Eating ‘alkaline foods’ does not protect you against coronavirus disease

Dr Abdulrazak Ibrahim

As scientists around the world race to find a vaccine or cure for the coronavirus, the spread of disinformation on the virus could be one of the biggest threats in the global fight against coronavirus disease (COVID19). Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) coined the term ‘infodemic’ to describe the spreading of disinformation on coronavirus through social media platforms and other outlets – a phenomenon that is said to be more dangerous than coronavirus pandemic.


For instance, I received a viral WhatsApp message as follows:


“This is to inform us all that the pH for corona virus varies from 5.5 to 8.5. All we need to do to beat corona virus, we need to take more of an alkaline food that are above the above pH level of the Virus. Some of which are: Lemon - 9.9pH, Lime - 8.2pH, Avocado - 15.6pH, Garlic - 13.2pH, Mango - 8.7pH, Tangerine - 8.5pH, Pineapple - 12.7pH, Dandelion - 22.7pH, Orange - 9.2pH. How do you know you have coronavirus? 1. Itching in the throat, 2. Dry throat, 3. Dry cough. 4. High temperature 5. Shortness of breath. So, where you notice these things quickly take warm water with lemon and drink. Do not keep this information to yourself only. Pass it to all your family and friends. God bless you. The pH scale is often said to range from 0 to 14, and most solutions do fall within this range, Anything below 7.0 is acidic, and anything above 7.0 is alkaline, or basic. According to khan academy (an educational website funded by Bill Gates) PH can be above 14 or below 0 but not among naturally occurring plants. Those outside the range of 0 - 14 is synthesized in the lab."


The message above is a well packaged, pre-emptive, and mischievous disinformation that could prime the public into rejecting any vaccine that may eventually be produced against the virus.


This claim that 'alkaline foods' have preventive/curative effect on COVID-19 is unscientific and threatens to damage the search and eventual administration of vaccines against COVID19 if discovered. Moreover, in an article published March 25, 2020, by Africa Check; this claim was comprehensively debunked.


The statement that coronavirus has a pH of its own is unscientific. It may prefer a certain pH environment. A pH is a scale that measures how much hydrogen ions (protons) are present in a solution. A pH of below 0 is technically impossible since the scale is calibrated from 0 to 14. Near zero pH is found in concentrated acid (the type that burns instantly). So, it's impossible to have that in any food, including the so-called food containing chemicals.


Fruits

If avocado has a pH of 15. 6 as stated here, no one will even be able to hold it let alone eat it. But no matter what we eat, our body has a highly efficient system of regulating its internal pH minute by minute, guarding against over acidity or over alkalinity. While healthy eating is recognized to have positive effect on our overall well-being, we do not need to take any specific diet for our internal pH to be regulated. Our organs are already equipped to balance it.


Abdulrazak Ibrahim (PhD) is a molecular biologist at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria-Nigeria.

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