As people look on for good news during the pandemic, misinformation about coronavirus cures continues to do the rounds on social media.A viral post claims that foods with a pH level above the pH level of the novel coronavirus could "defeat" the COVID-19 disease.
The message claims that it has been compiled based on the information provided by patients who have recovered from the contagious information.
The message says that the pH value of SARS-CoV-2 ranges between 5.5 and 8.5 and thus, one should consume alkaline food that is above the pH level of the virus so as to prevent its spread.
This information is being attributed to research published in the Journal of Virology.
It further lists the pH values of different food items such as lemon, orange, garlic, avocado, among others.
Below is the WhatsApp Forward:
The Logical Indian also received a request to verify the claims:
Similar posts were viral a few months back. These had cited research from the Journal of Virology from the American Society for Microbiology as the source of information.
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Consumption of foods with a pH level above that of coronavirus could cure or prevent infection.
The claim is False.
An article about a coronavirus and pH was indeed published in the Journal of Virology in April 1991. However, the study was based on a different coronavirus, the coronavirus mouse hepatitis virus type 4, or MHV4.
Further, the study did not say that the MHV4 virus has a specific pH level or range. The study instead talked about what occurs when mice or rat cells are infected with MHV4 at pH levels ranging from 5.5 to 8.5.
The message says that one should consume alkaline food that is above the pH level of the virus so as to prevent its spread. The idea behind this notion is that increasing the body's pH levels will create an environment that's deadly to the virus.
According to the University of Texas, MD Anderson Cancer Center, an alkaline diet is healthy but will not modify the acidity of the human body.
"More importantly, there's no way the foods you consume can alter the pH levels of your blood. The pH of the body is tightly regulated. 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 alkaline food that it impacts your blood," they said.
"A virus itself does not have a pH," Associated Press quoted Sarah Stanley, associate professor of infectious diseases and vaccinology at the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health, as saying.
"pH is something that applies to a water-based solution, which a virus is not," she added.
Stanley also said that eating a healthy and balanced diet supports immunity and can be helpful for fighting off infections. However, there is no evidence that consuming alkaline foods specifically is beneficial.
The message lists out the pH of certain foods
"These pH values for these foods are completely wrong," said Donald Schaffner, extension specialist in food science at Rutgers University.
"The human body is designed to be really good at maintaining its pH," he added.
What Is pH?
According to the United States Geological Survey (USGS), "pH is a measure of how acidic/basic water is... The range goes from 0 - 14, with 7 being neutral. pHs less than 7 are acidic while pHs greater than 7 are alkaline (basic)".
The message says that lemons have a pH of 9.9 and limes a pH of 8.2. However, both of these have a pH level of 2 to 3.
Below is a pH scale:
The WhatsApp Forward also lists out symptoms of the contagious infection:
Below is a part of the message:
"How do you know you have coronavirus?
1. *Itchy throat,*
2. *Dry throat,*
3. *Dry cough.*
4. High temperature
Most of the symptoms of COVID-19 are genuine.
Below are the symptoms as listed by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):
People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
Fever or chills
Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Muscle or body aches
New loss of taste or smell
Congestion or runny nose
Nausea or vomiting
Therefore, the claims that an alkaline diet will "defeat" coronavirus is not true. The claim that alkaline foods will prevent coronavirus is also false. A healthy diet can help strengthen immune system, however, it is not enough to stop the coronavirus.
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Aditi, part of the fact checking team of The Logical Indian likes to read, write, cook and laugh, in short live life as it is supposed to be. What makes her fascinated is to discover the truth behind a story and more often than not, it is either fact or myth at the end.
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As the founding editor, Bharat had been heading the newsroom during the formation years of the organization and worked towards editorial policies, conceptualizing and designing campaign strategies and collaborations. He believes that through the use of digital media, one could engage the millennial's in rational conversations about pertinent social issues, provoking them to think and bring a behavioral change accordingly.
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