Lori Alton via NaturalHealth365 – With cases of COVID-19 topping 3 million globally – and the death toll exceeding 230,000 – scientists are working feverishly to develop vaccines, treatments and therapies. But, some natural health experts maintain that the key to fighting COVID-19 and other viral infections could lie much closer to home – in the form of a common kitchen staple.
Scientific studies show that certain viruses – including coronaviruses – are much more infectious in an acidic environment. Could bicarbonate of soda (a natural antacid) possibly play a role in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses? While clinical studies have not been performed, advocates say that bicarbonate of soda, also known as baking soda, may be used as a safe, cost-effective therapy to help ward off infection.
Key point: Viruses Must Invade Cells in Order to Replicate and Spread
Viruses, which are little more than tiny bits of protein containing genetic material, infect healthy cells by penetrating cell membranes. At this point, they may begin reproducing, or replicating.
At some point, the virus-laden cell bursts, releasing the virus to infect other host cells. In other words, in order to successfully spread, viruses must find ways to breach protective cell membranes – and inject their genome.
Scientists have now learned that the pH level of cells can affect this process. The pH scale, which runs from 0 to 14, measures how acid or alkaline a substance is. 7.0 pH signifies a neutral reading, with lower numbers indicating acidity and higher numbers showing alkalinity.
Important to note: Blood has a normal pH range of 7.35 to 7.45, placing it in the “mildly alkaline” range.
According to noted physician and teacher Eddy Bettermann, MD, certain common viruses – including coronaviruses and rhinoviruses – are classified as pH-dependent. This means that they require lower, more acidic pH levels in order to fuse with and penetrate cellular membranes.
Research Says: Alkaline Conditions Make it Difficult for pH-Dependent Viruses to Thrive
In a cell study of a strain of coronavirus that infects mice, scientists found that the virus was stable at pH 6.0 – but was completely inactivated by brief exposure to pH 8.0 (alkaline).
And scientists have found that coronavirus strain 229E – one of the viruses responsible for the common cold in humans – has maximum power to infect at pH 6.0.
In a separate cell study published in Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research, the team noted that fusion of cell membranes was dependent on the “acidification” of the endosomal compartment and was triggered by “conformational changes in viral glycoproteins induced by low pH.”
In somewhat less-technical terms: pH-dependent viruses seemed to need acidity to reproduce. Conversely, raising alkalinity seemed to deactivate them – and take the wind right out of their sails (in a manner of speaking).
Understand, although the difference between 6.0 and 7.0 pH may seem “negligible, the fact is: each increment up or down the scale represents a stunning tenfold increase or decrease in potential risk of infection.
According to Dr. Bettermann, this is where sodium bicarbonate (bicarbonate of soda) comes in. Not only does he endorse it as the best way to safely increase pH in clinical emergency conditions – but he credits it with a therapeutic history dating back over a hundred years.
Unsung Hero: A Safe Treatment Ignored During Pandemic Times
In 1918, Edward R. Hays, MD, a physician with the US Public Health Service, utilized bicarbonate of soda against the Spanish flu. An early advocate of baking soda therapy, Dr. Hays believed in its power to alkalize the body, increase resistance to disease and fight colds and flu.
“In many, many instances within 36 hours the symptoms would have entirely abated,” reported Dr. Hays. Dr. Hays also credited baking soda with the ability to treat a variety of other ailments, including rheumatism, eczema, hives, insect bites and burns.
Other proponents of baking soda therapy maintain that it promotes the delivery of blood and oxygen to cells, while buffering metabolic waste acids. And, recent research shows that baking soda may even be effective against the inflammation associated with autoimmune disease.
Natural health authority Dr. Mark Sircus endorses baking soda as well, characterizing it as an “almost perfect medicine.”
Combat Viral Infections Safely and Simply with Baking Soda
Dr. Hays’ suggested protocol for fighting colds and flu is as follows:
During the first day, take six doses consisting of a half-teaspoonful Arm and Hammer bicarbonate of soda, dissolved in a glass of cool water – at regular intervals throughout the day. During the second and third day, take two half-teaspoonful doses in water.
And, for every day thereafter, take a half-teaspoonful in water every morning until symptoms disappear and the cold is cured. For maximum benefit, avoid taking too close to mealtimes. One to two hours after eating is ideal.
Naturally, don’t hesitate to seek medical treatment when ill. And, as we always suggest, check with your physician before attempting to treat or prevent viral infections with baking soda or any other substance. It is particularly important to check with your doctor if you have high blood pressure or kidney disease, as bicarbonate of soda contains high levels of sodium.
Of course, never underestimate the importance of getting sufficient sleep, eating organic foods and reducing stress through natural techniques such as acupuncture, guided meditation, or biofeedback.
You can also boost the immune system with vitamin C, glutathione and zinc – but check with your doctor before adding these supplements to your health routine.
To sum up: convenient, safe, and cheap, baking soda has been used for decades as a trusted home remedy to ease ailments from heartburn to bee stings. Now, it may prove to have powerful antiviral effects as well.
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