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30 Nov 2017

Understanding Dr. Warburg – Cancer Cells in Alkaline Environments

In the early 1900s, the Nobel-prize winning Dr. Otto Warburg, suggested that cancer cells “live in hypoxic, very low oxygen, and acidic conditions” and derive energy from sugars, by fermenting them in the way yeast does. From this, he theorized that these low-oxygen and highly-acidic conditions cause cancer.

Science has come a long way since then, and we now know that in order for a cancer cell to grow, it relies on the growth of blood vessels, in efforts to provide enough oxygen to metabolize energy. However, the pace of cancer cell growth and division is quicker than the production of oxygen-supplying blood vessels. This results in the inefficient metabolism of its energy supply, and ultimately, lactic acid is produced.

So, it is not the body that is too acidic and gives cancer cells a medium to grow and divide, as Dr. Wargburg had suggested. Rather, it’s the opposite; cancer cells are themselves producing the acidic state.

Although the cancer cell is producing lactic acid, it does not mean that the whole body is becoming acidic. In fact, the body has a very tight set of checks and balances which keeps blood pH between 7.35 – 7.45, or near neutral. It is thus impossible to significantly alter your blood pH with the food you eat.

However, plant-based foods do protect cells from damage, encourage normal cell growth, as well as other processes which help fight cancer and chronic illness. Conversely, high-intakes of acidic foods such as meat and animal proteins, have been linked to inflammation, insulin insensitivity, and increased cell division.

Incorporating more alkaline-type foods is recommended for optimal health. This means a plant-based diet, which aims at receiving at least five servings of fruits and vegetables per day, using whole grains versus refined grains, incorporating beans/legumes more often than meat. Incorporating these dietary habits will limit your intake of acidic foods, increase your intake of alkaline foods, and provide your body with the cancer-fighting nutrients it needs.

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