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lemon and bicarbonate of soda, a cure all?

30/11/2014 Lemon and bicarbonate of soda – better than chemo?

The wonderful panacea that is lemon and bicarbonate of soda, according to a post appearing on Facebook, which claims that drinking a glass of this concoction is 10,000 times more powerful than chemo in battling cancer. It is also given as a cure for kidney cysts, ovarian cysts, bee stings and acne, offers relief from arthritis, gout, in fact anything that causes inflammation.

We love the idea that something so simple, cheap and widely available can have incredible health benefits so we thought we would investigate the science behind the claims.

Illness and acidity

Starting with the principles: illnesses closely associated with inflammation ( Gout, arthritis, fibromyalgia pain), cysts, and cancer thrive in an acidic environment. Our modern diets include a lot of acid producing foods – grains, meat, alcohol, coffee dairy products, all lower our bodies’ pH and make it more acidic – whereas drinking water and green smoothies/juices, eating raw vegetables, most nuts and seeds and a lot of fruit are very good, raising the pH into the alkaline.

Replacing processed foods with fresh vegetables and healthy snacks can also aid weight loss that is steady, as with drinking more water;  advised for performance of the brain as well as proper functioning of the body.

Test your pH

The pH scale ranges from 1 to 14, with the most alkaline being 14, and the most acid being 1. Normal body pH is around 6.8-7.0. There are several ways to test your body for acidity levels.

Litmus paper can indicate whereabouts your body is on the acid-alkaline scale, pink litmus stays pink and blue litmus turns to pink when exposed to acid, the opposite is true for alkaline subtances.

The spice turmeric turns red at 6.8 and above in alkaline solutions. If your saliva or urine is acidic it will remain yellow when mixed together.  Dissolve some turmeric powder in methanol and add drops of your saliva or urine.

Alternatively pH testing strips are widely available.

Cancer – a difference of opinion

Cancer cells – Whether an acidic environment causes cancer cells or just that the cells create an acid environment is much debated, David Kelson, M.D., author of the book “Principles and Practice of Gastrointestinal Oncology.” claims that it is the latter and a diet rich in alkaline foods is not going to have much effect, whilst not consuming animal products and grains will be detrimental to health.

That said there are a lot, and that is a LOT of papers saying quite the opposite. Not about the cause of cancer, but certainly about the positive affects that consuming bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice.

Hayley Mills, child star and actress ditched chemotherapy in favour of low acid, sugar and dairy free diet as well as taking up meditation and exercise, she says that she now feels great as well as being cancer free. See this website for more success stories on cancer survival using alternative methods – chrisbeatcancer.com

Cancer cells actually feed on sugars, their sole source of fuel being glucose. However, they can create glucose out of lactic acid too which is found in lots of animal products – also featuring on the acid list of foods.

This interesting study by Carol and Harris Bernstein in the UA’s department of cell biolgy and anatomy, has shown quite conclusively that Oxycholic acid, Bile acid causes the formation of cancers in mice, which hints strongly at high fat diets causing cancerous cells.

Coffee good, not bad

The virtues of  coffee are maintained as it contains excellent antioxidants which can help to counter the effects of bile acid on the occurrence of colon cancer, along with blueberries and eggplant.

Here is an interesting slant on coffee being useful in the battle against cancer, although it’s not for everyone! Click here for an informative video on coffee enemas.

Bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice

Why lemon juice?

Lemon juice is acidic but it creates an alkaline environment inside your body after being metabolised. It relieves digestive complaints such as acid reflux/heartburn, constipation, bloating and nausea. Lemon juice also prevents kidney stones, is high in vitamin C and B, is a natural anticeptic. A 60ml shot glass of lemon juice – before brushing your teeth can help to dissolve kidney stones, or drinking the juice diluted with water before meals can avoid indigestion. Unfortunately these benefits are not shared with orange juice, which causes acid reflux and has no effect on existing kidney stones.

However, a paper by Poulose et al [1] has positively shown that both lemon and orange citrus inhibits the formation of breast cancer cells in mice, whilst another study has shown a positive effect in humans [2][3][4].

Why bicarbonate of soda?

Bicarbonate of soda is an alkaline substance and remains so in the body.  There are many success stories of beating illness using this incredible ingredient.

Bearing the additive number E500 it is found dissolved in water in natural springs. The Egyptians used it for cleaning however it was more recently extracted for general use in the 1800s, primarily used for preserving food, especially fish – according to Wikipedia, click here for a more in depth look at the history of baking soda.

in 2003 Raghunand et al showed how drinking sodium bicarbonate resulted in the alkalisation of the area around cancer tumours resulting in a cessation of new metastases (click here for the link).

One last paper that offers some real hope as far as bicarbonate health potential goes is from Robey et al – bicarbonate increases tumor pH and inhibits spontaneous metastases [5].

Dose and frequency

All the amazing health benefits are gained from simply drinking a glass of water that has the juice of a lemon and 0.5 of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda mixed into it – mix the lemon and the bicarb first, so it all fizzes then add the water. The recommendation is to drink it in one go upon rising in the morning.

Trojan horse

Send that cancer shrinking goodness straight to the heart of cancer cells by mixing it with maple syrup – the theory is that the glucose is hungered by the cells – directing the bicarbonate of soda into the enemy camp, bullseye. There are reports of this method working on tumours, shrinking them until they simply die. The recipe is 3 parts maple syrup to 1 part bicarbonate of soda, mixed together over a low heat for 5-10 minutes and then consuming 3 teaspoons a day for 1-2 months (Please follow this link for a great article by Alison Biggar).


There does seem to be a lot of evidence, both in scientific papers and personal success stories advocating the use of bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice as a prevention and a cure for a lot of ills. It would seem that an alkaline diet is just another way of describing the common sense diet that includes a lot of fresh vegetables and fruit, featuring a lot of raw foods and moving away from processed items whilst consuming more water.


1 Citrus Limonoids Induce Apoptosis in Human SH-SY5Y Neuroblastoma Cancer Cells

Shibu M. Poulose, Edward D. Harris and Bhimanagouda S. Patil


2 Limonoids and their anti-proliferative and anti-aromatase properties in human breast cancer cells.

Jinhee Kim, G. K. Jayaprakasha*, Amit Vikram, Bhimanagouda S. Patil


3 Cancer Chemopreventive Properties of Citrus Limonoids

Jinhee Kim, G. K. Jayaprakasha*, Amit Vikram, Bhimanagouda S. Patil


4 Biochemical and Physiological Evaluations of Limonoids as Potential Cancer Destroyers

Vahdettin Bayazit and Vahit Konar
5 Bicarbonate increases tumor pH and inhibits spontaneous metastases.

Robey IF1, Baggett BK, Kirkpatrick ND, Roe DJ, Dosescu J, Sloane BF, Hashim AI, Morse DL, Raghunand N, Gatenby RA, Gillies RJ.