A chain message claiming that eating more of alkaline food that exceeds the pH level of the novel coronavirus will beat the virus is false.
One, the virus SAR-CoV-2 doesn’t have a pH.
Two, eating alkaline food doesn’t alter the body’s pH level.
Three, the highest pH value is only 14, but the message lists levels as high as 22.7.
Four, the pH values for the food items stated in the message are wrong.
The 694-word message being shared in private chat groups dispenses tips on what to do if infected with the virus. They supposedly come from a “GP Nurse in the UK,” a reference to a general practice nurse in the United Kingdom.
On how to overcome SARS-CoV-2 that causes the disease COVID-19, the message recommends:
All we need to do, to beat corona virus, we need to take more of an alkaline foods 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*
pH—power of hydrogen—measures a solution’s acidity or alkalinity (basicity). It ranges from 0 to 14. A pH of zero is totally acidic and a pH of 14 completely alkaline. A pH of 7 is neutral.
The coronavirus does not have a pH level of its own, medical experts have told fact checkers Africa Check and Associated Press.
An American professor of infectious diseases and vaccinology explained to AP:
pH is something that applies to a water based solution, which a virus is not.
Evaluating alkaline diets, WebMD said:
Nothing you eat is going to substantially change the pH of your blood. Your body works to keep that level constant.
Healthline said the “body tightly regulates blood pH levels” in such a way that more alkaline in a person’s diet won’t change significant affect blood pH although it can change the pH value of urine.
It said urine pH is a “poor indicator” of overall body pH and general health as it can be influenced by factors other than a person’s diet.
The list of food items provided in the chain message includes two that exceed the maximum pH level of 14: avocado with a claimed value of 15.6 and dandelion a high 22.7.
All the pH levels stated in the message are also incorrect. A check from various sources, including educational institutions, shows their pH as:
The World Health Organization has repeatedly said there is no cure yet for COVID-19.
On medicines or therapies that can purportedly prevent or cure the disease, WHO said:
While some western, traditional or home remedies may provide comfort and alleviate symptoms of COVID-19, there is no evidence that current medicine can prevent or cure the disease. WHO does not recommend self-medication with any medicines, including antibiotics, as a prevention or cure for COVID-19. However, there are several ongoing clinical trials that include both western and traditional medicines. WHO will continue to provide updated information as soon as clinical findings are available.
On supposed vaccines, drugs or treatments for COVID-19, it said:
To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent or treat COVID-2019. However, those affected should receive care to relieve symptoms. People with serious illness should be hospitalized. Most patients recover thanks to supportive care.
Possible vaccines and some specific drug treatments are under investigation. They are being tested through clinical trials. WHO is coordinating efforts to develop vaccines and medicines to prevent and treat COVID-19.
The most effective protection against the virus, it said, is still the following:
Frequently clean your hands
Cover your cough with the bend of elbow or tissue
Maintain a distance of at least 1 meter from people who are coughing or sneezing
Clemson University. (n.d.) pH values of common foods and ingredients. Retrieved from https://www.clemson.edu/extension/food/food2market/documents/ph_of_common_foods.pdf
Collin, S. (n.d.) Alkaline diets. Retrieved from https://www.webmd.com/diet/a-z/alkaline-diets
Coronavirus doesn’t have own pH level, alkaline food won’t ‘beat’ it. (2020, March 25). Retrieved from https://africacheck.org/fbcheck/coronavirus-doesnt-have-own-ph-level-alkaline-food-wont-beat-it/
Lajka, A. (2020, April 3). Eating alkaline foods will not kill the coronavirus. Retrieved from https://apnews.com/afs:Content:8703572316
Leech, J. (2019, September 25). The alkaline diet: An evidence-based review. Retrieved from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/the-alkaline-diet-myth
Master list of typical pH and acid content of fruits and vegetables for home canning and preserving. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.pickyourown.org/ph_of_fruits_and_vegetables_list.htm
McGlynn, W. (n.d.). The importance of food pH in commercial canning operations. Retrieved from http://pods.dasnr.okstate.edu/docushare/dsweb/Get/Rendition-3801/FAPC-118web.pdf
World Health Organization. (2020, April 8). Q&A on coronaviruses (COVID-19). Retrieved from https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses