Sodium bicarbonate in the treatment of cancer

Updated April 17, 2017

Sodium bicarbonate, also known as baking soda, is a common agent used in the treatment of cancer. Oncologists advocate the use of sodium bicarbonate when administering anti-carcinogenic agents in chemotherapy. Although there is no evidence that could indicate its direct effect in treating cancer, it does offer therapeutic effects that help in making chemotherapy treatment more effective.


According to the American Cancer Society, sodium bicarbonate is being promoted as an alternative treatment to cancer by an Italian oncologist, Dr. Tullio Simoncini. He believes that cancer is caused by a yeast infection, and sodium bicarbonate has the capacity to kill the yeast. (See Reference 1.) Dr. Simoncini published his research thesis, entitled "Cancer is Fungus," presenting fungal infection as the main cause of cancer. However, no scientific evidence is available to support that cancer is due to yeast infection and that sodium bicarbonate can directly cure cancers, although studies have been conducted regarding the ability of sodium carbonate to influence the pH levels of cancer cells.


Sodium bicarbonate is a mainstream treatment for acidosis. Oncologists use it to neutralise the acid properties of most cancer agents in chemotherapy. The Arizona Cancer Center of the University of Arizona, the Department of Pharmacology of Wayne State University in Michigan, and H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute in Florida are conducting a study that indicates the capacity of sodium bicarbonate to alter the pH of tumour cells that could inhibit its spread and progression. (See Reference 2.)


The acid environment of tumour cells is responsible for allowing them to thrive and spread. Making the tumour cells more alkaline increases the ability of other anti-carcinogenic drugs to become more effective in preventing tumour activities. (See Reference 3.) Tumours are more acidic than other normal cells and tissues. An acidic environment is low in oxygen, and changing the pH to alkaline allows an increase of oxygen supply to the cell. This controls the abnormal function of the tumour and prevents it from metastasising. (See Resource 1.)


Some chemotherapy agents have a heavy acidic nature that can pose a danger to a patient. Oncologists use the complementary benefit of sodium bicarbonate to neutralise the acid property in anti-carcinogen agents. (See Reference 3.) It also helps in bringing alkalinity to the cellular environment of tumours. Because cancer cells cannot survive in an environment that has high oxygen level, an alkaline environment prevents them from growing and spreading.


Although there is lack of substantial evidence to prove that sodium bicarbonate can directly treat cancer, the researches conducted with animal tests provide some therapeutic benefits from the use of sodium bicarbonate for cancer treatment.


The use of sodium bicarbonate at the proper dose and under the close supervision by a physician is safe. However, it can pose a risk among patients with heart disease and may result to organ damage when taken without the proper prescription of a doctor. (See Reference 1.)

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About the Author

Evelyn De Matias graduated with the degree of Bachelor of Science in physical therapy from Saint Anthony College and has worked as a freelance writer since 2005. She writes articles on medical-related and other topics for