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What Are the Pros and Cons of an Alkaline Diet for Cancer?

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  • Written By: L. Baran
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 14 November 2016
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Fighting cancer is one of the greatest challenges facing the medical profession today. One option explored by some cancer sufferers is following an alkaline diet. Proponents of this approach to cancer treatment suggest that increasing the alkalinity of the body's pH can destroy harmful cancer cells. Many medical professionals caution against the alkaline diet for cancer though, because it encourages the elimination of essential food groups, resulting in vitamin and nutrient deficiencies. Also, the approach has not been sufficiently tested in human studies as of 2011.

There is some scientific evidence to support the theory that certain types of cancer cells replicate faster in acidic environments. Thus, following an alkaline diet could retard the growth of new cancer cells. Supporters of the alkaline diet for cancer report that increasing the alkalinity of body pH can be achieved through simple diet changes. They suggest that foods high in sugar, fat, processed ingredients and animal fats increase acidity, so avoiding these foods could increase the alkalinity in the blood.

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Those who caution against the alkaline diet for cancer state that it is not possible to change the body's pH through diet, since the body has a complex system to maintain pH levels despite changing factors. While there may be very temporary pH changes after eating certain foods, many medical professionals report that these changes cannot last for any significant period of time. Avoiding certain food groups, as a result, will only deprive the body of vital nutrients without little positive effect.

Studies also suggest that cancer cells cannot survive well in environments rich in oxygen. In an alkaline environment, cells are able to maintain higher oxygen levels and more efficiently remove waste products. Subsequently, the alkaline diet for cancer may inhibit the growth of new cancer cells by facilitating an oxygen rich environment. In response to the claims of increased oxygenation, critics of the alkaline diet suggest that changes in oxygen levels are too small to be significant, and that the process of cancer cell multiplication is far more complex than the oxygen theory implies.

It is not advisable to attempt to prevent or treat cancer without guidance from a qualified medical professional. With limited scientific studies regarding the alkaline diet, much of the evidence for its use is anecdotal. Any changes in diet should be discussed with a physician, and regular monitoring is necessary to ensure health choices are in the best interest of each individual patient.

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bythewell
Post 2

@umbra21 - I'm sorry to hear about your aunt. I know it's all too easy to try and beat cancer, whether you have it, or are worried about contracting it.

The thing is though, diet does play such a big role in whether or not people develop cancer. They are always coming out with new research about how this food can stop you from getting it and that food can up your chances.

This alkaline diet is no more radical than some and if it gives someone hope, than why not follow it?

Personally I think you're best off getting lots of fresh fruits and vegetables and trying to exercise and generally living as stress free and healthy as you can but nothing is a guarantee.

umbra21
Post 1

It really makes me sad that people are suggesting cancer patients follow diets like this which have nothing but anecdotal evidence to support them, and little enough of that.

It reminds me of when my aunt had cancer and her daughter was so desperate to cure it that she tried to get her mother to try everything.

It was such a stressful time and all those false promises made it worse.

The worst thing was, after her mother diet she still felt terribly guilty as though if she had only tried hard enough, she might have found the answer.

It's better to really just accept that sometimes there is no answer, except to try and enjoy the time we have left to us.

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