An alkaline diet, also known as an acid alkaline diet, resembles the diet of our hunter-gatherer ancestors. Consisting of mainly fresh fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes, the alkaline diet typically only includes small amounts of meat and dairy products.
Our bodies digest, absorb and metalbolize the foods we eat and then release either an acid or an alkaline base into the bloodstream. A Western diet, which is high in processed foods and decreased amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables, is more acid producing. Alkaline supporters believe that our diets should reflect a pH level that is alkaline and to maintain a diet which is low in acid-producing foods. Many believe that an alkaline diet can help to lose weight, increase energy levels and reduce the risk of disease and some cancers.¹
It is important to note that there is no specific evidence supporting the use of an alkaline diet or alkaline supplements in cancer.
Bill Henderson first described a diet which he proposed may have the ability to treat cancer in his book “Cancer-Free: Your Guide to Gentle Non-Toxic Healing.” This diet is known as “The Bill Henderson Protocol” (BHP). The BHP recommends restriction of some foods (acid-producing) and including some supplements which will “counter the excess acidity he believes to be a contributing factor in the development of cancer.” Again, we stress that there is little supporting evidence that shows the effectiveness of these diets to treat or prevent cancer.
Professor Justin Stebbing, an oncologist at Bupa Cromwell Hospital stated in an article from the DailyMail that “data indicates that a diet high in fruit and vegetables can improve outcomes for cancer patients going through treatment.” ²
A German study was conducted in 2009 which studied the alkalizing effects of certain supplements. This preliminary research showed that alkalizing supplementation could be useful “if bodily pH does in fact play a role in cancer.” ³
There is no question that an alkaline diet has the ability to greatly benefit health as it stresses the consumption of fresh fruits, vegetables and plant-based foods while discouraging the consumption of processed foods, dairy and meat.
An alkaline diet has also shown to benefit some acid reflux sufferers. RefluxMD suggests that alkaline water could help reduce symtoms of acid reflux disease. “Our hypothesis was that since water has the potential to reduce acid reflux symptoms by a dilution effect, alkaline water (pH 9) might provide an additional benefit to GERD sufferers due to its alkaline nature.” (Twitter: @RefluxMD)
This is especially important considering Gastroesophageal Reflux Diesase (GERD) which, if not properly treated, can lead to an increased risk of Barrett’s Esophagus and esophageal cancer. (Read more: How is heartburn linked to esophageal cancer?)
Before making any changes to your health, it is important to consult your doctor. A nutritionist can also help guide you if you choose to go alkaline. To get your conversation started, take a look at Alkalife’s “Ultimate Acid-Alkaline Food and Drink Chart.” (Twitter: @Alkalife)
Sources: Henderson B. Cancer-Free: Your Guide to Gentle Non-Toxic Healing. 2nd. Booklocker.com; Bangor, ME, USA: 2007. Components of an Anticancer Diet: Dietary Recommendations, Restrictions and Supplements of the Bill Henderson Protocol Copyright © 2011 by Cynthia Mannion,* Stacey Page, Laurie Heilman Bell, and Marja Verhoef. ; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3257729 Konig D., Muser K., Dickhuth H.H., Berg A., Deibert P. Effect of a supplement rich in alkaline minerals on acid-base balance in humans.Nutr. J. 2009;8:23. Brewer, A. Keith PhD, Cancer, Its Nature and a Proposed Treatment, 1997; Brewer Science Library; http://www.mwt.net/~drbrewer/brew_art.htm The ultimate acid-alkaline food and drink chart Alkalife; http://alkalife.com The results are in! Consider drinking alkaline water to relieve your heartburn symptoms!, RefluxMD.com http://www.refluxmd.com/learn/resources/2013-12-27/6607/results-are-consider-drinking-alkaline-water-relieve-your-heartburn