As we turn the calendar from April to May, we discover that April is not the only month when national health promotion days focus on cancer. In the United Kingdom, May 13 – 19 is Cancer Prevention Week. In The United States, May is Skin Cancer Detection and Awareness Month and Brain Tumor Awareness Month—and May 22nd is the American Cancer Society’s 100th Birthday.
It’s perhaps fitting, then, that our series of blogs dealing with cancer has spilled over from April into May. Obviously, the disease demands some sustained attention.
In last week’s blog, we noted that (according to the medical maverick whose work we are profiling here) cancer thrives in an oxygen-deprived environment. It was also his professional opinion that cancer thrives in an acidic environment.
Our medical maverick was therefore concerned about monitoring his patients’ pH levels. This may sound a bit wacky to anyone who understands medicine and human physiology, but bear with us.
To understand the role of pH in cancer, let’s first review some high school science and ask a fundamental question: What is pH? Well—it’s a measure of exactly how acidic or alkaline (basic) a liquid is. The scale of measurement extends from 0.0 to 14.0.
A pH of 0.0 indicates the liquid is completely acidic, and a pH of 14.0 indicates the liquid is completely alkaline (basic). A pH right in the middle at 7.0 is neutral; anything below 7.0 is acidic and anything above 7.0 is alkaline.
Pure water is neutral at 7.0, but mix an acidic substance such as lemon juice or vinegar with it, and the water becomes acidic. Mix a basic substance such as lye or milk of magnesia with the water, and it becomes alkaline.
In the human body, pH levels vary. Here are three examples:
- Stomach pH normally ranges from 1.35 to 3.5; that is, it’s acidic (low pH). The acidic environment of the stomach aids digestion and also protects against harmful organisms that may have been ingested; most organisms are killed by the acid.
- In contrast, the environment of the small intestine is alkaline (high pH). After food passes through the acidic environment of the stomach into the alkaline environment of the small intestine, organisms that may have survived the acidity of the stomach can be destroyed by the alkalinity of the small intestine.
- Blood pH is slightly alkaline at a narrow, tightly controlled range of 7.35 to 7.45 (slightly more alkaline than pure water). Healthcare professionals know that the tiniest change in blood pH can lead to serious illness and even death, so it’s pretty safe to say that if you’re breathing and walking around, your body is effectively using a variety of mechanisms to keep your blood pH where it should be. It’s also pretty safe to say that the foods you eat have no significant effect on blood pH.
When you consider all these variables plus the fact that foods have little effect on blood pH, you might ask why our medical maverick was interested in pH at all.
Ah! Well—here’s where he departed from many of his colleagues: He was interested in the pH of cells as measured by a patient’s saliva—not blood pH. Measuring each patient’s saliva pH was his tool for determining:
- How difficult it would be to turn that person’s cancer around
- How well his treatment was working for each patient
The test is really quite simple, and you can do it yourself:
In the mid-morning, about 10:00 a.m., and at least two hours after breakfast or brushing your teeth, rinse your mouth well with plain water and swallow. Then spit a small amount of saliva onto a clean spoon, and test the saliva with a pH test strip (readily available at pharmacies or over the internet).
Once immersed in the saliva, the test paper will turn color. You can then compare it to a color chart that comes with the test paper. The colors on the chart correspond to pH levels written beside the colors, so you can determine the pH level of your saliva and whether it is acidic or alkaline.
Because the results can vary a bit, run the test two or three times on two or three consecutive mornings, and record the results.
Here’s what to look for in the readings:
- A pH level of 7.4 is alkaline and normal for saliva
- A pH level of 7.0 is neutral
- A pH level below 7.0 is acidic and indicates the person’s resistance to illness is diminishing
Admittedly, this test is not irrefutably accurate and there is a fair amount of controversy over it, but our medical maverick found it gave him a good indication of what was happening in a cancer patient’s body.
He argued that it’s important to understand that as salivary pH drops, the immune system weakens, and the person becomes more susceptible to cancer and other illnesses.
On the pH scale, a drop of one full number indicates a ten-fold increase in acidic molecules, and a drop of two full numbers indicates a one hundred-fold (10 x 10) increase in acidic molecules. For example:
- A pH of 6.4 is 10 times more acidic than pH 7.4
- A pH of 5.4 is 100 times more acidic than pH 7.4
Therefore, a small drop in pH level indicates a large increase in acidity.
If a person’s salivary pH readings indicated an acidic environment, our medical maverick concentrated on trying to correct this by focusing on Detoxification and Oxygenation, and by building the patient’s Nutritional Foundation.
Without a strong nutritional foundation, he warned, turning around cancer (or any serious illness) can be very difficult or impossible. Even if the cancer can be eradicated once, the chances of its returning are increased if a patient’s nutritional foundation is weak—and doctors know that when cancer returns, the situation always is more precarious than the first time.
Our book Eat to Save Your Life details the foods and food supplements that are needed to build a strong nutritional foundation. When it comes to choosing supplements, our medical maverick’s professional opinion was that (with the exception of EFAs, which come from fish), plant-based supplements are your best option because they provide plant nutrients that cannot be duplicated in a lab. He cautioned to choose wisely because not everything in the health food store is safe and effective.
Of course, our medical maverick preferred to prevent cancer in the first place, so he encouraged people to periodically detoxify, regularly oxygenate, occasionally monitor salivary pH, and constantly build a strong nutritional foundation. It was his view that these all are important tools to help people prevent or fight the disease.
Here’s to pH (perfect Health),
Gloria and Jerre