Baking Soda & Cancer (The Last Laugh)

Dr Mark Pagel

University of Arizona Cancer Center member Dr. Mark Pagel will receive a $2 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to study the effectiveness of personalized baking soda therapy to treat breast cancer. In other words, clinical trials on the use of oral sodium bicarbonate for breast cancer treatments are about to start![1] Obviously there are people in the know who have understood that sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), that same stuff that can save a person’s life in the emergency room in a heartbeat, is a primary cancer treatment option of the safest and most effective kind.

Of course I feel vindicated for everything I wrote in Sodium Bicarbonate – Rich Man’s Poor Man’s Cancer Treatment, which still stands as the only full medical review on the subject of using simple baking soda in the practice of medicine. When taken orally with water, especially water with high magnesium content, and when used transdermally in medicinal baths, sodium bicarbonate becomes a first-line medicinal for the treatment of cancer, kidney disease, diabetes, influenza and even the common cold. And importantly, it is also a powerful buffer against radiation exposure, so everyone should be up to speed on its use. Everybody’s physiology is under heavy nuclear attack from strong radioactive winds that are circling the northern hemisphere.

Actually it is no surprise that a University of Arizona researcher received this grant because there has been cancer research going on for years there. Dr. Robert J. Gillies and his colleagues have already demonstrated that pre-treatment of mice with sodium bicarbonate results in the alkalinization of the area around tumors. The same researchers reported that bicarbonate increases tumor pH and also inhibits spontaneous metastases in mice with breast cancer.[2] It also reduces the rate of lymph node involvement.

I recently published about fungal infections, and breast cancer has been found to be associated with increased frequency of mold-fermented cheese consumption.[3] Fungi produce toxic metabolites called mycotoxins[4] that can cause cancer. Aflatoxin is a mycotoxin with carcinogenic potency that is found in inferior peanut butter and other nut and dairy products. Researchers in 1993 examined human breast cancer tissue and found significant carcinogenic aflatoxin within the cancer tissue implicating aflatoxin and thus fungus as a cause of breast cancer.[5]

The pH level of our internal fluids affects every cell in our body.
Chronic over-acidity corrodes body tissue, and if left unchecked
will interrupt all cellular activities and functions. In other words,
over-acidity interferes with life itself.
It is at the root of cancer.

Sodium bicarbonate medical treatments are the time honored method to “speed up” the return of the body’s bicarbonate levels to normal. Sodium bicarbonate happens to be one of our most useful medicines as it treats the basic acid-alkaline axis of human physiology.

The pH of our tissues and body fluids is crucial and central because it affects and mirrors the state of our health or our inner cleanliness. The closer the pH is to 7.35-7.45, the higher our level of health and wellbeing. Staying within this range dramatically increases our ability to resist acute illnesses like colds and flues as well as the onset of cancer and other diseases. Keeping our pH within a healthy range also involves necessary lifestyle and dietary changes that will protect us over the long term while the use of sodium bicarbonate gives us a jump-start toward increased alkalinity.

The pH scale is like a thermometer showing increases and decreases in the acid and alkaline content of fluids. Deviations above or below a 7.35-7.45 pH range in the tightly controlled blood can signal potentially serious and dangerous symptoms or states of disease. When the body can no longer effectively neutralize and eliminate the acids, it relocates them within the body’s extra-cellular fluids and connective tissue cells directly compromising cellular integrity. Conversely when the body becomes too alkaline from too much bicarbonate in the blood, metabolic alkalosis occurs, which can lead to severe consequences if not corrected quickly.[6]

Jon Barron presents a way of looking at pH that opens up one of the major benefits of alkaline water:

Hydrogen ions tie up oxygen. That means that the more acid a liquid is, the less available the oxygen in it. Every cell in our body requires oxygen for life and to maintain optimum health. Combine that with what we know about hydrogen ions and we see that the more acid the blood (the lower its pH), the less oxygen is available for use by the cells. Without going into a discussion of the chemistry involved, just understand that it’s the same mechanism involved when acid rain “kills” a lake. The fish literally suffocate to death because the acid in the lake “binds up” all of the available oxygen. It’s not that the oxygen has gone anywhere; it’s just no longer available. Conversely, if you raise the pH of the lake (make it more alkaline), oxygen is now available and the lake comes back to life. Incidentally, it’s worth noting that cancer is related to an acid environment (lack of oxygen)—the higher the pH (the more oxygen present in the cells of the body), the harder it is for cancer to thrive.

Understanding this is important for two reasons: (1) it reveals one of the primary benefits of alkaline water—more “available” oxygen in the system and (2) it explains why alkaline water helps fight cancer.

The ocean, the mother of all life, has an average pH of about 8.1.
The ideal pH for blood sits at about 7.4, slightly alkaline—not acidic.
Jon Barron

Barron concludes:

If you’re eating well and living cleanly, then yes, you want to drink water with a naturally occurring pH only slightly above neutral. However, if you are eating the typical Western diet, high in meat, grains, sodas, and sugars that acidify the body, then you have a different problem. Your pH balance is now so far out of normal that you must go beyond normal in the other direction to counter it. My recommendation for daily drinking water pH is about 7.5-8—depending on how acid forming your diet is. Long-term consumption of higher pH water should be reserved for special circumstances. The most famous mountain waters in the world, waters renowned for their healing properties, are highly alkaline. I’m referring to the waters coming down from the Himalayas, and specifically to the waters of the Hunza Valley, which have a pH that runs between 9 and 11.

One does not have to be a doctor to practice pH medicine. Every practitioner of the healing arts and every mother and father needs to understand how to use sodium bicarbonate. Bicarbonate deficiency is a real problem that deepens with age so it really does pay to understand and appreciate what baking soda is all about.

[1] Baking Soda Might Have Potential Against Cancer:

[3] One sample study is by Le, et al. (1986), in a French case-control study of 1,010 breast cancer cases and 1,950 controls with nonmalignant diseases, found that breast cancer was found to be associated with increased frequency of mold fermented cheese consumption.

[4] Going, et al. (1990) found that weddellite (calcium oxalate) crystals are present in calcifications found in the breast tissue of patients with breast cancer. Calcium oxalate crystals are formed when calcium binds with oxalic acid. Oxalic acid is a mycotoxin that can be produced by a number of different fungal species. Some fungi produce such large amounts of oxalic acid that they are used for commercial production of chemicals. Aspergillus niger fungal infection in human lungs produces large amounts of oxalic acid.

[5] Researchers examined human DNA from a variety of tissues and organs to identify and quantify aflatoxin DNA-adducts. Such adducts are considered to be proof of the mycotoxin’s presence in a particular tissue.Their finding? “Tumor tissues had higher aflatoxin-adduct levels than did normal tissue from the same individual.”


Do Medications Really Expire

Does the expiration date on a bottle of a medication mean anything? If a bottle of Tylenol, for example, says something like “Do not use after June 1998,” and it is August 2002, should you take the Tylenol? Should you discard it? Can you get hurt if you take it? Will it simply have lost its potency and do you no good?

In other words, are drug manufacturers being honest with us when they put an expiration date on their medications, or is the practice of dating just another drug industry scam, to get us to buy new medications when the old ones that purportedly have “expired” are still perfectly good?

These are the pressing questions I investigated after my mother-in-law recently said to me, “It doesn’t mean anything,” when I pointed out that the Tylenol she was about to take had “expired” four years and a few months ago. I was a bit mocking in my pronouncement – feeling superior that I had noticed the chemical corpse in her cabinet – but she was equally adamant in her reply, and is generally very sage about medical issues.

So I gave her a glass of water with the purportedly “dead” drug, of which she took two capsules for a pain in the upper back. About a half hour later she reported the pain seemed to have eased up a bit. I said “You could be having a placebo effect,” not wanting to simply concede she was right about the drug, and also not actually knowing what I was talking about. I was just happy to hear that her pain had eased, even before we had our evening cocktails and hot tub dip (we were in “Leisure World,” near Laguna Beach, CA, where the hot tub is bigger than most Manhattan apartments, and “Heaven” as generally portrayed, would be raucous by comparison).

Upon my return to NYC and high-speed connection, I immediately scoured the medical databases and general literature for the answer to my question about drug expiration labeling. And voila, no sooner than I could say “Screwed again by the pharmaceutical industry,” I had my answer. Here are the simple facts:

First, the expiration date, required by law in the United States, beginning in 1979, specifies only the date the manufacturer guarantees the full potency and safety of the drug – it does not mean how long the drug is actually “good” or safe to use. Second, medical authorities uniformly say it is safe to take drugs past their expiration date – no matter how “expired” the drugs purportedly are. Except for possibly the rarest of exceptions, you won’t get hurt and you certainly won’t get killed. A contested example of a rare exception is a case of renal tubular damage purportedly caused by expired tetracycline (reported by G. W. Frimpter et al., in the Journal of the American Medical Association, JAMA, 184:111, 1963). This outcome (disputed by other scientists) was supposedly caused by a chemical transformation of the active ingredient. Third, studies show that expired drugs may lose some of their potency over time, from as little as 5% or less to 50% or more (though usually much less than the latter). Even 10 years after the “expiration date,” most drugs have a good deal of their original potency. So wisdom dictates that if your life does depend on an expired drug, and you must have 100% or so of its original strength, you should probably toss it and get a refill, in accordance with the cliché, “better safe than sorry.” If your life does not depend on an expired drug – such as that for headache, hay fever, or menstrual cramps – take it and see what happens. One of the largest studies ever conducted that supports the above points about “expired drug” labeling was done by the U.S. military 15 years ago, according to a feature story in the Wall Street Journal (March 29, 2000), reported by Laurie P. Cohen. The military was sitting on a $1 billion stockpile of drugs and facing the daunting process of destroying and replacing its supply every two to three years, so it began a testing program to see if it could extend the life of its inventory. The testing, conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, ultimately covered more than 100 drugs, prescription and over-the-counter. The results showed that about 90% of them were safe and effective as far as 15 years past their original expiration date.

In light of these results, a former director of the testing program, Francis Flaherty, said he concluded that expiration dates put on by manufacturers typically have no bearing on whether a drug is usable for longer. Mr. Flaherty noted that a drug maker is required to prove only that a drug is still good on whatever expiration date the company chooses to set. The expiration date doesn’t mean, or even suggest, that the drug will stop being effective after that, nor that it will become harmful. “Manufacturers put expiration dates on for marketing, rather than scientific, reasons,” said Mr. Flaherty, a pharmacist at the FDA until his retirement in 1999. “It’s not profitable for them to have products on a shelf for 10 years. They want turnover.”

The FDA cautioned there isn’t enough evidence from the program, which is weighted toward drugs used during combat, to conclude most drugs in consumers’ medicine cabinets are potent beyond the expiration date. Joel Davis, however, a former FDA expiration-date compliance chief, said that with a handful of exceptions – notably nitroglycerin, insulin and some liquid antibiotics – most drugs are probably as durable as those the agency has tested for the military. “Most drugs degrade very slowly,” he said. “In all likelihood, you can take a product you have at home and keep it for many years, especially if it’s in the refrigerator.” Consider aspirin. Bayer AG puts two-year or three-year dates on aspirin and says that it should be discarded after that. However, Chris Allen, a vice president at the Bayer unit that makes aspirin, said the dating is “pretty conservative;” when Bayer has tested four-year-old aspirin, it remained 100% effective, he said. So why doesn’t Bayer set a four-year expiration date? Because the company often changes packaging, and it undertakes “continuous improvement programs,” Mr. Allen said. Each change triggers a need for more expiration-date testing, and testing each time for a four-year life would be impractical. Bayer has never tested aspirin beyond four years, Mr. Allen said. But Jens Carstensen has. Dr. Carstensen, professor emeritus at the University of Wisconsin’s pharmacy school, who wrote what is considered the main text on drug stability, said, “I did a study of different aspirins, and after five years, Bayer was still excellent. Aspirin, if made correctly, is very stable.

Okay, I concede. My mother-in-law was right, once again. And I was wrong, once again, and with a wiseacre attitude to boot. Sorry mom. Now I think I’ll take a swig of the 10-year dead package of Alka Seltzer in my medicine chest – to ease the nausea I’m feeling from calculating how many billions of dollars the pharmaceutical industry bilks out of unknowing consumers every year who discard perfectly good drugs and buy new ones because they trust the industry’s “expiration date labeling.”