009 Mar 15;69(6):2677-84. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-2394. Epub 2009 Mar 10.
  3. Enhancement of chemotherapy by manipulation of tumour pH. Br J Cancer. Raghunand N, He X, van Sluis R, Mahoney B, Baggett B, Taylor CW, Paine-Murrieta G, Roe D, Bhujwalla ZM, Gillies RJ. 1999 Jun;80(7):1005-11.
  4. Lina B. A., van Garderen-Hoetmer A. (dicembre 1999). Effect of urinary pH on the progression of urinary bladder tumours. Food and Chemical Toxicology 37 (12): 1159–1166. DOI:10.1016/S0278-6915(99)00111-8. PMID 10654592.
  5. Lina B. A., Woutersen R. A. (settembre 1989). Effects of urinary potassium and sodium ion concentrations and pH on N-butyl-N-(4-hydroxybutyl)nitrosamine-induced urinary bladder carcinogenesis in rats. Carcinogenesis 10 (9): 1733-1736. DOI:10.1093/carcin/10.9.1733. PMID 2548752.
  6. Ehrnström R. A., Bjursten L.M., Ljungberg O., Veress B., Haglund M. E., Lindström C. G., Andersson T. (febbraio 2007). Dietary supplementation with carbonate increases expression of ornithine decarboxylase and proliferation in gastric mucosa in a rat model of gastric cancer. International Journal of Cancer 112 (4): 722-733. DOI:10.1002/ijc.23151. PMID 17960625
  7. Martin NK, Robey IF, Gaffney EA, Gillies RJ, Gatenby RA, Maini PK (marzo 2012). Predicting the safety and efficacy of buffer therapy to raise tumour pHe: an integrative modelling study.. British Journal of Cancer 106 (7): 1280-1287.
  8.  Bicarbonate and dichloroacetate: evaluating pH altering therapies in a mouse model for metastatic breast cancer. Robey IF, Martin NK. BMC Cancer. 2011 Jun 10;11:235. doi: 10.1186/1471-2407-11-235.


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