Online Advert- 17th April 2014
We are all familiar with the adverts that bombard us nearly everywhere we go when we are on the internet. Some are just adverts and some are easily dismissible, laughable even, but others are downright dangerous. I am talking about the health adverts, the ‘five things you must eat to stay thin’ or the ‘lies doctors tell you’ adverts. I have avoided discussing them until now as there are so many different ‘alternative’ therapies and it is widely discussed elsewhere.
However, today I was distracted by the opening line in an advert stating that ‘cancer is an acid i.e. lactic acid’ promoted by ‘bestherbalhealth.com.’ This is unequivocally false, cancer is a disease characterised by uncontrollable cell growth leading to tumours which can cause many problems in the body. Unfortunately that was not the worst part of the ‘article’…
The article tries to sell bicarbonate of soda, something most people have used in the kitchen, as an effective treatment for conditions ranging from diabetes to cancer. Their argument is that acids cause disease and bicarbonate of soda can neutralise the offending acids and ‘remove all toxins and acids from all tissues, cells and organs.’ I truly hope that is not the case since many acids are required for healthy body function; most people will have heard of folic acid that is recommended during pregnancy and amino acids which combine to make all the proteins in the body.
The American Cancer Society website has a good page detailing the trend for bicarbonate of soda treatments that are often attributed to, the now unlicensed, Dr Tullio Simoncini and also states that there is very little evidence that bicarbonate of soda can treat cancer. The argument is that cancer cells are oxygen deficient and that increasing oxygen flow to the cancer will kill the cells. They claim that sodium bicarbonate will help to increase oxygen flow.
Whilst it is true that many cancer cells are oxygen deficient this is mainly due to lack of blood vessels in the tumour, therefore increasing oxygen levels in the blood stream would not be effective. Sodium bicarbonate is often used to decrease the acidity of the blood and is sometimes used in wash solutions, again to control the acidity. It has the same role in the human body in controlling the acidity of blood and plasma and is involved in carbon dioxide transport. However, sodium bicarbonate has not been proven to have any anti-proliferative properties against cancer. Additionally treatment with oxygen alone has also not been proven to be effective against cancer although it may be beneficial alongside other conventional therapies, such as alongside radiotherapy to reduce unwanted tissue damage.
Having established that bicarbonate of soda is not an effective anti-cancer therapy it is important to address the source of this advert. The statement in the title suggests that pharmaceutical companies are withholding treatments, or evidence, to line their own pockets. I would suggest that the purveyors of these ‘alternative treatments’ are even worse. Going so far as to invent treatments and surround them with so much pseudo-science that it is impossible to tell the facts from the fiction. I hope that most people would at least seek the advice of a doctor before resisting medical treatment, the increasing popularity of ‘alternative treatments’ is a worrying trend that needs to be prevented.
There is an excellent blog article about alternative treatments on the Cancer Research UK website if you’re interested in finding out more.