Email Exchange: Ted and Methuselah
Greetings: I am writing to you to share some information about two of your popular topics: Sodium bicarbonate as an alkalizing agent, and the apple cider vinegar.
First, the baking soda. Ted, your contributor from Bangkok, has provided extensive input on the subject of internal usage of baking soda as a way of alkalizing via rebuilding body's bicarbonate reserves, and I would like to share with you some information I found in a wonderful book that I recommend to everyone by Paul Pitchford titled "Healing with Whole Foods," revised ed., 1993, published by North Atlantic Books. On pages 166 and 167, he states;
"...Health stores carry baking powder without aluminum. Even so, baking powder and baking soda both are chemicals which deplete baked goods of the B vitamins thiamine and folic acid. These compounds also create a type of alkalinity in the body that eradicates vitamin C [ref. Kirschmann, J.D. Nutrition Almanac. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1984, p 44] ... An excellent use of baking soda is as a dentifrice. Its highly alkaline properties neutralize plague acids and eliminate the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Even more important, baking soda helps stop the major cause of tooth loss--gum infection and inflammation such as gingivitis and pyorrhea--better than most commercial toothpastes. These traits and its non-abrasive quality make it a safe and effective toothpowder for regular use ... Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) injected in the bloodstream has been a standard treatment since the 1920s to reduce lactic acid in the blood of heart attack patients. However, the July 1989 issue of the American Journal of Medicine reported human experiments that confirmed earlier animal trials involving sodium bicarbonate in the blood: blood flow decreased, the body's oxygen use fell 25%, and lactic acid levels in the blood actually rose. These negative effects also occur to some extent when food which contains baking soda is absorbed into the blood."
Given such negative assertions about the internal use of baking soda, I wonder what Ted's thoughts would be on these matters. I am sure that he, as a biochemist, has seen such negative assertions and it would be nice to share with us his thoughts. Moreover, I wonder what he would think of using Cream of Tartar (potassium bitartrate) instead of baking soda as an internal alkalinizing agent as some health practitioners believe it is an excellent alkalinizer (e.g., see Dr. William Wong's article at www.totalityofbeing.com/ArchivedYeastInfections.html). One obvious benefit of such a switch is that you get more potassium, in which many are deficient, and less sodium which most people already have too much of.
Second, the ACV. My purpose in sharing this information is to highlight the possible downside of over-dependence on ACV. Given the overwhelming positive response about ACV remedies, one may get the false impression that the proper or preferred course of action in addressing many of these problems and disorders is to just load up on ACV and all will be well again. For instance, many of the addressed problems for which ACV is offered as a viable remedy seem to be related to a debilitated liver condition, which is a result of bad diet, wrong food choices, stress, unhealthy life styles, and so forth. I hope that the information I share here would serve as a cautionary note to raise the awareness that ACV may be a viable and effective solution only in the short term for a condition which may need more attention and care than just adding ACV to one's daily diet.
On page 165 of the Paul Pitchford's book, he comments on some of the properties and uses of vinegars:
"Vinegar is warming. It creates a temporary warming circulation of energy (qi) in the body and removes stagnant blood. It can quickly alter emotional stagnation as well, particularly in children -- bad moods will usually disappear a few moments after taking vinegar .. The sour and bitter flavors of vinegar reduce accumulations in the liver and abdomen resulting from rich diet. Lemon juice helps in this manner to some extent but is a cooling and more moderate remedy. People who feel toxic and sluggish during a transition from a refined-food and meat-centered diet to one of whole vegetal foods can profit from a little vinegar or lemon. For this purpose, use 1 teaspoon vinegar or a quarter lemon squeezed in water. This remedy can provide relief while toxins are being released ... Vinegar neutralizes poisons in the body and is good for food poisoning. Take 1/4 teaspoonful every fifteen minutes until relieved. One of the best applications for vinegar is in cases of nausea from eating old foods, overly fermented foods, or too many combinations .. Vinegar relieves damp conditions such as edema, overweight, excess mucus, and athlete's foot ...
But on the same page, he offers the following cautionary comments about vinegar in general:
"Distilled vinegar should not be used internally since it is highly deminerilizing. Quality vinegars for internal use contain more of their own minerals; even so, these are potent and should be used sparingly. The best types of vinegars are organic, naturally brewed, unfiltered and unpasteurized versions of apple cider, (brown) rice wine, white wine, and umeboshi. As a folk remedy in America, apple cider vinegar has been used for many types of disorders [ref. Jarvis D.C. Folk Medicine. Greenwich, CT; Fawcett Crest, 1956 ]. However, when chronic conditions are benefited by vinegar as the sole remedy, one must usually continue to use vinegar, or the condition returns. This leads to a kind of vinegar dependency, which can be overcome if the diet and other pertinent factors in the lifestyle are improved ... Contraindications[emphasis is mine]:weak digestion marked by loose, watery stools; general deficiency (frailty); muscular injury or weakness, including rheumatism."
On page 287, he offers more cautionary notes:
"... Perhaps the most powerful common remedy for quickly removing liver stagnation and the accompanying depression and indigestion is vinegar .. Vinegar should not be relied on indefinitely; the basic diet must be improved instead. Since vinegar is warming, it can worsen the condition of those with heat signs; instead, substitute lemon, lime, or grapefruit, which are also bitter/sour but cooling and more gradually acting."
I hope that these pieces of information would help.
Thanks for upkeeping such a great website, and good luck to you. Regards, Meth