Both vitamin C and sodium bicarbonate are touted as cancer cures by vendors preying on desperate patients. Some websites urge that they be used in combination, ignoring the fact that sodium bicarbonate destroys vitamin C. Other websites extol them as inexpensive cures while simultaneously advocating dubious regimens costing hundreds of dollars. While sodium bicarbonate and vitamin C have a place in sensible health care regimens, don't fall for far-fetched claims that are not based on sound evidence.
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Vitamin C is a water-soluble vitamin involved in collagen synthesis, norepinephrine synthesis and fat metabolism. The recommended daily allowance for men and women is 90 mg and 75 mg, respectively. In addition to this recommended daily allowance, the USDA recommends that smokers consume 35 mg more, regardless of gender. The Linus Pauling Institute points out that while these recommendations are sufficient to prevent deficiency, they do not necessarily represent optimal intake. There is debate over the optimal dose.
Sodium bicarbonate is not a nutrient. Otherwise known as baking soda, this kitchen pantry staple is used as a leavening agent and a deodorizer. Mixed with water, it produces a basic solution that can be used as an antacid to treat heartburn and academia caused by advanced renal disease.
Scientists have known the consequences of mixing sodium bicarbonate and vitamin C ever since 1936, when a study on the subject was published in the "Journal of Nutrition." The authors of this study measured the amount of vitamin C recovered from the urine of people who drank a fixed amount of orange juice. The authors determined that the amount of vitamin C excreted was decreased by administration of sodium bicarbonate. Followup studies in the 1940s showed that this effect was due to the neutralization of the vitamin C by the sodium bicarbonate.
The effect of vitamin C on cancer cells has been researched since the 1970s. The Linus Pauling Institute points to several studies that suggest vitamin C might be useful in treating this disease. However, these studies are questionable because they have fewer than five subjects.
Another research group that published in the July 2011 "European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology" opined that the use of vitamin C supplementation "to stave off pre-eclampsia, cancer and other diseases is a 'nutraceutical' industry-driven myth which should be abandoned."
- “Journal of Nutrition”; The Effect of the Administration of Sodium Bicarbonate and of Ammonium Chloride on the Amount of Ascorbic Acid found in Urine; E. Hawley, et al.; May 1936
- “Journal of Nutrition”; The Effect of Cooking with and without Sodium Bicarbonate on the Thiamine, Riboflavin and Ascorbic Acid Content of Peas; C. H. Johnston, et al.; February 1943
- Linus Pauling Institute; Jane Higdon, Ph.D.; January 2006
- "International Journal of Cancer;" Intake of vegetables, fruits, carotenoids and vitamins C and E and Pancreatic Cancer Risk in The Netherlands Cohort Study; M.M. Heinen; February 2011
- "European Journal of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Biology"; Vitamin C as an Antioxidant Supplement in Women's Health: a Myth in Need of Urgent Burial; V. S. Talaulikar; July 2011
- Linus Pauling Institute; More News about Intravenous Vitamin C and Cancer; June 2006