Bicarbonate Maple Syrup – Another Wacky Cancer "Cure"

By Michael Edmonds 26/06/2013 48


We’ve seen them before – weird, wacky and sometimes dangerous procedures purported to treat cancer and other diseases – miracle mineral solution , coffee enemas, positive thinking, laetrile to name but a few. Over at Respectful Insolence, Orac reveals a new oneBicarbonate Maple Syrup.

The Bicarbonate Maple Syrup treatment merges two ideas:

1) That cancer cells have a strong appetite for glucose

2) That disease/cancer comes from the body/cells being too acidic.

While the first idea is supported by science (here), the second is a myth that has been circulated for decades. Combined together they create a treatment that is just plain wacky.

The treatment calls for patients to brew up a mixture of bicarbonate of soda with maple syrup and then to take sips of it throughout the day. The principle behind this is that the glucose in maple syrup will carry the bicarbonate into the glucose hungry cancer cells and kill them.

So what is wrong with this process?

First, maple syrup consists largely of sucrose not glucose. Sucrose, of course, is digested in the body to produce glucose, however, this very process will also neutralise the bicarbonate of soda. Anyone who has used bicarbonate of soda to counter acid reflux knows very clearly from the carbon dioxide it produces that stomach acids effectively neutralised swallowed bicarbonate.

Indeed, this procedure like many others completely ignores the fact that substances taken orally first have to transit our digestive system, then our circulatory system to get anywhere near most cancer cells. And any substance transiting these systems will undergo a series of changes – certainly the chances of the bicarbonate and maple syrup getting to cancer cells intact is highly unlikely.

The other thing that puzzles me is that do the people promoting these “treatments” actually think that if they did work, that scientists wouldn’t have investigated and perfected them decades ago? Most of those involved in cancer research would love to find a simple and effective treatment, however, history has shown that the treatment of cancer is challenging. Even so, the treatments that are being developed are getting better and better every year.

Maple syrup and bicarbonate of soda does not make sense as a cancer treatment. Though if heated together long enough I wonder if they might form a Canadian equivalent of hokey pokey?


48 Responses to “Bicarbonate Maple Syrup – Another Wacky Cancer "Cure"”

  • The spiel supporting the device is written by someone with a Ph.D. … most likely in medieval studies.

    I haven’t located the details of her Ph.D. but she says her BA was in English Medieval Studies – I presume her Ph.D. is in the same general area as would be usually the case, especially as her Ph.D. is from the same institute as her undergraduate degree. Her son who—according to her—is also her partner in her business and research teaches ‘Magic and Witchcraft in Early Modern Europe’. That would be unremarkable and a perfectly valid topic in and of itself; it’s if there is an association between his teaching and the ‘natural healing’ stuff they advocating that would be worth noting. While I can find her son’s name on the University of Exeter website, I can’t find her name there. (Usually all staff are named on-line in one way or other.)

    A real shame, to me, is that her research on this gem stone stuff is apparently associated with the University of Exeter.

  • Hi Grant – given the downward trend in the academic quality of universities in the UK, the association is actually unsurprising…

    I note that a specialist research area for the university is extra-solar planets. Perhaps she is from one.

  • Michael, at the 10 gm or so bicarb in the recipe the stomach acid would easily buffer that with no disturbance in body pH. Doses of 200 gm would certainly affect body pH, in some case leading to significant metabolic acidosis…

  • RonL

    Yes, the stomach should easily buffer that bicarbonate particularly as the source appears to recommend taking small amounts each day.
    The pubmed quote is a good reminder that even something seemingly harmless can have have deleterious effects when taken in excess.
    Older people appear to be more vulnerable due perhaps to a slowing metabolism.

  • hi don’t know whos in charge; but does bi carb change the bodies ph levels or not …???????
    read some research stating bi carb in blood prevents spread of cancer cells around the body any info on this research????

    • Mr Green

      No, it doesn’t change body pH, at least not significantly. ANd no this is not a vlaid treatment for cancer

  • mr green….

    Soda bicarb certainly DOES change one’s system to an alkaline pH. (i.e., > 0.70) I’ve used it twice to bring an increasing (Post-op) PSA back down to zero…or ‘undetectable’. (I.e., from 0.173 and 0.108). My ‘original’ pre-op PSA was 12, with a positive biopsy. The surgery was performed at Mayo clinic, and I elected the more hazardous ‘nerve-sparing’ radical retropubic prostatectomy.
    As a former Navy medic, I refused radiation therapy to eliminate the ‘dirty margin’ at the neck of my bladder…in lieu or combined hormonal therapy. This was back in ’94.

    Maintaining an alkaline pH has several positive attributes I will not discuss here. And, as noted, maintaining an excessively high pH (i.e., over 0.8) for lengthy periods may be problematic.

    • Bob,

      Your post is a little confusing. Which “system” changes to an alkaline pH? Our blood needs to remain at a pH between 7.35 and 7.45 in order to function correctly, however other parts of our body have different pH’s, for example the stomach has a very acidic pH to help in the digestion of food.
      Simply consuming bicarbonate will neutralise the stomach acid, it is not clear what effect this has elsewhere in the body and there is certainly no evidence it can help treat disease (apart perhaps from heartburn)

  • Interesting that its commonly accepted that poor diet has an acidifying affect on the blood and yet the intake of bicarb and its ability to do the opposite is apparently denied.

    Maple syrup does actually contain _small_ amounts of glucose (but not much) – but i think originally people were pushing molasses + bicarb. It seems that some people who dislike molasses thought (maybe incorrectly) that maple syrup could be used instead.

    The acidity of tumor exteriors seems to be accepted by many and was written about by Otto Warburg.

    Still, best not let a little research shed fresh light on a hit piece.

    Heresy ! (or maybe not)

    • Grog,
      Just because something is “commonly accepted” that does not make it true. And I think you will find that both maple syrup and molasses are high in sugar content including glucose.

      “The acidity of tumor exteriors seems to be accepted by many”

      Again with the “accepted by many”. Science relies on evidence not what people choose to believe. If you can provide some actual evidence to support this treatment please feel free to present it …

    • Grog,
      Thanks for the interesting paper – some interesting preliminary results which I see make no mention of maple syrup or molasses. Will be interesting to see if further research supports this paper.

  • @michael

    “Just because something is “commonly accepted” that does not make it true. ”

    of course not. but then it depends who says it.

    http://cancerres.aacrjournals.org/content/49/16/4373.full.pdf
    http://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&ved=0CDcQFjAB&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.springer.com%2Fcda%2Fcontent%2Fdocument%2Fcda_downloaddocument%2F9781588295309-c2.pdf%3FSGWID%3D0-0-45-383645-p173728671&ei=4xynUpGKJpOyhAecy4HgBQ&usg=AFQjCNHaR9AMkfdfjlfhpYclSSW13VSwuQ&sig2=G688vPidSVDo1JtfjIrRxg&bvm=bv.57799294,d.ZG4&cad=rja

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23288510

    but then you can google too!

    ” And I think you will find that both maple syrup and molasses are high in sugar content including glucose.”

    Thanks,… although i knew that which is why i stated it, contrary to what the actual article states.
    The article states that sucrose is the dominant ‘sugar’ in maple syrup – i stated that it does actually contain _some_ glucose.

    Molasses however (AFAICT) is better for glucose – which is what is widely accepted (go google it if you can be bothered) as fuel for tumors.

    The idea of molasses + bicarb (rightly or wrongly) is to hit the tumor with sugar whilst attacking it with bicarb.

    I have no idea if this actually works or not although there are a few miraculous claims (that instead of being dismissed out of hand would be better off being studied) – alas, not much money in that if it works.

    Otto Warburg (nobel prize winner) is the guy to google for the the root of this theory.

    (dont shoot the messenger – i’m just as likely to die a horrible death via chemo/radiation as anyone else).

    • Grog,

      “The idea of molasses + bicarb (rightly or wrongly) is to hit the tumor with sugar whilst attacking it with bicarb.”

      I understand that this is the idea, however, it takes a rather simplistic approach to the body. When molasses/maple syrup etc is digested sucrose is converted into glucose so I can’t see what the difference is between using either sugar, they should still result in glucose being released in the body.
      Also, as soon as the bicarbonate hits the stomach, the acid there should neutralise it so I’m not sure how this will have a significant effect on the pH near cancer cells.

      Also, Otto Warburg did most of his work 40to 60 years ago. Cancer research has moved on a lot since then, so the fact he was a Nobel prize winner does not make him correct with this “treatment”

      “don’t shoot the messenger”

      Nobody gets shot here. This is just a simple exchange of information and ideas.

  • I’ve no idea if the trojan horse method would work or not – i’m not educated enough to say either way.
    There are quite a few mentions of science working on “smart drugs” that deliver (whatever) to the right places, so the concept is not totally without merit. Would bicarb oxygenate the blood (based on Warburgs low oxygen theory)?

    My gut instinct is that some folks who eat the wrong foods tend to constantly nudge their bodies/blood/whatever toward the acid.
    Whilst the body obviously does compensate for this in order to stay alive I wonder if this doesn’t eventually promote the right circumstances for tumors. I’d guess that nudging it back towards alkali gives the body a chance to deal with it in some cases.
    I would have usually thought that nothing much gets into the blood via the stomach until i watched this doctor talk about seeing FAT in the blood of patients after they’d eaten burgers/milkshakes (yes FAT, nothing to do with Bicarb – but it does make me smile when I sometimes read about food not having an impact on blood)

    story starts around 3minutes 30 seconds.

    Vernon Johnson got a stage 4 prostate cancer diagnosis metastasized to his bone by two seperate doctors.
    Did 10 days of bicarb and molasses and then got a clean bill of health. Now, as far as i can figure out he wasn’t selling anything when i first heard about him over a year ago. I told him to put a donate button on his website (because i like to tip where i can) – he’s now written a book of his experiences. Does this make him a snake oil salesmen – I personally dont think he is.
    How did he get this complete sudden remission ? – I’ve no idea,
    but its certainly interesting.

    phkillscancer.com

    As for Warburg doing his work 40 to 60 years ago, means nothing to me. Most men that stumble over truth pick themselves up and keep on going.
    I’m afraid “science” hasn’t moved on a lot since then.

    My mum died in June of Acute Myeloid Leukemia ( or rather, I strongly suspect she died of the consequences of injecting her with Cytarabine and Daunorubicin, the same damn thing ‘science’ has been failing with for the last 30 years.

    I was giving my mum probiotics for a while (because all of the anti-biotics they were giving her to fight the infections would have killed her gut flora).
    The nurses and doctors said, no, dont give her them. They wanted to control what went in and out of their patients.

    A week later i discover that a different oncologist was now insisting on pro biotics for all her patients. So even the ‘experts’ frankly aren’t up with best practice.

    So i’m afraid when people claim that “science” has moved on, what you actually find is that the people that actually should know what to do are still doing the same old crap they learnt or the pharma reps tell them to do.

    The ‘war on cancer’ has been a massive failure when it comes down to actual patients.
    Yes, there are some successes but given the years and the resources, I dont blame people for looking for alternatives.

    I’m afraid i’m slightly dismayed when i read some ‘skeptical’ websites who describe alternatives as ‘wacky’ especially when the alternative is to either cut you open (and ignore the original problem) irradiate you or destroy your immune system with chemotherapy.

    I dont think that ‘science’ has the right to be smug or complacent.

  • “My gut instinct is that some folks who eat the wrong foods tend to constantly nudge their bodies/blood/whatever toward the acid.” Except that your body’s regulatory systems are very very good at ensuring blood/tissue pH stays within a very narrow range indeed. People whose pH values differ substantially from that tend to be quite ill.

    It’s true that chemo & radiotherapy can be hard on the body (although less so than of old, with much better targeting of treatments and management of side effects. However, untreated cancer can be even worse.

  • Uses the word ‘should’ as though proven
    Uses the approach ‘over simplistic for the body’

    I would appreciate that until you’ve actually used the protocol, or interviewed one or more people who are or have used the system that you refrain from publishing ‘debunking’ web pages about the topic which you have no first hand experience in.

    We have used the bicarb/maple system for a period of two weeks and have shown Oncologists that peritoneal deposits from a stage IV colorectal tumour can be removed.
    Of course, oncologists won’t say ‘they’re gone’ they’re only admitting that they can’t find them.
    This ‘over-simplistic’ protocol is being used in tandem with more over simplistic building blocks of the body (vitamins, minerals, metals) as well as high quality nutrients. A complex organism we really are not, despite the multitude of amazing things the body does between heartbeats,

    The proof of this system is in the actual results. Not someone’s ‘supposition’ about what they think should and shouldn’t happen.

    Grog – good work. Thank you for your time spent here.

    • Emma,
      “I would appreciate that until you’ve actually used the protocol, or interviewed one or more people who are or have used the system that you refrain from publishing ‘debunking’ web pages about the topic which you have no first hand experience in.”

      And I would appreciate it if you would stop promoting such protocols with dubious anecdotal evidence, until it has been proven to work using legitimate medical protocol.
      Who is the “we” you are talking about when you say “We have used the bicarb/maple system for a period of two weeks and have shown Oncologists that peritoneal deposits from a stage IV colorectal tumour can be removed”?

  • The other thing that puzzles me is that do the people promoting these “treatments” actually think that if they did work, that scientists wouldn’t have investigated and perfected them decades ago? Most of those involved in cancer research would love to find a simple and effective treatment, however, history has shown that the treatment of cancer is challenging. Even so, the treatments that are being developed are getting better and better every year.

    This isn’t really true now is it? How many of these cancer-fighting organizations spend their money on looking for cures? 90% of their money raised is spent on “admin costs”. Don’t tell me it’s not a business. If a cure for cancer is found, especially one the drug companies can’t make a zillion dollars off, what happens to these organizations? They get disbanded.

    Who knows if this works. I like anecdotal evidence over the “science” pushed by drug companies with something to gain.

  • “If a cure for cancer is found, especially one the drug companies can’t make a zillion dollars off, what happens to these organizations? They get disbanded. ”

    Evidence please, or it didn’t happen.

    “I like anecdotal evidence over the “science” pushed by drug companies with something to gain.”

    Just out of interest, do you carry that through to your understanding of lung cancer? Because I hear, anecdotally, that this whole lung cancer/smoking thing is a crock – I know plenty of people in their 70s who smoke regularly so that should be all evidence that you need.

  • this is a classic example of ” being right for the wrong reason “. what annoys me most is that the wrong “theory” trumps valid treatment. curative properies of sodium bicarb have nothing to do with alkalinity but with salinity. none of the alkalinity proponents actually read simonchini. he clearly states tha key in killing fungi cels to quickly saturate them with salt. he chose bicarbinate because it defuses sodium very quickly. part of his protocol is to eat alot of sugar. what sugar does is provide food to candida which turns it from filament form to yeast, which is more permiable to sodium. the idiocy of acid/alkaline argument is killing a good treatment option.

  • The man that wrote this must be a doctor, who else could be so narrow minded and negative,i suppose chemo and radiation are the better answers ++? Even though it is only 3 percent effective in the longrun? Thank God for people like jim kelmun who try to help people with natural, God given cures.

    • kat Ballard

      It would be nice if when people disagree they provided a rational argument than insults and assumptions

  • Fight, fight, fight, are we just trying to prove who the smartest 1 is? My family is in the fight against rhabdomyosarcoma. When someone you love is dying you have the hope anything will work. When all else fails you turn to alternative medicine. If it works it works. While we are at it let’s discuss CBD oil. Known to work but will he government let you use it? Some countries yes some no. Simple cure for many things but till Big Pharma can make money off it you will not see it widely use in the USA. Face it cancer is big money to these companies. Talk to your doctor, sometimes what doesn’t kill you might cure you. Baking soda and syrup are safe things to eat, just be sure someone is watching you ph level.

  • It took twenty years for the medical profession to adopt the eradication of H Pylori as the cure for most gastric ulcers (and stomach cancer) in spite of clear evidence provided in the 1980’s. The economic disincentive of a simple antibiotic regimen replacing the surgery/medication money mill had to be the primary reason.

    • George

      Your timeline is incorrect. The idea that there was a link between ulcers and H Pylori began to develop in the early 1980s however because there were challenges dealing with H Pylori it was difficult to prove this scientifically. However, due to good research by 1994 the medical community acknowledged antibiotics had a role in treating stomach ulcers.
      How long has bicarbonate maple syrup been peddled as a cure, and where is any scientific research supporting it?

  • And Amelie how many people die every year from radiation and chemotherapy. Its a horrid way to treat an illness. Yet main stream science and medicine kill people all the time with these treatments. Amazing so many people think the bicarbonate and maple syrup to be bad science. It may be that it is, but hell if I were that sick Id give it a shot, why not. I can guarantee you it wont do much harm compared to the current scientific treatments of chemo and radiation. Wake up people smell the roses your all hypnotized by the industry of medicine and science.

    • Alan, you miss the point completely.
      bicarbonate and maple syrup does not work – it is irrelevant as to whether it does harm or not, it is useless.
      On the other hand radiation and chemo therapies certainly have side effects, but can and do cure some people and extend the life time of many others.

  • Alan,

    It is understandable that people turn to what people market or advocate, but that doesn’t make these right or sensible.

    “but hell if I were that sick Id give it a shot, why not”

    It’s almost always a bad idea for people to try a do-it-yourself approach to medicine for serious illnesses. Among other things they stand a fair to good chance of mucking up the help the doctors are trying to give.

    A point about trying other things if medical treatment has been unable to help. People can “insist” there will be a treatment for everything, however for some things and for some stages of serious illness there simply may be no curative treatment available. There was a great comment on my blog about this that I featured in a post: http://sciblogs.co.nz/code-for-life/2012/03/09/were-so-used-to-getting-a-prescription-thats-its-surprising-when-we-dont/

    As for biocarbonate and maple syrup – Simoncini, who touts sodium biocarbonate for cancer treatment, was been convicted of manslaughter and medical fraud, including causing perforated intestines,* and had his license to practice medicine withdrawn. There are some sources giving more on this in a link I provided in an earlier comment in this thread.

  • seems to me that the pharm companies run the world and a cure for cancer would kill the companies and save lives grandma always said money is the route of all evil they can put a rocket ship on the moon but they cant cure cancer come on folks science is no farther ahead now than when we all used lanterns i am going to try baking soda will let u know and we can put this to rest or help save some lives ❤️

    • Laura

      Nice rhetoric – talk about not letting the truth get in the way of a good story. There are treatments for a number of cancers (because cancer is not just one disease, it is many) and science and medicine certainly has progressed. In the past 100 years our average life span has almost doubled, which is one of the reasons we are seeing more cases of cancer.
      Baking soda is effective for baking, cleaning and making volcanoes with vinegar for children however if you wish to use it as a treatment go ahead, no one is stopping you.

  • Do you have any empirical evidence to prove that your claim is true that this does not work If you do not have any evidence that it does not work to counteract the evidence that it does work then get some You soundlike you just want to knock things without proving anything.

    • Yon,
      When someone makes an extraordinary claim it is up to them to prove it, not for others to disprove it.

  • So, what is the point of this thread? Someone has made a false claim (regarding a supposed cancer cure). At least they were possibly trying to help people. What are you guys trying to do? You seem to me to be somewhat like a pack of wolves ready to pounce on anyone who makes a false (scientific) claim, and tear them to pieces. But what does that achieve? The reality is that people who might believe such false claims don’t come to this website for a second opinion. So it is all just for your own benefit and amusement. Given that similar false claims will continue to be made all the time, there comes a point where I groan and yawn and wonder what is the point of hacking into yet another crackpot claim? Don’t you ever get bored with doing that?

    • Stephen,
      One of the points of this thread, is to provide scientific information for those who may have heard about the bicarbonate/maple syrup “cure” and are seeking more information. If we didn’t write such blogs then all there would be for people to read are those selling these sorts of treatment using dubious arguments.
      I don’t see that this blog “tears .. to pieces” anyone. It certainly doesn’t make the kind of personal attack (“like a pack of wolves ready to pounce on anyone”) that you yourself have made.
      You might want to reflect on your own motivations for making your comments rather than assuming you can correctly understanding my motivation for blogging. It certainly is not “for my own benefit or amusement”. Rather it is because I would like scientific information out there along side the non-scientific so that those who are undecided at least have a chance to see scientific information.
      I hope that makes the purpose of this blog clearer for you.

  • The author bashes alternative “treatments” but offers nothing to the individual , friend, or relative who cares enough to try to find something that will help his or her loved one survive cancer. Why would anyone think the ONLY things that could possibly help with cancer are chemo, radiation, and surgery. To ignore the effect different foods have on our health, and also sicknesses is mind blowing. Unfortunately orthodox treatments are not generally getting more effective . Big Phama and Onco Docs unfortunately have a huge financial interest in conventional treatment. There are many studies by M.D.s, Ph.Ds, etc on the effectiveness of plants, foods, and alternative treatments. If the alternative treatment is not harmful, there is nothing to lose. What is wrong with eating less bad or low nutrition food, and more higher nutrition foods, such as green tea, curcumin, garlic, wild salmon, etc.? Do you really expect Big Pharma and most traditional cancer Docs to recommend things such as baking soda, and green tea which can be purchased at the supermarket for a few dollars, when they can sell you treatment which cause tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, and also make huge salaries because of this? Think!

    • Howard,

      ” What is wrong with eating less bad or low nutrition food, and more higher nutrition foods, such as green tea, curcumin, garlic, wild salmon, etc.? ”

      Nothing at all. No one here is arguing the good eating habits contribute to good health – however, eating healthy does not mean you will avoid all illness.

      I’m hardly “bashing” alternative tratments, just pointing out their is no evidence that they work.
      Instead of regurgitating irrelevant arguments about Big Pharma and alternative treatments why don’t you provide some relevant evidence that bicarbonate maple syrup works?
      Oh, that’s right – there isn’t any.

  • Do you really expect Big Pharma and most traditional cancer Docs to recommend things such as baking soda, and green tea which can be purchased at the supermarket for a few dollars
    I would – if there was evidence that they worked. But then, there isn’t, is there?
    when they can sell you treatment which cause tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, and also make huge salaries because of this? Not in NZ.

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