Water

gringojayMay 1, 2009

Am still less than a year online, so perspective limited.

Another poster mentioned water pH, which reminded me of the popularization of "functional" alkaline water.

Anybody know how alkaline water is able to function once imbibed?

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apollog
  • >> ? Do I rephrase one of your ideas accurately by saying the following....?
    An alkaline diet is not about altering the blood pH - & is more about ingesting alkaline mineral rich foods, with the goal being to increase these minerals for internal biochemical activity.
    The reduced proportion

ingested of what are considered acid foods is to limit their metabolic byproducts, in order to let other biochemical activity predominate - & not an attempt to create a static blood pH change.

Yes - you boiled it down to a very concise statement. Thank you.

There may be some people out there that continue to insist that 'the blood is made acid' or the 'blood is made alkaline' - but this is not what is literally happening if we measure it. The fact that their theory is not 100% correct does not mean that the practice is not quite beneficial.

By using the distilled definition of an alkaline diet, it is possible to reconcile the practice with science, and the diet is no longer flakey or eccentric - it is more in line with what many people have been saying for years ... primarily more fruits and veggies, less meat, somewhat less grain.

Alkaline water is no problem if available - I once lived in a limestone area where the pH of tap water was very alkaline (9.1!). Other places might have other types of alkaline minerals in their water. But one does not need any particular form of calcium or magnesium ... it can come from a variety of sources, doesn't have to be water, could be in various foods, could be in a inexpensive supplement (Dad took bicarb nightly for a year after his kidney stone incident; that must have set us back a whole 5 dollars, although the sodium could be a concern for some people). There is no expensive, name brand product that is clearly better than common sources - the body doesn't care, as long as it gets enough.

    Bookmark   December 2, 0002 at 12:07AM
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apollog
  • >> ? Do I rephrase one of your ideas accurately by saying the following....?
    An alkaline diet is not about altering the blood pH - & is more about ingesting alkaline mineral rich foods, with the goal being to increase these minerals for internal biochemical activity.
    The reduced proportion

ingested of what are considered acid foods is to limit their metabolic byproducts, in order to let other biochemical activity predominate - & not an attempt to create a static blood pH change.

Yes - you boiled it down to a very concise statement. Thank you.

There may be some people out there that continue to insist that 'the blood is made acid' or the 'blood is made alkaline' - but this is not what is literally happening if we measure it. The fact that their theory is not 100% correct does not mean that the practice is not quite beneficial.

By using the distilled definition of an alkaline diet, it is possible to reconcile the practice with science, and the diet is no longer flakey or eccentric - it is more in line with what many people have been saying for years ... primarily more fruits and veggies, less meat, somewhat less grain.

Alkaline water is no problem if available - I once lived in a limestone area where the pH of tap water was very alkaline (9.1!). Other places might have other types of alkaline minerals in their water. But one does not need any particular form of calcium or magnesium ... it can come from a variety of sources, doesn't have to be water, could be in various foods, could be in a inexpensive supplement (Dad took bicarb nightly for a year after his kidney stone incident; that must have set us back a whole 5 dollars, although the sodium could be a concern for some people). There is no expensive, name brand product that is clearly better than common sources - the body doesn't care, as long as it gets enough.

    Bookmark   December 2, 0002 at 12:07AM
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apollog
  • >> ? Do I rephrase one of your ideas accurately by saying the following....?
    An alkaline diet is not about altering the blood pH - & is more about ingesting alkaline mineral rich foods, with the goal being to increase these minerals for internal biochemical activity.
    The reduced proportion

ingested of what are considered acid foods is to limit their metabolic byproducts, in order to let other biochemical activity predominate - & not an attempt to create a static blood pH change.

Yes - you boiled it down to a very concise statement. Thank you.

There may be some people out there that continue to insist that 'the blood is made acid' or the 'blood is made alkaline' - but this is not what is literally happening if we measure it. The fact that their theory is not 100% correct does not mean that the practice is not quite beneficial.

By using the distilled definition of an alkaline diet, it is possible to reconcile the practice with science, and the diet is no longer flakey or eccentric - it is more in line with what many people have been saying for years ... primarily more fruits and veggies, less meat, somewhat less grain.

Alkaline water is no problem if available - I once lived in a limestone area where the pH of tap water was very alkaline (9.1!). Other places might have other types of alkaline minerals in their water. But one does not need any particular form of calcium or magnesium ... it can come from a variety of sources, doesn't have to be water, could be in various foods, could be in a inexpensive supplement (Dad took bicarb nightly for a year after his kidney stone incident; that must have set us back a whole 5 dollars, although the sodium could be a concern for some people). There is no expensive, name brand product that is clearly better than common sources - the body doesn't care, as long as it gets enough.

    Bookmark   December 2, 0002 at 12:07AM
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apollog
  • >> ? Do I rephrase one of your ideas accurately by saying the following....?
    An alkaline diet is not about altering the blood pH - & is more about ingesting alkaline mineral rich foods, with the goal being to increase these minerals for internal biochemical activity.
    The reduced proportion

ingested of what are considered acid foods is to limit their metabolic byproducts, in order to let other biochemical activity predominate - & not an attempt to create a static blood pH change.

Yes - you boiled it down to a very concise statement. Thank you.

There may be some people out there that continue to insist that 'the blood is made acid' or the 'blood is made alkaline' - but this is not what is literally happening if we measure it. The fact that their theory is not 100% correct does not mean that the practice is not quite beneficial.

By using the distilled definition of an alkaline diet, it is possible to reconcile the practice with science, and the diet is no longer flakey or eccentric - it is more in line with what many people have been saying for years ... primarily more fruits and veggies, less meat, somewhat less grain.

Alkaline water is no problem if available - I once lived in a limestone area where the pH of tap water was very alkaline (9.1!). Other places might have other types of alkaline minerals in their water. But one does not need any particular form of calcium or magnesium ... it can come from a variety of sources, doesn't have to be water, could be in various foods, could be in a inexpensive supplement (Dad took bicarb nightly for a year after his kidney stone incident; that must have set us back a whole 5 dollars, although the sodium could be a concern for some people). There is no expensive, name brand product that is clearly better than common sources - the body doesn't care, as long as it gets enough.

    Bookmark   December 2, 0002 at 12:07AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

This site looks into claims made for "alkaline water".

"The idea that one must consume alkaline water to neutralize the effects of acidic foods is ridiculous; we get rid of excess acid by exhaling carbon dioxide.
If you do drink alkaline water, its alkalinity is quickly removed by the highly acidic gastric fluid in the stomach.
Uptake of water occurs mainly in the intestine, not in the stomach. But when stomach contents enter the intestine, they are neutralized and made alkaline by the pancreatic secretions  so all the water you drink eventually becomes alkaline anyway.
The claims about the health benefits of drinking alkaline water are not supported by credible scientific evidence."

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 11:24AM
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apollog

>> The idea that one must consume alkaline water to neutralize the effects of acidic foods is ridiculous; we get rid of excess acid by exhaling carbon dioxide.

Another factual error from eric - we only get rid of some acids (weak, organic acids) exhaling carbon dioxide. Phosphoric, hydrochloric, and many other stronger acids cannot be converted to carbon dioxide, and they cannot be exhaled in any significant amount.

The notion of alkaline water, or an alkaline diet, is not just about pH - it also proposes a shift to consuming more calcium, magnesium and potassium - fruits and vegetables are particularly good sources. These form alkaline compounds.

No need to buy 'alkaline water', which is likely overpriced (as all bottled water and sugar-water beverages are) ... changing the diet to include more fruits and vegetables and an inexpensive calcium/magnesium supplement will do the same thing for less.

Here's one study that found that an alkaline mineral water reduced kidney stone formation! Of course, this wouldn't help eric, as he just exhales the kidney stones as carbon dioxide!! ;)

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the effect of a mineral water rich in magnesium (337 mg/l), calcium (232 mg/l) and bicarbonate (3388 mg/l) on urine composition and the risk of calcium oxalate crystallization.

CONCLUSIONS: The magnesium and bicarbonate content of the mineral water resulted in favorable changes in urinary pH, magnesium and citrate excretion, inhibitors of calcium oxalate stone formation, counterbalancing increased calcium excretion.

Influence of a mineral water rich in calcium, magnesium and bicarbonate ...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 1:21PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Your link goes to an abstract of an Italian journal article on fibrocystic disease of the pancreas. No mention of alkaline water or kidney stones.

"Another factual error from eric"

Did you appreciate the fact that what you're quoting in your post is from an evidence-based website's explanations of acid-base balance, and not a quote from me? Or is this just another attempt to personalize disagreement and ignore what experts are saying?

Regardless, our bodies do efficiently maintain pH within a very narrow range through natural processes, mainly involving the lungs and kidneys. Fruits and vegetables are certainly a large part of a healthy diet, but not because our acid-base balance will go haywire without a sufficient amount of them.

The notion that our bodies are constantly on the edge of slipping into acidosis and causing all manner of diseases, requiring special diets or supplements to maintain health, is very popular among certain alt med advocates. But just like the claim that we're going to be overwhelmed by "toxins" unless we artifically flush them out, there's no scientific/medical basis for these beliefs.

They do help supplement dealers sell a lot of useless stuff, however.

Here is a link that might be useful: More on acid-base misconceptions

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 2:09PM
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gringojay

Years ago I saw microscopic images reproduced of water molecules under different input.
These were said to have been taken when distinct sounds or contact were made.
Some showed dramatic configuration & seemed to indicate molecular organization could be altered.
Which makes me wonder if these were transient states photographed or structural changes that could make a difference when that water were used as an herbal solvent.
? Anybody recall those water images ?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 3:58PM
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silversword(9A)

YES Gringo!!! I have the book and the video. It's fascinating and highly controversial. I tend to think there's a "drop" of truth to it. It's called The Hidden Messages in Water by Masaru Emoto.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 4:10PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

In this case, "highly controversial" = "really nutty".

Emoto is small potatoes, though, when it comes to the vast array of water quackery out there.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 4:55PM
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apollog

>> Did you appreciate the fact that what you're quoting in your post is from an evidence-based website's explanations of acid-base balance, and not a quote from me?

Well, that could indicate a worrying problem with the so called 'evidence-based' community, if their websites have incorrect explanations of simple matters of biology and chemistry, and their chief advocate on this site reposts such obviously wrong information in an attempt to educate others. You are intent on portraying the alkalinizers as unscientific, but in doing so resort to arguments that are blatantly wrong!!

>> The notion that our bodies are constantly on the edge of slipping into acidosis and causing all manner of diseases, requiring special diets or supplements to maintain health, is very popular among certain alt med advocates.

You insist on misinterpreting that which you disagree with - but I guess it is easier to appear correct when going up against a straw man. The only type of acidosis you are capable of understanding is a severe, end stage collapse of blood chemistry brought on by a serious disease like diabetes. You take it for granted that there cannot be a more subtle form of acidosis, even though there such a creature has been shown to exist:

In humans, an acidogenic diet results in mild metabolic acidosis in association with a state of cortisol excess and this increase in plasma cortisol may increase bone catabolism. (source)

Is it possible that a lifetime of eating diets that deliver evolutionarily superphysiologic loads of acid to the body contribute to the decrease in bone and muscle mass, and growth hormone secretion, which occur normally with age? That is, are contemporary humans suffering from the consequences of chronic, diet-induced low-grade systemic metabolic acidosis? Our group has shown that contemporary net acid-producing diets do indeed characteristically produce a low-grade systemic metabolic acidosis in otherwise healthy adult subjects, and that the degree of acidosis increases with age... We also found that neutralization of the diet net acid load with dietary supplements of potassium bicarbonate (KHCO3) improved calcium and phosphorus balances, reduced bone resorption rates, improved nitrogen balance, and mitigated the normally occurring age-related decline in growth hormone secretion... (source)

A Western-type diet is associated with osteoporosis and calcium nephrolithiasis. On the basis of observations that calcium retention and inhibition of bone resorption result from alkali administration, it is assumed that the acid load inherent in this diet is responsible for increased bone resorption and calcium loss from bone. However, it is not known whether the dietary acid load acts directly or indirectly ... source

Consider soda and osteoporosis. The 'alkalinizers' say that soft drinks increase osteoporosis due to the acidity in the soft drink. There certainly could be other explanations worth considering...

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 5:52PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

I see you've been busy Googling.

apollog: "In humans, an acidogenic diet results in mild metabolic acidosis in association with a state of cortisol excess and this increase in plasma cortisol may increase bone catabolism."

From your link (which is to a study on reproduction in sheep):

"Formulation of rations to induce a compensated metabolic acidosis in the post-partum cow has proved a useful strategy for prevention of milk fever."

Thanks, that will be a big help to everyone here, assuming that post-partum cows are reading your posts (maybe those talking California cows have signed up as GW members? :)

Go to any good site on kidney stones (here's an example) and you'll see discussion on dietary prevention, all right - but NOT on some mystical need to eat "acid" or "alkaline" foods to prevent kidney stones. There are various different kinds of kidney stones, some of which are promoted by eating too much meat protein (i.e. urate stones), some by eating too much oxalate, including plant sources like spinach and rhubarb (oxalate stones), etc. etc. - the bottom line is that well-recognized risk factors like genetics, dehydration, and certain diet components are involved in stone production, and not the perils of eating "acid" or "alkaline" foods. And experts in the field agree on this.

That's the problem with your Pub Med and Googled links - they represent outliers and theoretical meanderings that do not reflect the current state of well-documented medical science. Cherry-pick random papers from these outliers and extreme minority dissenters all you like, but that's not how we select medical treatment and prevention.

"even if the alkalinizers got a few points wrong"

Thanks, but that's "virtually everything wrong".

"Attempts to change your pH through diet are going to fail, as your lungs and kidneys will make up the differenceÂunless you do it so drastically that you succeed, leading to illness and death. Claims regarding pH and health are a bunch of hooey."

Short and sweet, but so true. It's regrettable that many people who are into alternative medicine get convinced that their bodies are so inadequate that they must feverishly monitor their acid and base intake. It's a wonder that the human race survived through eons of evolution, seeing that merely eating the wrong lunch could precipitate a fatal health disaster. ;)

As it happens, I am secure enough in knowledge of this facet of human physiology, that I feel no need to trade petty insults with you. Engaging in ad hominems is a good sign that one's arguments have failed.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2009 at 7:47PM
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apollog

>> Thanks, that will be a big help to everyone here, assuming that post-partum cows are reading your posts

The article cited the dietary acidosis as occurring in humans and other animals, and went on to study a particular aspect in cows. Believe it or not, humans are animals. And the same principles of physics that apply to cow kidneys and reverse osmosis filters apply to human kidneys. Pumping ions across a membrane requires energy, and trying to only pump acids while holding back the alkaline calcium, magnesium and potassium requires a HUGE amount of energy. This would create an osmotic pressure so high that it would damage the tubules of the kidneys ... but the kidneys do not pump only acid when people consume lots of acid or acid forming foods - calcium, magnesium, potassium and organic bases (carbonates, citrates, etc) all get pulled out or ride along when excreting acid. Consuming large amounts of inorganic acids with marginal levels of Ca/Mg/K leads to depletion of these essential minerals.

>> That's the problem with your Pub Med and Googled links - they represent outliers and theoretical meanderings that do not reflect the current state of well-documented medical science.

Not true. The value of alkaline mineral waters for the kidneys has been recognized for more than half a century, and is not disputed. Mild acidosis has been documented in people and other animals. You can choose not to believe in this black swan, but there is evidence. Sure, evidence appears to be 'an outlier' to those who have never seen one and are convinced that it can't exist. But that is a cognitive issue.

>> There are various different kinds of kidney stones, some of which are promoted by eating too much meat protein (i.e. urate stones), some by eating too much oxalate, including plant sources like spinach and rhubarb (oxalate stones), etc. etc. - the bottom line is that well-recognized risk factors like genetics, dehydration, and certain diet components are involved in stone production, and not the perils of eating "acid" or "alkaline" foods.

Of course there are different types of stones. Oxalate is an acid that is not easily metabolized, so it is excreted via the kidneys. This process lead to urine that is rich in both oxalate and calcium (the kidneys can't magically pump only oxalate, some other base passes with it) - this mix of calcium and oxalate can precipitate into crystals (although other bases like magnesium or carbonate don't form crystals the way that calcium does).

You stated that meat protein forms urate - again eric, you are spewing factually incorrect pseudoscience!! Uric acid or urate results from purine metabolism ... compounds like adenine, guanine and caffeine ... these are most certainly not proteins, and this is further proof that your actual knowledge of biology is not as great as your confidence in that knowledge.

High protein intake can contribute to the formation of any type of kidney stone - the...

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 2:12AM
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apollog

Here's a solid article from the 2004 Journal of Nutrition.

Potassium (K+) requirements have been largely overlooked because severe deficiencies are uncommon due to the ubiquity of this element in foods. However, a transition toward modern ("Westernized") diets has led to a substantial decline of K+ intake compared with traditional food habits, and a large fraction of the population might now have suboptimal K+ intake. A high K+ intake was demonstrated to have protective effects against several pathologic states affecting the cardiovascular system, kidneys, and bones. Additionally, fruits and vegetables contain K/organic anion salts (malate, citrate), which exert alkalinizing effects, through KHCO(3)(-) generation, which serves to neutralize fixed acidity in urine. Low-grade metabolic acidosis, when not properly controlled, may exacerbate various catabolic processes (bone Ca++ mobilization, proteolysis), especially in the elderly. Fruits and vegetables are therefore receiving great attention in a strategy to increase the nutritional value of meals while reducing energy density and intake. The need to ensure a 2.5- to 3.5-g daily K+ supply from fruits and vegetables represents a strong rationale for the "5-10 servings per day" recommendations.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 2:18AM
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apollog

The clinical spectrum of chronic metabolic acidosis: homeostatic mechanisms produce significant morbidity. American Journal of Kidney Disease, 1997 Feb;29(2):291-302.

Chronic metabolic acidosis is a process whereby an excess nonvolatile acid load is chronically placed on the body due to excess acid generation or diminished acid removal by normal homeostatic mechanisms. Two common, often-overlooked clinical conditions associated with chronic metabolic acidosis are aging and excessive meat ingestion. Because the body's homeostatic response to these pathologic processes is very efficient, the serum HCO3- and blood pH are frequently maintained within the "normal" range. Nevertheless, these homeostatic responses engender pathologic consequences, such as nephrolithiasis, bone demineralization, muscle protein breakdown, and renal growth. Based on this, the concept of eubicarbonatemic metabolic acidosis is introduced. Even in patients with a normal serum HCO3- and blood pH, it is important to treat the acid load and prevent pathologic homeostatic responses. These homeostatic responses, as well as the mechanisms responsible for their initiation, are reviewed.

While I'm at it, let me provide a link to the study in the previous post I made... it shows eric is full of it in 10 different ways.

Protective Effects of High Dietary Potassium: Nutritional and Metabolic Aspects

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 2:34AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Well, that's quite a lot of work cobbling together various articles, from milk fever in cows (who bizarrely are quite like humans in your view), to potassium requirements in the diet to various promoters of mineral water, but there's one glaring thing missing from all this Pub Medization that you've performed, just as there was one big hole in your arguments previously about insulin being a toxin that diabetics have to worry about:

The expert consensus on kidney health (as demonstrated by previous links) does not support the claims of the acid-base obsessed, that we must carefully manipulate our diets to avoid dangerous acid-base shifts. Recommendations based on long-term clinical practice and trials (not some cherry-picked tiny studies or theoretical proposals for things like "low level metabolic acidosis", unproven in actual clinical practice) do not call for mineral water drinking to prevent kidney stones, do not call for "alkaline diets", and are formulated with actual humans in mind, and not cows suffering from milk fever.

Similarly, in regard to your um, unusual ideas about diabetes, the experts in this field, from those at the American Diabetes Association to associations of endocrinologists, do not believe that insulin is a "toxin" or that "toxin flushing" can help diabetics.

Bottom line: where's the expert consensus opinion, formulated as recommendations for daily clinical practice, that says we need alkaline water, or alkaline diets to counteract the dread health effects of "acidity"? As Clara Peller used to say, where's the beef?

As to your habit of engaging in personal attacks, it's encouraging that you appear to recognize that this casts you in a bad light. What you need to acknowledge, though, is that criticizing a bad idea (which I do) is very different from hurling insults when frustrated (which is your strategy). Distorting another's postings is poor practice as well. For instance, in that lengthy thread on "detoxing", at least one of the many sources I quoted suggested that "detoxing" had a semi-religious basis for some people. I certainly did not claim that everyone who undergoes "cleanses" and "flushing" is doing it for religious purposes, nor did anyone I quoted. What was emphasized by me and others was that flawed ideas about health and physiology were largely behind the phenomenon.
It is of course true that "cleansing" has a basis in some religious or quasi-religious practices. Take for example the Scientologists, who started offering dubious "detox" services for 9/11 workers:

"The daily regimen involves drinking niacin, which reacts to chemicals in fat, running on a treadmill and then hitting the steam room for up to four hours. These activities release toxins stored in fat cells for years, says Dr. David Root, who has administered the program for more than 20 years.

Last week, however, toxicology experts said there was no scientific evidence that toxins can be dislodged from your body by...

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 4:10PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Found another excellent article on "alkaline water" and what it doesn't do. It references Dr. Gabe Mirkin's succinct take on this scam:

"Acid/Alkaline Theory of Disease Is Nonsense

Taking calcium or drinking alkaline water does not affect blood acidity. Anyone who tells you that certain foods or supplements make your stomach or blood acidic does not understand nutrition. You should not believe that it matters whether foods are acidic or alkaline, because no foods change the acidity of anything in your body except your urine. Your stomach is so acidic that no food can change its acidity. Citrus fruits, vinegar, and vitamins such as ascorbic acid or folic acid do not change the acidity of your stomach or your bloodstream. An entire bottle of calcium pills or antacids would not change the acidity of your stomach for more than a few minutes.

All foods that leave your stomach are acidic. Then they enter your intestines where secretions from your pancreas neutralize the stomach acids. So no matter what you eat, the food in stomach is acidic and the food in the intestines is alkaline.

You cannot change the acidity of any part of your body except your urine. Your bloodstream and organs control acidity in a very narrow range. Anything that changed acidity in your body would make you very sick and could even kill you. Promoters of these products claim that cancer cells cannot live in an alkaline environment and that is true, but neither can any of the other cells in your body...."

Here is a link that might be useful: Junk Food Science

    Bookmark   May 2, 2009 at 11:35PM
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eibren(z6PA)

So, what does drinking soda water do?

I lost my hip a few years after starting to drink a lot of soda water...is there a connection?

I tried to Google this over a year ago but couldn't find anything on it.

:o/

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 2:38AM
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apollog

>> So, what does drinking soda water do? I lost my hip a few years after starting to drink a lot of soda water...is there a connection?

Soda water is usually just carbonated with CO2; this is a very mild acid. Soda water usually has a pH of about 6, while colas use phosphoric acid and are often around 3. Those 3 pH units represent 1000 times more acidity. Also, the carbon dioxide can be exhaled, while the phosphoric acid must be excreted by the kidneys, which takes calcium with it.

Osteoporosis involves many factors - intake of calcium and magnesium, rate of excretion of calcium and magnesium (which is elevated by an acidogenic diet), vitamin D, hormones, exercise, etc. I wouldn't hang much blame on just carbonated water. On the other hand, people who drink large amounts of soda that has stronger acids are not doing their bones a favor.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 8:51AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

The questions that have been raised about cola drinks are not due to their acidity (your own stomach fluids are considerably more acid than colas).

What's been found in some research is that women who drink a lot of colas are more prone to osteoporosis. One theory is that the phosphoric acid (i.e. phosphate content) of colas impairs absorption of calcium in the diet. This is still an unsettled question.

Regardless, the idea that colas are somehow so dreadfully acid that the body can't cope with them is an old wives' tale.

The key with soft drinks and many other drinks and foods is moderation, and consuming a healthy diet overall, without worrying unnecessarily about "acid" and "alkaline" foods.

Here is a link that might be useful: Osteoporosis

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 3:24PM
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apollog

>> What's been found in some research is that women who drink a lot of colas are more prone to osteoporosis. One theory is that the phosphoric acid (i.e. phosphate content) of colas impairs absorption of calcium in the diet. This is still an unsettled question.

Duh. I've already said that in this thread - "There certainly could be other explanations worth considering (drinking more soda leads to reduced milk consumption, phosphoric acid in soda binding calcium in the gut in a way that does not really change pH, etc)" And the alkalinizers favor low phosphate foods for this very reason ... soda contains dissolved phosphate that can immediately bind to calcium, while other dietary sources of phosphorous are less immediately reactive.

>>Regardless, the idea that colas are somehow so dreadfully acid that the body can't cope with them is an old wives' tale.

Brilliant! Now you are attempting to answer questions of nutrition using Snopes.com ... I guess if anyone anywhere once started a email that said something is dangerous, that proves it is actually quite safe!! And the snopes people dismissed the possibility that phosphoric acid might be a factor, even though the Framingham study raised the possibility that phosphoric acid might be part of the problem and they left the issue open. But snopes knows!! (link to Framingham Study)

>> The key with soft drinks and many other drinks and foods is moderation, and consuming a healthy diet overall, without worrying unnecessarily about "acid" and "alkaline" foods.

That's an interesting notion - do we define a 'healthy' diet scientifically, or based on 'common sense' - ie, cultural patterns and guesswork? Will the average person trying to 'eat a healthy overall' lead to adequate intake of calcium, magnesium and potassium? Here's a study showing that a typical western diet providing only 33% of the daily allowance of magnesium was associated with magnesium deficiency and disturbed heart function. I think that such deficiencies are much less common in people that follow the alkalinizing diet.

>> The expert consensus on kidney health (as demonstrated by previous links) does not support the claims of the acid-base obsessed, that we must carefully manipulate our diets to avoid dangerous acid-base shifts. Recommendations based on long-term clinical practice and trials (not some cherry-picked tiny studies or theoretical proposals for things like "low level metabolic acidosis", unproven in actual clinical practice) do not call for mineral water drinking to prevent kidney stones, do not call for "alkaline diets", and are formulated with actual humans in mind, and not cows suffering from milk fever.

Cherry-Picked?? And what are two of the most commonly used treatments for kidney stones? Baking soda and potassium citrate. Why? Because they alkalinize the urine. According to WebMD, "Sodium bicarbonate makes the urine less acidic, which makes uric acid kidney stone formation less...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 5:05PM
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apollog

More on the issue of a moderation ....

Here is a graph showing the . There is a noticeable drop for women consuming only 2-3 colas a week.

How do you define 'moderation' when presented with such evidence, eric?? Zero to one cola a week? Do you think most people would define moderation in the same way?

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 5:32PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Actually, Snopes is a good and reliable source for debunking frauds and fables, using accurate and relevant documentation.
Quite a bit more dependable than relying on an obscure scientific paper (i.e. the one you linked to) studying a grand total of 13 women and sounding alarms about magnesium deficiency (according to the National Institutes of Health, such deficiency is quite rare and associated with defined medical conditions and use of certain drugs).

I'm glad to see you citing WebMD and the Mayo Clinic. I think you miss the point of both sources though - neither recommends "alkaline" diets for kidney stones. Allopurinol is a drug, not a food (there seems to be a continuing confusion on your part as to differences between the two).

"In addition to the research on kidney stones, you are distorting and ignoring the research on acid load and the bones, eric...

Ah, attempting once again to personalize the discussion and claim that it's only me who's "ignoring the research on acid load", when in fact it is the consensus of the vast majority who are knowledgeable on this subject, that fussing over "acid" and "alkaline" foods is not worthwhile. Check again your own link to Mayo Clinic, and kidney stone prevention advice from WebMD and tell us - where is the advice to eat "alkaline" foods? True, your UW site does mention some vegetables contribute to a less acid urine, but experts in the field do not typically suggest that eating more vegetables will be effective in preventing kidney stones - the focus is on drinking more water, avoiding excessive meat and other recommendations contained on the previously mentioned sites (it is not common either for sodium bicarbonate to be given as a stone preventative).

This whole focus on kidney stones is a digression from the main problem with hangups on "alkaline water" and "alkaline diets". The people who promote this stuff go way, way beyond merely promoting such things for kidney stones - they claim that alkalinization of the body prevents cancer, heart disease and chronic ailments of all sorts, ignoring the fact that you cannot significantly alter the body's pH (i.e. blood acid-base balance) by eating certain foods or waters. This misconception can be remedied by taking a basic level college course in human physiology or seeking out accurate information on the Internet (including sources cited here previously). I highly recommend them to you.

"Your extreme attempts to deny what science knows in order to 'debunk' the alkalinzers is strange and pathetic"

Um, no..."what science knows" is that our bodies handle acid-base balance quite nicely without special supplements or other outside interference, unless we are seriously ill or suffering from poisoning. Cherry-picked studies that are out of date, in obscure journals, surveying a handful of patients or completely irrelevant (i.e. your cited study on milk fever in cows) do not alter that fact.

From the American Institute for...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 7:07PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Here's an informative and entertaining article about water silliness, pseudoscience and and pH alarmism. It explains what kind of acid-base testing is reliable and how to avoid commercial exploitation based on bad science:

"...changing the pH of your drinking water wonÂt even change the pH in your stomach, let alone the rest of you.

Your stomach juice is a rather special secreted fluid; it is a solution of 80-130 mM HCl (hydrochloric acid) and has a pH or about 1-2 (strongly acid). This is its normal pH - with or without your having drunk "alkaline water". So the pH of the water you drink will not even make a noticeable difference to the acidity of your stomach contents, let alone your body acid-base status.

For this reason, the pH of the water you drink is completely and utterly meaningless. It has hardly any physico-chemical meaning, and it certainly has zero practical significance.

Unless, of course, you are gullilble enough to be conned by the advertising pitch of the "alkaline water" snake oil salesmen."

And more here on the claims of certain mineral water sellers.

Finally, this site reviews and recommends good online sources of reliable information on acid-base balance. While I have not personally evaluated all of them, I know of none that support the idea that drinking "alkaline water" changes your body's pH, and none that buy into the claim that cancer and various degenerative diseases are caused by a mysterious "acid buildup" that can be remedied by eating an "alkaline diet".

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 9:39PM
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apollog

>> Allopurinol is a drug, not a food (there seems to be a continuing confusion on your part as to differences between the two).

I'm quite aware of that. Allopurinol is a drug ... but baking soda? Potassium citrate (common in fruits)? Not so much. The allopurinol lowers the purines, the baking soda or K-citrate raises the pH and makes the urine alkaline. Every biologist that reads this page will see that you are a B.S. artist.

>> Actually, Snopes is a good and reliable source for debunking frauds and fables, using accurate and relevant documentation. Quite a bit more dependable than relying on an obscure scientific paper (i.e. the one you linked to) studying a grand total of 13 women and sounding alarms about magnesium deficiency

Actually, your thinking has become muddled, or (again) you are purposefully distorting what I said because you can't refute it otherwise. The study that I cited that disagrees with snopes is the Framingham study, which had thousands of participants. The snopes and framingham links were entirely about the possible health effects of colas, distinct from the concept of magnesium.

>> and sounding alarms about magnesium deficiency (according to the National Institutes of Health, such deficiency is quite rare and associated with defined medical conditions and use of certain drugs).

This statement of yours is either proof that you are a raging idiot, or that you are intentionally distorting what is know for the purposes of ego and argument. Either way, you are a menace to public health.

Here's the real scoop on nutritional intake of calcium and magnesium:

The US Department of Agriculture's Community Nutrition Mapping program indicates only 32% of Americans meet the RDI for Magnesium; only 27% meet the RDI for calcium. (source)

From Bruce Ames, one of the leading cellular biologists in the world (and a person who has taken a keen interest in magnesium): Magnesium inadequacy affects more than half of the U.S. population and is associated with increased risk for many age-related diseases... Despite growing appreciation of the prevalence of magnesium inadequacy, essentially no immediate clinical symptoms are known, due in part to the lack of robust biomarkers of magnesium status in vivo. However, there is a sizeable literature on the functional consequences linked with long-term magnesium inadequacy. Epidemiological data have associated increased risk of several aging-related diseases with chronic magnesium inadequacy, including cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers. Numerous animal studies on magnesium inadequacy have supported these findings, along with additional morbidities including increased oxidative stress levels, altered calcium homeostasis, aberrant inflammatory response, diminished glucose sensitivity, seizures, and tetany... (source)

By contrast, the present average potassium, calcium, and magnesium intakes are remarkably lower than...

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 9:50PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Some thoughts.

Firstly, no, the body cannot clear all acids by breathing, the most important acid in terms of blood pH is H2CO3, carbonic acid.

Secondly, the body clears many acids through the kidneys.

Thirdly, many organic acids can be combined with neutral compounds to make bases, and vise-versa, eating basic foods does not mean that you are putting basic compounds into your blood.

Fourthly, if the substance was strong enough to swing the blood pH given the many mechanisms in place to maintain the pH it would also be strong enough to eat through your esophagus, which is why you should not drink draino.

Finally, regarding the water pictures, its very easy to make what ever point you like when you are allowed to cheat. He took many pictures of the water, and selected the ones that looked bad to display for the bad words, and the ones that looked good for the good words. I saw a series of photos where the bad ones were all taken in green light, which made them look sinister, it was not a property of the water, it was a gel that the photographer selected specifically to make it look like something was happening. This tells us a whole lot about the photographer, and almost nothing about the crystallization of water.

    Bookmark   May 4, 2009 at 10:38PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

So, have your questions about "alkaline water" been answered, gringojay? :)

What this all boils down to is that you cannot manipulate your body's acid-base balance (a.k.a. blood pH) through any food or drink. To a limited extent you can change urine pH and affect urinary tract function, but that's essentially it.

It seems that there's a need in alt med circles to focus on one Overriding Principle of Disease, which if corrected will solve most or all health problems. For some it's fixing "improper acidity" of the body, discharging "accumulated toxins", or eliminating Candida. Others see "glyconutrients" as the answer, or "superfoods", or herbs that allegedly cure or ameliorate virtually any disease. One self-professed healer even offers "The Cure For All Diseases" (which are supposedly caused by an obscure parasite - you're supposed to zap them out of existence with an electrical device).

It's tempting to think that if we can correct that one universal problem with one simple solution, we'll be healthy and happy. But there is no universal source of disease or simple fix. We can up our odds for better health through such things as proper diet, exercise, and avoiding real toxins (i.e. tobacco, illicit drugs and excess alcohol) - also simple-sounding things, just harder to accomplish in practice. Still, these measures offer the best (and proven) solutions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Acid-base follies revisited

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 12:44PM
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apollog

>> What this all boils down to is that you cannot manipulate your body's acid-base balance (a.k.a. blood pH) through any food or drink. To a limited extent you can change urine pH and affect urinary tract function, but that's essentially it.

I doubt anyone who reads this will believe your nonsense, eric... from your insistence on confusing acid-base balance with blood pH (even when they are quite distinct) to your providing inaccurate information about deficiencies of calcium, magnesium and potassium (which are widespread). Do you have a link to that purported NIH statement that such deficiencies are rare and typically the result of some other disease? Or did you simply make up that claim?

You are right that anyone that considers this a panacea has gone too far - good nutrition is a prerequisite for good health, but cannot solve all health issues. But you are refusing to accept the science on this issue because your primary goal is to attack and discredit anyone associated with alkalinizing, as anything that contains words like "alkaline diet" is a sanctioned target of the quackbusters cult.

We've seen erics posts that attempt to psychoanalyze those that believe in detoxing or cleanses ... for some balance, here is some socio-psychoanalytic characterization of the quackbusters:

  • Most professional debunkers and quackbusters are entertainers and medical doctors (mostly retired or soon-to-retire), milking their role for all that it is worth and defending the scientific materialism with which they have been so indoctrinated. This gives them a slap on the back from the orthodox scientific community and a more important role in society than they would otherwise have. Debunking and quackbusting certainly puts one on the front-line, something that every attention-seeker and self-promoter craves (debunkers and quackbusters usually get more attention in their new skeptical roles than they ever did in their professions as doctors or entertainers). The more certain you are the more attention and kudos you receive and the higher your earnings, which is why debunkers and quackbusters are often some of the most bigoted and dogmatic individuals around. I have had the displeasure of trying to engage a few of the higher-profile ones in debate over the years and have found only intransigent stupidity. These are the fundamentalists of scientific materialism, and you get about as far with them in a debate as you would get from a bible-bashing Christian or an Islamic extremist. I put them all in the same fundamentalist category. ...

Quackbusters.com is the highest profile quackbusting site online and and is run by retired medical doctor (surprise, surprise) Stephen Barrett. Barrett is very vocal in his dismissal of anything remotely alternative, but he will also dismiss out of hand any research (even orthodox) which he does not agree with. (source)

Sounds like they hit the nail on the head - even when it comes to established science, eric...

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 1:25PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

In brief:

How am I "ignoring the science" relative to acid-base balance? I've quoted and linked to numerous good and reliable sources on this subject. Your latest post does not address anything they have to say, merely expands from attacks on me to lashing out at anyone who values evidence-based medicine over unproven theories and woo.

Your "source" on debunkers reveals a lot about himself in his opening remarks, when he talks about all the strange events in his life and how the paranormal is an "integral" part of his experience. I'm not surprised that he's bitterly resentful of people who are skeptical of his fantasies. Where it gets predictably dreary is when he (like others with his convictions) labels the scientific community as a "cult" or as "orthodox-minded", pretending that there's some fanatical religious basis behind seeking evidence as a basis for rational decision-making about health care.

Science is not a religion and respecting quality work in the field does not make one a disciple. Those descriptors accurately apply to people who want so badly to believe something that they'll reject evidence that trumps their conclusions and attack anyone who questions their ideas.

I don't know where you or your "source" get your impressions about "quackbusters", but it may surprise you to know that it's a rare individual that makes any kind of a living at this endeavor. From what I've seen, they are people in a variety of fields who have one thing in common: caring deeply about proper medical care and upholding high standards of scientific endeavor, and seeing that people are not hurt (through consequences to their health and/or financially) by charlatans.

From the last link I supplied:

"...in conventional medicine if you're going to advocate treating asymptomatic patients to prevent future disease, to make them "feel better," or to "improve health," you actually have to produce convincing scientific and clinical evidence that whatever it is that you are measuring in an asymptomatic patient (blood pressure, for example) correlates with disease and that your proposed intervention will indeed prevent the disease disease correlated with that measure, improve health, and/or prolong life. There is abundant evidence for such benefits, for example, for the treatment of asymptomatic hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, etc. There is no credible evidence that alkalinizing or acidifying your urine will provide similar benefits--or any benefit at all. Remember, we're talkiing very small differences in blood pH at best, even with significant intervention. All you're really doing with these diets, supplements, and minerals is altering the urine pH, in essence pissing out the alkali as the body gets rid of what its pH regulator perceives as excess base. Yes, the increase in urine pH gives you evidence that this woo is "working," but "working" doesn't really do anything that matters."

Then again, the author of these remarks is a...

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 4:35PM
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gringojay

Very thought provoking input.

Hi eric,
I do not feel that I missed much passing up on the "functional" water chuck wagon after reading your input.

Hi apollog,
? Do I rephrase one of your ideas accurately by saying the following....?
An alkaline diet is not about altering the blood pH - & is more about ingesting alkaline mineral rich foods, with the goal being to increase these minerals for internal biochemical activity.
The reduced proportion ingested of what are considered acid foods is to limit their metabolic byproducts, in order to let other biochemical activity predominate - & not an attempt to create a static blood pH change.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 6:22PM
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apollog

>> Oh - since you were demanding a citation that the National Institutes of Health regards magnesium deficiency as rare (and getting worked up over my not having responded while you were still composing your post), here it is:

"Lack of magnesium (deficiency) is rare.

Ok ... not made up. But do you really believe that everything posted on the NIH website is the official position of the NIH?? That is an encyclopedia article with only 3 references, written by an unknown person at a private company called A.D.A.M., Inc,. The Medline Service of the National Institute of Health licensed the entire encyclopedia and put it on their site. I don't think it is an authoritative finding of the NIH....

But if you are equating the ADAM encyclopedia with the opinion of the National Institutes of Health, then you should know that the prestigious government institution is advocating elderberries for influenza - just check out what NIH/ADAM says about them ... very different from your attempts to disparage and belittle the idea that elderberry might be useful against flu after I suggested that recently. Their statement is: "Grade of B: Good scientific evidence for this use; Elderberry juice may improve flu-like symptoms, such as fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, cough, and aches, in less time than it normally takes to get over the flu." By contrast, your conclusion in the thread on swine flu was that there was only enough preliminary evidence on elderberry to support more research and that it was probably a big waste of money. Then you nit-picked what evidence I did present, as you typically do. But isn't that your job here, to crap on anyone who dares to suggest that there is evidence that an herb can be useful?? Even if you haven't really researched the issue and don't know what you are talking about??

Apart from this encyclopedia article on magnesium you keep citing, we have the USDA actually going out and studying what people actually eat, and finding that ~70% of Americans don't consume enough calcium or magnesium. And we have experts like Bruce Ames citing the lack of magnesium and its effects. (You have heard of Bruce Ames, no? He is not known for doing shabby science). And after I presented this information and several other refereed articles, you continue to disparage and ignore these and fall back on the encyclopedia as if it were equal to or superior to the other works I cited ... it isn't.

>> How am I "ignoring the science" relative to acid-base balance?

You repeatedly characterize the idea you oppose as the idea that the pH of the blood changes by the diet. I have said repeatedly in this thread, and have quoted articles from peer reviewed journals that make it clear that the concern is not blood pH - the problem is that in order to excrete acid via the kidneys, one must also excrete other vital nutrients. The more acidic the urine is, the greater the osmotic pressure on the cells of the kidney. To compensate for...

    Bookmark   May 5, 2009 at 9:43PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

I am sure it must be vitally important to follow up with a detailed response to the above.

On the other hand, I found myself thinking of this cartoon.

It's time for bed. :)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 12:04AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Support a diet proven to have significant health benefits? No problem.

"co-opt the majority of alkalinizers and get them to improve their theory a bit": Big problem.

Once you stand behind the incorrect concept that body pH can be easily altered through food and drink (and make no mistake, proponents believe you can do this all over the body, not just in the urine), you give credence to all kinds of false ideas about therapy and useless, expensive devices and supplements whose sale preys on the vulnerable.

"...folks in truly poor or unsecure health are also being taken in, often paying hundreds of dollars for worthless nostrums and devices that purport to energize, revitalize or restructure water so as to restore health, reverse aging, and even improve the harmony of the world."

The alkalinizers claim that you can cure or prevent cancer and a variety of chronic/degenerative diseases by "de-acidifying" the body. Do we just look the other way when such claims are made without foundation, or shrug and say "it could happen"?

One problem with alt med is relatively educated supporters who feel compelled to overlook or even defend various forms of quackery to present a "common front" against skeptics who they think threaten their own, less outrageous but still dubious beliefs. It would be refreshing to see them criticize flagrantly false and harmful quackery, but that would mean agreeing with their perceived enemies, and that would never do. ;)

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 9:09AM
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apollog

>> The alkalinizers claim that you can cure or prevent cancer and a variety of chronic/degenerative diseases by "de-acidifying" the body. Do we just look the other way when such claims are made without foundation, or shrug and say "it could happen"?

Well, Bruce Ames and a pile of studies taller than me say there is evidence that a wide variety of chronic diseases (including some cancers) can be prevented by simply increasing magnesium, calcium and potassium intake (which the alkaline diet does quite well). These statements can be made in a framework of science, they are reasonable, and I think they should be considered, not rejected out of hand without consideration. So I might say "it could happen" or I might disagree if I thought a particular claim was unreasonable.

Do I think it will cure cancer? No. Might it be useful as an adjunct therapy for cancer? Quite possibly, but that is not certain. With cancer, prevention is so much easier than treatment (in the realm of scientific theory) but prevention is much more difficult than treatment (in the realm of societies and people that behave in irrational or predictably unpredictable ways).

>> Once you stand behind the incorrect concept that body pH can be easily altered through food and drink (and make no mistake, proponents believe you can do this all over the body, not just in the urine),

Well, we can agree that the blood pH is not changed by diet to any large degree - it stays within a narrow range if the person is alive. We can agree that the pH of the urine can change significantly according to diet. And we should be able to agree that increasing the dietary intake of Ca/Mg/K can lead to a flow of these alkaline minerals into the bones, into muscle tissue, and into other spaces inside various cells and tissues. So I accept the idea that overall, an alkalinizing diet usually makes the net balance of the body more alkaline ... ie, it usually increases alkaline reserves, which can be good in a complex buffered system like a human body. Other people who have a weaker science background might describe it in less precise terms, they might even make mistakes in their thinking - do we berate them for being wrong on a few points, or do we ignore minor theoretical issues while trying to harmonize popular opinion to science??

>>One problem with alt med is relatively educated supporters who feel compelled to overlook or even defend various forms of quackery to present a "common front" against skeptics who they think threaten their own, less outrageous but still dubious beliefs. It would be refreshing to see them criticize flagrantly false and harmful quackery, but that would mean agreeing with their perceived enemies, and that would never do. ;)

First of all, what dubious ideas are you proposing that I hold? That elderberries might be of use in reducing the severity of the common cold or a bout of flu? That kudzu can be effective in treating migraine and cluster headache?...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 1:15PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

"Well, Bruce Ames and a pile of studies taller than me say there is evidence that a wide variety of chronic diseases (including some cancers) can be prevented by simply increasing magnesium, calcium and potassium intake (which the alkaline diet does quite well)."

Beyond the fact that the "pile of studies" don't actually prove anything, the "magic mineral" theory doesn't depend on changing pH levels in the body.

"Might it be useful as an adjunct therapy for cancer? Quite possibly, but that is not certain."

There's no basis on which to say "quite possibly". Statements like this just boost the "Cures Cancer!" machine and supplement promoters.

"Some people would rather denounce the public for being irrational than devise a public health campaign that is effective - because they insist that everyone should think like them, and deliver a linear, hyper-rational, orthodox scientific message that is boring."

Actually, the message that stopping smoking, moderating use of alcohol, getting sufficient rest and exercise and lowering caloric intake as part of a healthy diet is an effective message that's reached a lot of people. There's nothing difficult there to understand. As noted previously, these are relatively simple and proven effective measures, just not that easy for people to accomplish, so they turn to miracle minerals, "alkaline water" and all the other quick fixes that have been mentioned.

As for the "rainbow" diet, there are roughly a zillion diets circulating out there, many of which have their moments of vogue (except the one that says "Eat less. Mostly plants."). If one needs a catchy label to eat sensibly, fine. If it means refusing to eat good foods or to serve them to your children because the colors interfere with someone's chakra or clash in the G.I. tract, should that not be pointed out as silly?

"First of all, what dubious ideas are you proposing that I hold?"

There are numerous specific examples from previous threads (like the idea that essiac tea fights cancer), but in general it's your insistence that tiny pilot studies (including test tube and rat research) provide sufficient proof for us to use herbs and supplements for various diseases, and your unwillingness to speak out definitively against various forms of quackery. As for the specific example of "alkaline water", you're around the edge of criticizing the sale of such products, but a simple forthright statement that "alkalinizing" the water you drink does not change body pH and has not been shown to prevent or cure disease would be accurate and helpful.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 2:02PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

An alkaline diet does not mean alkaline minerals. They are different things! Even if you eat the most mineral rich foods imaginable if you eat them with vinegar on them they will not be part of an alkaline diet! Eat a diet full of diverse whole foods, that is the key. The western diet sucks, not only is it not very tasty but it isn't good for you, alkaline water or an alkaline diet isn't going to fix ANY of the problems with the western diet I could add a bit of NaOH to every drink and food that enters my body, never having anything below a pH of 8 go into my mouth, but if I ate crap I'd get diabetes and ketoacidosis would set in eventually. the pH of your food and water does not fix the problems you are talking about.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 2:06PM
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apollog

>> An alkaline diet does not mean alkaline minerals. They are different things! Even if you eat the most mineral rich foods imaginable if you eat them with vinegar on them they will not be part of an alkaline diet!

Not really. There are a variety of concepts and words that surround these concepts, and that creates confusion.

To an alkalinizer, citrus fruits are considered alkaline, even though the pH of orange juice is clearly on the acidic side. The net effect on the urine of drinking orange juice is alkaline. The net effect of eating citrus and most other fruits and veggies is to increase the alkaline reserves of the body. Orange juice is loaded with potassium citrate - the citrate is a weak acid (much of the citrate is metabolized to neutral compounds or exhaled as CO2), while the potassium remains and forms a strong base or alkaline.

This has been documented repeatedly. Consider this article from the journal Cancer Research:

  • Controls received water and tea as test drink. Orange juice (pH 3.64) and tube feeding (pH 6.78) both led to alkaline urine pH and significantly decreased urine acid output compared to the control group. Yoghurt (pH 4.1), buttermilk (pH 4.58), and Coca-Cola (pH 2.54), on the other hand, all induced a higher acid output than the control group and a urine pH less than 7.0 during the whole test day. (

source)

The acetic acid in vinegar is a weak organic acid/short chain fatty acid - it gets shunted into the a variety of metabolic pathways, and it is ultimately neutralized or oxidized to CO2 and eliminated. The heavy duty inorganic bases or acid forming elements (Ca/Mg/K and N/P/S) behave in a very different way. So sprinkling vinegar on your food has little or no effect on the ultimate pH of the metabolic products.

So clearly, the 'surface pH' of foods if you press a piece of indicator paper on them can be quite different from the pH of the metabolic products of that food. The alkaline diet is concerned not with the initial pH, but the final result in the body.

>> an alkaline diet isn't going to fix ANY of the problems with the western diet

I invite you to look at what a typical alkaline diet actually involves (mostly fruits and vegetables, moderate amounts of grain, meat, and dairy, less sodium, less processed foods), and then tell us that such a diet is no better than the typical western diet. Then tell us the same thing about the DASH diet.

The fact that you have a basic understanding of pH is great, but you haven't done your homework on how these terms are being used in this specific context, then you are simply making baseless statements.

>> I could add a bit of NaOH to every drink and food that enters my body, never having anything below a pH of 8 go into my mouth, but if I ate crap I'd get diabetes...

You are right about that, but you are quite wrong in your assumption that the alkaline diet includes the belief that sprinkling sodium hydroxide on crap makes it healthy...

    Bookmark   May 6, 2009 at 3:27PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

You missed my point, When talking to us laymen the alkaine diet proponents with out fail talk about avoiding acidic foods, and drinkinging alkalized water, and say that this will improve our health. This claim is false. What they claim when talking to the rest of us does not hold true and I explained how it doesn't.

Now you have brought something new in, another level of alkaline dieters, with claims different from those that most of us are exposed to. These second order alkalizers have a much more reasonable standpoint, however, there isn't anything presented that really suggests to me that the alkalinity of the urine is related to health, it seems to me that there claims just tend to coincide with things that are healthy for other reasons. Eating fruits and veggies and whole grains would still be healthy if you ate them with dilute HCl mixed in, which would acidify your urine.

Also, does the pH (which I have more than a basic understanding of thank you) of urine mean the pH or blood? In brewing (which is the practice that is responsible for our understanding of the concept of pH and water chemistry) there is an understanding, when you are brewing your beer and it smells delicious, you need to remember that what is in the air is no longer in your wert (unfermented beer), I think the same thing applies to hydroxide and hydronium ions, when it is in the bladder it is not in the blood.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 1:10AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

The mention of vinegar is interesting.

A number of people posting in this forum have praised vinegar, notably apple cider vinegar, for its purported value in weight loss, reflux esophagitis and other conditions. Vinegar is mostly acetic acid. Horrors - vinegar drinkers are taking in acid, which is unhealthy and will warp their pH in strange and subtle ways! Wait - apollog says the vinegar's acidity will be neutralized in our body by normal metabolism with no ultimate effect on pH.

And he's right - but the same processes of metabolism also neutralize those dreaded "acidic foods" that he's been warning us about.

How many people are worrying about consuming an "alkaline diet" and at the same time blithely drinking vinegar to cure their ills? There seems to be a philosophical conflict here.

I talked before about how support for the false proposition that you can easily manipulate pH in the body to affect disease, enables quackery. And here's another example - the selling of "coral calcium" which among other things is supposed to counteract our acidic diet.

"Nonsense. The body's pH at the cellular level is controlled by a set of exquisitely balanced buffer systems. It is not adversely affected by acidic foods or water, and it cannot be changed by drinking "alkaline" water."

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 9:21AM
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apollog

>> Now you have brought something new in, another level of alkaline dieters, with claims different from those that most of us are exposed to ...

Well, I can't say what you were told by unspecified people and I don't know what you are exposed to. I went to Google and searched for "alkaline diet" and looked at the #1 search result. I would suggest that more people read that than any other page on the topic, and that it is more representative of the concept of alkaline diet than what you are exposed to.

  • What is the Alkaline Diet?

An alkaline diet is a diet that emphasizes, to a varying degree, fresh fruit, vegetables, roots and tubers, nuts, and legumes. ...

Almost all foods that we eat, after being digested, absorbed, and metabolized, release either an acid or an alkaline base (bicarbonate) into blood. Grains, fish, meat, poultry, shellfish, cheese, milk, and salt all produce acid, so the introduction and dramatic rise in our consumption of these foods meant that the typical Western diet became more acid-producing. Consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables decreased, which further made the Western diet acid-producing.

Our blood is slightly alkaline, with a normal pH level of between 7.35 and 7.45. The theory behind the alkaline diet is that our diet should reflect this pH level (as it did in the past) and be slightly alkaline. Proponents of alkaline diets believe that a diet high in acid-producing foods is disrupts this balance and promotes the loss of essential minerals such as potassium, magnesium, calcium, and sodium, as the body tries to restore equilibrium. This imbalance is thought to make people prone to illness.

http://altmedicine.about.com/od/popularhealthdiets/a/alkalinediet.htm

It isn't perfect, I wouldn't have written it exactly that way, I could pick at some points ... but it reflects the ideas I have presented, not the ideas that you presented. And more people are exposed to this page than any other source.

I can't say that there aren't people out there selling overpriced gadgets to 'alkalinize' the water (there are), but my Google search on how to alkalinize water turns up more hits on adding lemon to water to make it alkaline. I don't have a problem with that - it makes that water alkaline in the sense that it reduces renal acid load - it adds potassium citrate to the water. I think that squeezing a bit of lemon into a glass of water is a perfectly fine practice. Alone, that may not do much, but it is consistent with the alkaline diet and reduces the dietary acid load.

Most sites on the alkaline diet that have lists or charts of what are considered alkaline foods, and what are considered acid foods. These charts are based on the ideas I have presented here, not the ideas that someone may have told you. The basic 'plan' is to shift the balance towards alkaline foods (as defined by the ash content, PRAL/Potential Renal Acid Load, NAE/Net Acid Excretion, or other concepts that you can read about...

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 10:33AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

"Increased intake of Calcium, Magnesium and Potassium goes hand in hand with an increased alkaline load. Is it the pH itself, or the correction of deficiencies that allow bones to strengthen and enzymes to work better? Yes!!"

Translation: "We don't know what the mechanism is for alleged, unproven health benefits for fixing deficiences in minerals/elements that people don't have."

By the way, vinegar has a pH much lower than supposed "acidic foods" - about 2.4 for typical white vinegar, for example. The acetic acid in various vinegar products including apple cider vinegar is relatively mild as acids go, but is still strong enough to burn the throat if drunk straight or taken in pill form. Yet ACV is harmlessly metabolized, but the body can't handle far less acidic foods? Really?

Can this contradiction be explained?

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 12:38PM
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apollog

>> Translation: "We don't know what the mechanism is for alleged, unproven health benefits for fixing deficiences in minerals/elements that people don't have."

Real Translation: eric is a troll trying to create doubt where there is none. He thinks he knows more than the USDA's Community Nutrition Program or Bruce Ames or the many studies that show that most people don't consume anywhere near the recommended daily intake of magnesium and calcium. He doesn't think that such low intakes can have negative effects on blood pressure, osteoporosis, kidney stones, and a host of other common diseases. And he doesn't have evidence of his own, and can't refute real evidence that shows the opposite of what he believes!!

70 million Americans have hypertension and many more have elevated blood pressure, and the DASH diet (which is based on more fruits and veggies, less salt, etc) is usually quite effective in reversing elevated blood pressure. Most Americans eat only 2 or 3 servings of fruits and vegetables (combined!) per day, while the alkaline diet advocates making them the majority of the diet... eric says nevermind all that, anyone who suggests that eating more fruits and veggies can improve health is venturing into the land of DANGEROUS, UNPROVEN SPECULATION!! No, friends, what is important here is that the skeptic groups have labeled the idea of an alkaline diet as heresy, and such dangerous words must be opposed in every way possible.

Eric, you tried to define the concept of an alkaline diet in a way that is inaccurate, but that didn't work - anyone who reads knows that you don't even know what you are against. You lost on science and resorted to labeling my arguments advocacy of a "magic mineral theory" even though my ideas are documented by research and yours are documented primarily by other skeptic pages and encyclopedia articles. The reasonable reader can see through you. Now your trolling continues and we see that you only have the tired tricks of distorting and nagging. I guess it is too much to ask for better - trolls don't have a wide repertoire of tactics.

Fortunately, all you get to do is stick out like a wart - you can't disprove or undo the case that has been made here for the alkaline diet, you can only try to confuse people with unsupported nonsense. Bully for you!!

Fruits and vegetables are the only food groups that provide an alkaline load to the body.!!

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 2:31PM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Can you provide information suggesting that "alkalizing" foods contain higher levels of these minerals and other healthful components than acidifying foods? I just don't see any reason at all to even correlated the benefits to pH, mammals just have super advanced pH adjusting systems and I don't see anything else interfering with that process.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 5:41PM
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apollog

>> Can you provide information suggesting that "alkalizing" foods contain higher levels of these minerals and other healthful components than acidifying foods?

Yes.

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 6:25PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

The same stuff as usual from apollog - if you can't or don't want to address the subject of a thread, volley insults and go off onto tangents.

Remember, this thread was started to ask about the alleged benefits of "alkaline" water, which led to me linking to a site on water quackery (run by a retired chemistry professor), with a quote refuting the idea that "alkaline" water could alter body pH.

Nothing presented by apollog in this thread has overturned that simple fact. Nor has he shown (or will be able to show) that the acid-base balance of the body (i.e. pH of blood or pH at the cellular level) can ever be altered by "alkaline" water or "alkaline" diets. It just doesn't happen, and numerous sources knowledgable about human physiology and medicine agree (the sources cited in this thread include a nutritionist, a cancer surgeon, thoracic and gastrointestinal medicine specialists, WebMD and the American Institute for Cancer Research). These concepts are universally accepted in medicine, however much apollog wants to pretend that it's only me and "quackbusters" saying this.

It is irrefutable that lots of health quackery (ranging from expensive to actually harmful) stems from this false notion about altering body pH, which is why it is worthwhile and desirable to speak out against it.

I'm still waiting for apollog to explain why vinegar is harmless to consume because the body neutralizes its acidity (true), but that "acidic foods" are harmful because they lead to acidic conditions in the body (false).

    Bookmark   May 7, 2009 at 7:17PM
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apollog

>> I'm still waiting for apollog to explain why vinegar is harmless to consume because the body neutralizes its acidity (true), but that "acidic foods" are harmful because they lead to acidic conditions in the body (false).

First, acidic foods are only harmful when consumed in excess, just as sodium is only harmful when it is consumed in excess... in amounts greater than we evolved to consume (or are able to, based on the unique condition of an individual). Sodium and acid forming foods are essential to the body at lower levels. When acid foods dominate the diet, intake of Ca/Mg/K is low and mineral homestasis shifts so that these minerals flow from the bones and muscles into the blood (to maintain that narrow range that we need) and there is an increase in net excretion via the kidneys.

Second, vinegar is not a big concern as an acid for the same reasons that apply to orange juice ... the initial pH of a food as it goes into the mouth is often quite different from the pH of the metabolic products. As mentioned earlier in the discussion, it is possible to metabolize organic acids to CO2, which is exhaled by the breath without depleting strong alkalines like Ca/Mg/K.

Elemental sulfur has a pH of 7 and is quite neutral. If consumed, it can lead to the production of sulfuric acid in the body, which could be rather unpleasant, depending on the dose. Your insistence on focusing on only the pH of something as it enters the body is quite unscientific when considering the acid-base status of the body.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 11:12AM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

Hmm...how do we determine that "acidic" foods are being consumed "in excess"? We know that such foods don't alter body pH - so what measure are the acid-base-o-philes using to determine "excess"?

"Second, vinegar is not a big concern as an acid for the same reasons that apply to orange juice ... the initial pH of a food as it goes into the mouth is often quite different from the pH of the metabolic products."

Except that those metabolic products are typically produced in the alkaline juice of people's small intestines, so any "acid" metabolic products are going to be neutralized rapidly. There really seems to be a disconnect here as far as understanding of human physiology.

Speaking of which:

"...my Google search on how to alkalinize water turns up more hits on adding lemon to water to make it alkaline. I don't have a problem with that - it makes that water alkaline in the sense that it reduces renal acid load - it adds potassium citrate to the water. I think that squeezing a bit of lemon into a glass of water is a perfectly fine practice. Alone, that may not do much, but it is consistent with the alkaline diet and reduces the dietary acid load."

A Google search also turns up the information that lemon juice has a pH level of approximately 2. Adding lemon to water makes it highly acidic. One's dietary "acid load" would be increased by drinking lemon juice (not that that would be detrimental or affect body pH, just as eating citrus fruits and other "acid" fruit is generally beneficial despite the acidity factor).

Other Google searches turn up haranguing on so-called "good" and "bad" acid fruits. The level of obsession with acid-base balance in regard to the foods we eat gets ever more ridiculous and nonfactual, the more you hear about it.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 3:14PM
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apollog

>> One's dietary "acid load" would be increased by drinking lemon juice (not that that would be detrimental or affect body pH, just as eating citrus fruits and other "acid" fruit is generally beneficial despite the acidity factor).

Please educate yourself on the basic science - concepts like metabolic acid load, PRAL and NAE. It is apparent that you are quite unqualified to comment on the ideas here as you are unable or unwilling to review the literature and rely on simplistic, inaccurate concepts of what is happening in the body and what others are actually claiming. The hundreds of studies and reviews that speak of acidogenic diets and alkaline load use that term in a specific way that is quite different from the measured pH of the food sitting on the dinner table. These concepts have been repeatedly demonstrated in research and are accepted in nutrition and physiology, and their meaning is not at all similar to your naive assumptions of what they mean.

You might start with an article from a group at the Bone Metabolism Lab at Tufts University, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition in 2006:

Metabolic studies reveal that acidogenic diets increase bone resorption acutely. American diets are considered to be a risk factor for osteoporosis and bone fractures in part due to their high potential acid content. The net endogenous acid produced from these diets, measured as urinary net acid excretion, is estimated to be 40Â80 mEq/day. Protein and cereal grains are metabolized to acidic residues whereas fruits and vegetables have an alkaline residue. Therefore the balance between intakes of these major dietary components will determine the net potential acid load of a diet ... Diet changes that increase renal NAE are associated with increases in serum PTH, bone resorption, and calcium excretion over a 60-day period. (

source)

So dietary acid load (based on acid production and excretion) is not necessarily increased simply by consuming acid foods like citrus or vinegar.

  • Controls received water and tea as test drink. Orange juice (pH 3.64) and tube feeding (pH 6.78) both led to alkaline urine pH and significantly decreased urine acid output compared to the control group. Yoghurt (pH 4.1), buttermilk (pH 4.58), and Coca-Cola (pH 2.54), on the other hand, all induced a higher acid output than the control group and a urine pH less than 7.0 during the whole test day. (linked to earlier in this post)
    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 4:28PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

The Tufts study you linked to is a) small (40 people total), b) short-term (the authors acknowledge this limitation), c) is imprecise because it involves self-reported diets among study subjects d) doesn't demonstrate that "acidogenic" diets increase bone resorption (the authors acknowledge this) and e) has findings contradicted by other studies (for example, the authors note that "In a recent 8-week dietary study, however, a higher dietary protein intake increased urinary NAE (net acid excretion) but did not affect several markers of bone turnover, calcium retention or urinary calcium excretion.)

All it shows is that someone is using the term "acidogenic diet", not that it has any practical implications, and certainly not that such diets alter body pH in any way. Back to the drawing board...

As to your followup on lemon juice (well, not really a followup since you don't mention lemon juice or how you got the idea that adding it to water makes the water alkaline (when in reality it's markedly acid): whether or not citrus or any other drinks change urine pH (for whatever period of time), that doesn't alter the fact that they do not affect body pH and that whatever effects they may have on the body as a whole do not depend on some mysterious alteration of body acid-base balance.

By the way, I was interested to see that at the bottom of the forum page, an advertiser is promoting "the proven original non-chemical body pH supplement that works!"

Their claims include:

"Acidosis or an acidic body is when your body is out of balance and the ph level is low due to an accumulation of waste matter in the system. Usually an acidic body tries to excrete toxins through bowel movement, skin eruptions and urination. On occasions due to poor elimination or excessive acidic environment these toxins may accumulate...The result of eating acid forming foods will literally clog up your system resulting in long term health concerns. Other causes of an over acidic body may include chemical exposure via commercial skin, body and hair care products, household detergents and lawn pesticides to name a few...How can you tell if your body is acidic? Your body may warn you by developing symptoms such as allergies, fatigue, acne, arthritis, asthma, foot fungus, restlessness, insomnia, boils, bronchitis, itchy skin, cancers, frequent colds and flu, diarrhea, constipation and even eczema. You may want to test your saliva with Litmus pH testers. The pH of your body may fluctuate from hour to hour and day to day, any test is a general guide. You may think that your body pH levels are great, with no need to take action. Remember prevention is far better than any cure, even if you are alkaline you will benefit from the Acid-2-Alkaine Supplement to boost your body's pH levels when needed."

http://www.NaturallyDirect.com

The above is a typical collection of hogwash from the promoters of the dread Acid Body Syndrome - complete with silliness about their...

    Bookmark   May 8, 2009 at 6:46PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

"Alkaline water" is back in the news - in the case of a 13-year-old Minnesota boy with Hodgkin's lymphoma. He and his parents are refusing radiation and chemotherapy for his disease (which offer an average long-term cure rate of 90%), in favor of "traditional" treatments:

"Olson asked how Daniel's cancer was being treated. Colleen said they are treating it by "starving it, by not feeding it." She said she found some information on the Internet and started giving Daniel high-PH water, many supplements and an organic diet that includes lots of greens and lightly-sauteed rice."

A physician is quoted in the story as saying the boy has a 5% chance of surviving the next five years without proven therapy.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 9:17AM
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novice_2009(zone 6b)

Very dangerous, treating something like that with something "found" on the internet. If they were working with someone specializing in alternative treatments and a nutritionist, that would be better. As a mom myself, I cannot say what I would do in such a situation given my beliefs- but i imagine the best of both worlds could be utilized. Can you answer this question, eric please? I've been wondering, knowing how many children from my state alone are at St. Jude's.......why do so many children today get cancer? Do you have any scientific data on this?
Use to be, young children passed away from contagious diseases, but cancer- not like today. Why, I wonder?
Let me know how that case with the boy and lymphoma turns out if you are keeping up with it. thanks.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 3:27PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

There've always been childhood cancers, though it's unknown why the pediatric cancer rate rose by about 1/3 in recent decades, or why it's been leveling off more recently.

What's especially sad in this particular case is that the cancer in question (Hodgkin's lymphoma) is so curable, and the alternative to proven treatment so deadly.

Here is a link that might be useful: pediatric cancer

    Bookmark   May 11, 2009 at 6:27PM
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rusty_blackhaw(6a)

As requested, an update on Daniel Hauser, the boy whose mother wanted him to avoid mainstream therapy for Hodgkin's disease (which has a long-term cure rate of 90%), in favor of "natural treatments" including ionized/alkaline water.

It's reported that the boy's tumor has grown larger during the period he has not been receiving proper care, and his chances diminish the longer he and his mother are on the run.

A very sad case.

Here is a link that might be useful: Chemotherapy vs. dying of cancer

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 12:06AM
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brendan_of_bonsai(4b AK)

Whats really sad is that he is illiterate. His parents wisely chose to homeschool him; Naturally this means that he has been exposed to a broad range of beliefs and is now well equipped to make up his own mind of what his beliefs are. Oh wait, thats not true at all. Sad panda is Sad.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2009 at 12:38AM
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