Water and Cancer Prevention
Conventional wisdom dictates that people should consume at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water daily for good health, which makes sense in light of the fact that the human body is made up of about 75 percent water. But the importance of adequate water intake extends far beyond just avoiding dehydration as clean water may be perhaps the most important “nutrient” for effective detoxification and cancer prevention.
Dr. Stegall’s comments: Optimal water intake is at least half of your body in ounces. In other words, someone who weights 150 pounds should aim for at least 75 ounces of water daily. This should be filtered water, ideally free of contaminants such as chlorine and fluoride. Most commercial filters do not filter water to this extent, but it is very important to drink as much properly filtered water as possible because the body’s cells will be exposed to any contaminants from the water. We should also remember that we absorb water contaminants across our skin and through our lungs, so when we wash our hands and bathe, we are taking in whatever is in the water.
Ionized Water Treatment For Cancer
Ionized water is very alkaline (if your ionizer makes the water alkaline), has a high redox potential (i.e. it is a good antioxidant because its ORP value is very negative), and it has its water molecules in smaller clusters than normal water. All of these things help inhibit the spread of cancer and aid in killing cancer cells, directly or indirectly. However, there is not enough evidence to categorize it as a stand-alone treatment plan.
Dr. Stegall’s comments: I believe that the jury is still out on the benefit of ionized water. The acidic environment we see in cancer presents a chicken-or-egg problem: does an acidic environment contribute to the formation of cancer, or does the formation of cancer result in an acidic environment? I am inclined to believe that cancer doesn’t form from an acidic environment, but that it creates one. We know that cancer cells release lactic acid as a byproduct of energy production, so this release of lactic acid into the bloodstream makes the pH more acidic. Is this problematic? For most people, I do not believe that it is, because the kidneys buffer the blood within a fairly narrow range. Testing pH in the saliva is not reliable or beneficial in my experience. However, if patients decide to drink alkaline water as part of their treatment plan, I will support it because I do not feel that it is harmful.
Water Fluoridation and Cancer Risk
People have raised questions about the safety and effectiveness of water fluoridation since it first began. Over the years, many studies have looked at the possible link between fluoride and cancer.
Some of the controversy about the possible link stems from a study of lab animals reported by the US National Toxicology Program (NTP) in 1990. The researchers found “equivocal” (uncertain) evidence of cancer-causing potential of fluoridated drinking water in male rats, based on a higher than expected number of cases of osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer). There was no evidence of cancer-causing potential in female rats or in male or female mice.
Most of the concern about cancer seems to be around osteosarcoma. One theory on how fluoridation might affect the risk of osteosarcoma is based on the fact that fluoride tends to collect in parts of bones where they are growing. These areas, known as growth plates, are where osteosarcomas typically develop. The theory is that fluoride might somehow cause the cells in the growth plate to grow faster, which might make them more likely to eventually become cancerous.
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Dr. Stegall’s comments: While there is no consensus within the scientific community on fluoride and cancer risk, I feel strongly enough about its potential harm to encourage others to avoid it. Fluoride offers little to no benefit for overall health, even for preventing dental cavities. I recommend buying (or making) a natural toothpaste which is fluoride-free, and also avoiding fluoride exposure in water. Drinking water should not have fluoride, and ideally, water for washing hands and bathing should not have fluoride either since it is absorbed by the skin and breathed through the lungs. Assume that all drinking water in restaurants is tap water (meaning that it almost certainly contains fluoride).