Mechanism of apoptosis and a toe with gout
When body fluids, such as urine, become very acid, solids dissolved in the fluids crystallize within the body and can cause gout and create tophi in the cooler parts of the body. The pain of uric acid deposits from gout can be excruciating. The conventional treatment for gout consists of avoiding alcohol, foods high in purines, and some medications like niacin. Many of the prescription medicines used to treat gout have undesirable side effects.
As if the suffering from gout were not bad enough, a study published in 2009 linked the occurrence of gout to increased incidence of cancer and concluded that “hyperuricemia may be an early manifestation of the carcinogenic process”. The study found that gout patients had increased incidence of all types of cancer, including cancers of the oral cavity, pharynx, colon, liver and biliary tract, pancreas, lung, skin (melanoma and nonmelanoma), endometrium and kidney, as well as of malignant melanoma.
Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is frequently used as a home remedy for gout. Sodium bicarbonate works by alkalizing body fluids to increase the solubility of uric acid and permit its elimination through the urine. It is possible that this alternative medicine treatment for gout could also reduce the risk of cancer.
In 2007, researchers identified cellular signaling pathways that become active under alkaline conditions by removing amide functional groups from key cellular proteins (Bcl-xL) thus promoting the death of cancerous cells through apoptosis. German biochemist Otto Warburg initially proposed in 1966 that abnormal energy metabolism caused cancer. He showed that tumors have an acidic extracellular environment, and suggested that a switch from oxidative respiration to glycolysis, which produces lactic acid, starts the cell transformation toward cancer. Warburg’s work stimulated interest in the possibility that there was some kind of link between pH and cancer. The latest findings raise hope that inducing alkalinization may prove an effective strategy to treat a range of cancers.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if cancer could be prevented simply by regularly drinking some baking soda dissolved in water to keep body fluids from becoming too acidic?
 Boffetta P, Nordenvall C, Nyrén O, Ye W., A prospective study of gout and cancer.
Eur J Cancer Prev. 2009 Apr;18(2):127-32, PMID: 19337060
 Gross L (2007) Manipulating Cellular pH Suggests Novel Anticancer Therapy. PLoS Biol 5(1): e10