Acid attack?

Response to an MMS newsletter regarding acid/alkali balance, which could be misleading.

The non-religious “Genesis 2 Church”, AKA purveyors of MMS, the “Miracle Mineral Solution” (chlorine dioxide, a powerful pro-oxidant) and “MMS2” (pool chlorine), have recently sent out a newsletter to their followers, which vehemently attacks the concept of acid/alkali balance with some partially true but otherwise misleading statements. Since a friend recently gave me a copy of this newsletter, concerned about its content and requesting my opinion, I hereby offer it. In this blog I will quote passages from this newsletter and give my opinion on them. I found the newsletter relatively hard going, as I did the book written by the same author, since it is repetitive in places and inexplicably veers off in unrelated and irrelevant directions. What follows is my interpretation of the “facts” put forward in the newsletter, and my personal opinion, based upon scientific evidence and knowledge of the body’s biochemical systems. I do not personally use MMS, neither do I recommend it to others. My final summary will outline why.

MMS is a solution of chlorine dioxide, “discovered” by the self-proclaimed Archbishop Jim Humble whilst in South America. He used it as a cure for malaria, and in the treatment of this disease, it appears to have considerable value. The “Genesis 2 Church” (so called since the FDA are after them, but are not allowed to attack members of any church, giving Jim Humble and his followers safety), appears to be training “Ministers of Health” in the usage of MMS to treat every ill known to man, and there now seem to also be claims from the Genesis 2 Church that they want to deliver mankind from the evils of the world, and are aiming for the elusive concept of world peace, all via the use of their inorganic chemical solution, from what I can gather from the newsletter. These firm believers in conspiracy theory insist that they want to present “the facts” to us all about the nonsense of acid alkali balance and how the bodily pH cannot be changed, and even if it could, it would not create health. As you can therefore appreciate, this might be a long post!

Before I start, I want to make a statement – I have nothing against Jim Humble personally. I believe that he genuinely does want to help people to overcome disease. However, I do completely disagree with the way in which he is trying to do it, via a chemical solution which, whilst valuable in the global fight against malaria (the plasmodial parasite that kills more people worldwide than any other disease), has no evident scientific validity for its use in the many indications that Jim Humble now purports. When you only have a hammer, all you see is nails. Likewise, having read “The pH Miracle”, by Robert Young, I must also state that I disagree with some of the statements made in that book, such as the need to drink alkaline water or take “pH drops”, but agree that the diet proposed has considerable value, being primarily based upon raw vegan food.

The newsletter’s title is “Acidity vs Alkalinity – Life or Death, or The pH Fallacies”, a strong enough introduction to the vehemence of statement that is to come. Its opening sentence, however, is incorrect – “The human body is an oxidation-powered machine. Stop oxidation and you stop life. “ With this one opening incorrect assumption (the body is not powered by oxidation, oxidation is defined merely the combination of oxygen with another substance), the stage is unfortunately set for a number of fallacious statements regarding not only how the body deals with disease, but ultimately the suggestion, although not actually stated, that the only way to deal with any disease is by following the Genesis 2 Church recommendations, which are somewhat pompously described as “sacramental protocols”.

“Stop oxidation and you stop life” – a huge generalisation that is open to misinterpretation. Whilst it could be stated in a simplistic way that the Krebs Cycle is fundamentally oxidation, this does not differentiate between the highly complex biological mechanisms of the body and simple rusting of a bike left out in the rain. Allow oxidation to get out of hand by having inadequate antioxidant protection and you ultimately stop life through degenerative disease. This has been proven scientifically – the “oxidative stress theory” of disease is remarkably accurate. In the next sentence we are told that cyanide is an antioxidant and it is poisonous because it stops oxidation. This is blatantly incorrect and worryingly misleading. Cyanide is a potent toxin due to its inhibitory action on the enzyme cytochrome c oxidase, disrupting the electron transport chain in the mitochondria. It prevents cells from aerobically producing ATP for energy, therefore affecting tissues with the highest oxygen demand. It is not an antioxidant that donates spare electrons to imbalanced molecules in biological antioxidant cascade systems – a subtle but vastly important difference. I will not even comment on the next paragraph, in which we are invited to pretend we are a spy about to kill ourselves with cyanide. It is irrelevant.

A bold statement follows (in two senses, it is not only a bold statement but it is printed in bold text) – “Your body would then be alkaline as all dead bodies are alkaline”. Why is it then, that some of the cathepsin family of enzymes, that break down human bodies after they die, are only released when bodily pH drops to 3.4 (highly acidic)? And how can we explain that the pH of heart blood is a reliable indicator of time of death in post mortem investigations – the longer the time since death, the more acidic the blood? This should be indication enough that dead bodies are not alkaline.

We are then treated to a discourse on why the Genesis 2 Church wants to “save mankind from the evil and brutality that has been the curse of humanity for tens of thousands of years here on earth.” A noble vision indeed, but how exactly are they proposing to do that, I wonder? By misleading people into thinking that the body dies if oxidation stops? Oxidation stops when the body dies because the metabolic processes cease, but it is not the cessation of oxidation that causes death.

“Probably no other organisation or person has ever helped as many thousands of people with what is considered incurable diseases as our Church.” That I doubt; I would be interested to suggest that the good Archbishop contacts the Hippocrates Health Institute to compare data. “We are only trying to get the real facts to you.” You, the reader, must decide whether these are really the facts. I am just reviewing the newsletter for scientific validity.

“The pharmaceutical industry and those that work for them, the medical people, have an agenda. Acidity and alkalinity is one of their areas of deception.” I would very strongly dispute this statement. The pharmaceutical industry knows nothing of the concept of acid/alkali balance and they make no mention of it. The industry exists to produce drugs that are used in the medical and veterinary markets that achieve a specific purpose by counteracting symptoms of disease. Conventionally trained doctors are the same – acid alkali balance as put forward by nutritional health practitioners is not taught in medical school. Doctors and vets are trained in recognising the complications caused by metabolic acidosis/alkalosis as a result of advanced disease states, but this is very different from the main subject of the newsletter on which I am commenting.

We are then introduced to the late Kim Tinkham who followed Robert Young’s pH balance teachings. “Kim Tinkham has died of that breast cancer that she was trying to handle with that alkaline health theory.” We are then invited to go and check websites regarding the acid alkaline theory, but not those that promote it!

“The body maintains proper pH in the blood by breathing (oxidation).” Ah, here is where things get more obscure and therefore more misleading. Breathing is not oxidation. Breathing allows oxygenation. Oxidation and oxygenation are totally different things. If the Archbishop genuinely believes that they are the same thing, then I can appreciate why he thinks his message is so important. But breathing is not the only thing that is involved in keeping the homeostatic mechanisms responsible for blood pH regulation functioning normally. We know, for example, that the movement of minerals plays a large part in this regulation, but in the newsletter we are not given any examples of this. Indeed, it is the minerals that are taken in from food that largely determine pH balance, not just in the blood but throughout the tissues. Archbishop Humble states that the blood pH is between 7.35 and 7.45, and that nothing you eat or drink will affect this. This is totally correct – blood pH absolutely has to remain constant or our mechanisms quickly go badly wrong. However there seems to be a huge misunderstanding – the Archbishop implies in the newsletter that the concept of alkalisation is wrong because the blood pH doesn’t change. Those who follow Robert Young’s teachings however are not trying to alter the pH of the blood. No one ever said that. If Jim Humble genuinely believes that this is the case, no wonder he is on the attack!

Allow me to make a statement here which I believe is the crux of the purported benefits of the “alkalise to gain health” concept. Most people’s diets are too acidic, i.e. they contain too many acid-forming minerals. Let’s look at those foods – meat, dairy, coffee, cans of fizzy drink… I think you get the picture. We know that to keep blood pH at 7.4, we have to use alkaline minerals to balance out the acidity of the phosphate ions from meat, for example. And we do this via our greatest stores of these minerals – the bones. The fact that high meat and dairy diets cause bone loss is well known. It is therefore highly misleading that the newsletter from the Genesis 2 Church states that it doesn’t matter what we eat because pH won’t change. It’s not the acid/alkali per se that we are, or should be, focusing on. It is the balance of minerals that is important, and we find those beneficial minerals in, for example, green foods and algae, amongst many others. We tend to call these alkalising foods because they contain alkaline minerals. The difference between this, and Archbishop Humble’s suggestion that we give intravenous bicarbonate as a method of alkalising the blood(!), is obvious.

“The body’s own immune system kills pathogens with oxidation”. This is a true statement; it is one of the ways in which the immune system works, but not the only way. The immune system has the ability to create and use its own free radicals to attack foreign invaders. But this is a very far cry from saying that because the body does this, free radicals are therefore good for you, which is the pervading theme which follows, after a further vehement attack on those who state that the blood must maintain an acid/alkali balance (Jim Humble’s misunderstanding relating to the concept of eating to gain alkaline minerals, which, incidentally, are vital for the correct running of the Krebs Cycle and therefore energy production).

We are treated to a summary of the pH values of various parts of digestive anatomy and physiology, but the given values are not entirely correct. He states that saliva is normally acidic when it is in fact pH neutral. I dispute the following statement: “The pH of the skin and tissues is about the same as blood, and why wouldn’t they be, they are serviced by blood.” Every organ, including the skin, is serviced by blood, but that does not mean that they have the same pH – far from it. This statement adds further weight to the concern that Jim Humble has insufficient understanding of actual bodily pH values; particularly relevant since this article is slamming the pH theory. One would have hoped that he had researched his facts prior to putting his case forward.

“Oxygen is breathed in every minute of every day our entire lives and that oxygen keeps us alive through oxidation.” It does not. It keeps us alive through oxygenation, the delivery of oxygen to the tissues after it is released from haemoglobin, the molecule which carries it. Even if we take oxidation to be the burning of food for energy in the Krebs Cycle, a somewhat undesirable process that occurs is that of free radical formation. This is minimised via our antioxidant cascades, and relies heavily upon our consumption of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables. Otherwise unchecked, this type of oxidation would shorten and degrade our lives.

At one point in the 12 page newsletter I started to get excited – it looked as though Archbishop Humble was going to talk about eating properly, even if, as he stated, it didn’t do anything to change your bodily pH. Sadly not. “You need to eat a proper diet” was all he could tell me. And that is, what exactly? Please elaborate! I know what a healthy diet is, but why are you not telling your readers what they need to eat to stay healthy? I’m disappointed. Is it because you don’t actually know?

The next two paragraphs implore us to do an internet search to check to see if any clinical trials exist concerning acid alkaline theory, prior to stating that none exists. He states that a change of the urine to alkalinity indicates the body needs to throw off excess alkali. The urine of a healthy human is pH neutral to slightly alkaline. The pH of most people’s urine is acidic, indicating the body is trying to get rid of excess acidity – a point which he fails to make.  

“… the theory that disease-causing microbes cannot live in an alkaline environment is the whole basis for the acid-alkaline theory.” Actually, I don’t believe the Archbishop has this right. Many disease-causing microbes cannot live in an oxygen-rich environment; cancer cells likewise. Moving to a diet rich in alkaline minerals allows better tissue oxygenation, in turn improving cellular health. “Thousands of disease-causing microbes can live at any pH from 6 to 8. Your body makes an ideal environment for all disease-causing microbes. I might mention a couple of these diseases. There is leukaemia and lymphoma that are blood cancers.” Whoa there! Firstly, leukaemia is a blood cancer, lymphoma is a cancer of the lymphatic system – there’s a difference. More importantly, this statement seems to imply that leukaemia and lymphoma are caused by microbes, which is an absolute untruth. If the Archbishop is intent on presenting us with the facts, he has gone very wrong here. Also, how is it that if there are all these disease-causing microbes that are intent on living in our bodies, many people are very healthy and totally unaffected by such microbes?

“… so your only natural hope is that the hypochlorous acid created by the body will kill all of the disease-causing microbes that have survived to this point. But the body often doesn’t have enough hypochlorous acid…” Really? Is this measurable? How do you know that? Can you direct me to the scientific data and research papers that indicate that disease is caused by hypochlorous acid deficiency? I think you can tell what’s coming next:

“Fortunately you can now use MMS1 (chlorine dioxide, a chemical) or you can add some hypochlorous acid with MMS2 (MMS2 is pool chlorine, remember!), then you can destroy these diseases, whatever they might be.” Well, praise be! All diseases are caused by MMS deficiency? This is a huge leap of faith, even for someone who founded a (non-religious) church. If I were unfortunate enough to contract malaria, then yes, I might consider using this substance, although evidently artemesinin, which comes from the herb wormwood, is also highly effective. But drinking pool chlorine? Why on earth would anyone want to do that to themselves? Since MMS1 and 2 are highly potent pro-oxidants (free radicals) and we know that to avoid degenerative disease we need to avoid the effects of free radicals, this seems exceptionally counterproductive for health-seekers. Chlorinated tap water is linked to heart disease since it is known to be a causal factor in atherosclerosis, so I cannot imagine why anyone would want to use MMS2 in the longer term, whether or not they worship at the Genesis 2 Church.

In the following paragraph, regarding “emotional responses” to acid alkaline theory, the newsletter states:

“It seems that these subjects are going to be believed by those who are determined to believe them. … we are just here to help you, but if you don’t want to be helped then that is certainly your right.” Sorry, Archbishop, I find that remark incredibly condescending. Many of your readers are intelligent people who question everything because they want the facts. However, many of the statements of fact you have made in this newsletter are not facts at all, and they cannot be proven. Please direct me to large scale clinical trials (preferably randomised, placebo-controlled double blind) that indicate MMS is a useful health tool. Testimonials, as we all know, are not enough. I am sure it is useful for malaria, but if you are going to demonise another method that seeks to explain the cause of disease, then you need to provide adequate references for your own statements, not just the well known fact that the pH of blood is tightly controlled at pH 7.4.

“If you go to (Robert) Young’s website, you will see that he is extremely good at using dozens, if not hundreds of great big medical terms, but that doesn’t mean he is right, or that he knows what he is talking about.” I am sorry, but despite not personally agreeing with everything that Robert Young teaches, I find this absolute dismissal of his expertise rather laughable. If you look carefully at what this newsletter is saying, with particular reference to the “facts” that oxidation drives life, it indicates to me that the newsletter author has no grasp of even the most basic of biological processes, and that in trying to make the newsletter comprehensible to the lay person, he has reduced it so that he doesn’t even differentiate between oxidation and oxygenation, a fundamental error that leaves much of the remainder open to ridicule.

Finally there follows a list of the pH values of various parts of the body, notably the digestive system, vagina, urine and saliva. Unfortunately, not only have some of these values been stated incorrectly, they are also annotated by comments that makes one wonder if the author has any grasp of the fact that pH is measured on a log scale. To describe pH 3.8 to 4.5 as “slightly acidic” as he does, indicates a total lack of understanding of this basic system.

The author finishes with a statement in his summary that “these are the facts!” (in bold, just to emphasise their importance). The sad part of all this is that whilst he is correct in stating the fact that the pH of the blood is 7.4, (and needs to stay at that pH, which is why all of the body’s physiological mechanisms are set up to protect this homeostasis), the remaining conclusions on this meandering newsletter are either non factual or only part-truths, which are then used to be highly misleading to the reader. Perhaps this is deliberate, and a ploy to get people to believe that they need to use MMS, perhaps not.

If any of the MMS protocols have indeed saved your life, I am delighted. However, if invited to worship at the Genesis 2 Church, or to recommend any MMS protocols to my clients, I will politely decline, until someone does indeed provide me with the references to those clinical trials.  



About Max Tuck

Hippocrates Health Educator. Long term living foods vegan. Athlete, lecturer, author of four books (with the 5th coming soon) and firm advocate of healthy living.
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