Does eating an alkaline diet prevent you from getting infected with the novel coronavirus? No, that's not true: This claim is a medical myth saying that eating an alkaline diet could prevent someone from being infected with the coronavirus. This false information has been debunked by news outlets and the World Health Organization amid the COVID-19 outbreak.
In fact, WHO reiterated that there are currently no cures for the coronavirus.
The claim appeared as a post (archived here) where it was published by Lawana Evans on Facebook on April 1, 2020, under the title "WOW". It opened:
This is to inform us all that the pH for coronavirus varies from 5.5 to 8.5.
Research: Journal of virology and antiviral research.
All we need to do, to beat coronavirus, we need to take more of an alkaline foods that are above the above pH levels of the virus.
Some of which are:
Lemon 9.9 pH
Lime 8.2 pH
Avocado 15.6 pH
Garlic 13.2 pH
Mango 8.7 PH
Tangerine 8.5 pH
Pineapple 12. 7PH
Dandelion 22.7 pH
Increase your intake of the above to help boost your immune system. Do not keep this information to yourself only. Pass it to all your family and friends
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This claim is false. And even though there is a Journal of Virology and Antiviral Research, there appears to be no such study in there proving up alkaline diets in the fight against COVID-19. According to All India Radio on March 31, 2020:
The research report referred to in the Journal of Virology & Anti viral Research is related to a completely different coronavirus - Mouse Hepatitis Virus Type-4 or MHV-4 & not COVID-19. The report was published way back in 1991.
People are desperate for hope during the coronavirus outbreak, and online claims touting this diet are going viral. But this is not an effective preventative measure in fighting off the virus responsible for more than 51,700 deaths globally. In the U.S. alone, some 5,100 people have died.
The post, with more than 300 shares, had commenters claiming they were following the diet and others noting the advice was bogus. In fact, there is no published, medical proof that this diet could keep someone from becoming ill with, or dying from, COVID-19.
Africa Check, a fact-checking site, debunked the claim on March 25, 2020. And Reuters addressed a similar claim on March 10, 2020, confirming with the World Health Organization that there are no treatments - no cure and no available vaccine - yet for COVID-19.
"There are no specific treatments for COVID-19 and treatment is based on clinical presentation. Most cases are mild and self-limiting, and treated symptomatically," a WHO spokesperson told Reuters.
The false claim may have originated in online theories that alkaline diets help prevent cancer. Lead Stories has also debunked that claim. In a story we published in 2019, medical experts denied the connection between a diet high in alkaline foods and a cure for cancer.
A good analysis on this medical myth is published by the MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas. Titled "Alkaline diet: What cancer patients should know," it reads:
The alkaline diet is based on the theory that eating certain foods can change the body's acid levels, also called the pH levels. Some believe that changing the body's pH levels can improve your health and help you lose weight or even prevent cancer.
But there's no way the foods you eat can alter the pH level of your blood. The body's pH is a very tightly regulated system. If you change your diet, you may see changes in the pH of your saliva or urine because these are waste products, but there's no way you could ever eat enough that it really impacts your blood."
The is no proof to the theory that the alkaline diet would prevent coronavirus (and cancer) despite the viral stories.
On Facebook, dietician Julie Perk reiterated that the diet does not prevent coronavirus.