Diet is the strongest external factor influencing the development and progress of cancer. Studies of diet and cancer point toward the benefits of eating more vegetables, fruits, whole grains and legumes. Foods to avoid are sugar, high calorie “energy-dense foods and drinks”, red and processed meats, and salty processed foods.
Increased risk of cancer is seen with acid-forming diets, which tend to contain excessive animal protein and sodium. The disruption of acid-base balance alters cell metabolism. Although no study clearly proves the connection between cancer and acidosis, “chronic metabolic acidosis” plays a part in the development of cancer. A chronic acid diet results in a hydrogen ion surplus in the body, depletes the body’s bicarbonate stores, and reduces kidney function. A healthy blood pH is 7.42-7.44, but a chronic acid diet produces a more acid pH of 7.36-7.38, putting stress on the cells. (Blood pH can be kept within stricter limits than can urine pH.)
The acidity of food depends on the components of the food. Fruits and vegetables are base-forming, containing citrates and bicarbonates. Animal foods contain sulfur amino acids (methionine and cysteine) which are metabolized to sulfuric acid, a very strong acid. Sodium chloride (table salt) is also acidifying, while potassium and magnesium salts are alkalinizing.
Acidic conditions increase the adrenal gland’s production of cortisol. Cortisol helps people handle stress. Cortisol is beneficial for short periods of time and detrimental over a long time. Low levels of bicarbonate trigger the production of cortisol (under the influence of the pituitary gland). Normally, after a high protein meal (typical of the Western diet), cortisol levels are elevated within hours. Alkalization by reducing the intake of animal proteins, can reduce cortisol level within 24 hours.
Although we don’t have proof of the relationship between cortisol and cancer, it is known that cortisol stimulates the metabolic pathway for tryptophan breakdown. The product of this activity is kynurenine, which may increase cancer risk. Elevated cortisol levels play a role in diabetes and the metabolic syndrome by increasing insulin resistance. Increased insulin resistance from metabolic acidosis is one method by which cortisol could increase the risk of cancer, also. Epidemiologic studies show a connection between insulin resistance and various kinds of cancers.
CONCLUSION: This article addresses ways in which an acidic diet may increase the risk of cancer.
To read the author’s abstract of the article, click on the title of the article. Then, to read the full article, click on the full text icon.
Summary #928. nutrientmedicine