THE AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY ON CESIUM CHLORIDESubject: Cesium Chloride
Other common name(s): High pH Therapy
Scientific/medical name(s): CsCl
Radioactive cesium (cesium-137) is used in certain types of radiation therapy for cancer patients. However, there is no scientific evidence that non-radioactive cesium chloride supplements have any effect on tumors, and there have been some side effects reported.
How Is It Promoted For Use?
Cesium can be absorbed by all cells, probably due to its similarity in chemical structure to potassium. Proponents claim the intracellular pH of tumor cells is usually very low (acidic) compared to normal cells, and that cesium chloride supplements increase the pH level of tumor cells back to a normal level, which may be detrimental to the cancer's growth. Since cesium chloride is claimed to work by raising the pH of the tumor cells, its use in therapy has been called "high pH therapy." There is no scientific evidence to support this theory.
What Does It Involve?
Cesium chloride supplements are available in pill form. Proponents suggest a dosage of 1-6 g/day. In a single case report describing the effect of short-term oral administration of cesium chloride in a healthy individual, 3 g of cesium chloride, dissolved in fluid, was taken after the morning and evening meals.
What Is The History Behind It?
Interest in cesium therapy began when scientists observed that certain regions of the world with low rates of certain cancers had a high concentration of alkali metals in the soil. As early as the 1920s, some researchers suggested cesium might be effective as an anti-tumor agent. However, further research in the 1930s suggested cesium had no effect on cancer cell growth. The use of cesium chloride for high pH therapy was first advanced in the 1980s.
What Is The Evidence?
There is no evidence that the intracellular pH of a cancer cell is any different than a normal cell, or that raising the pH of a malignant cell will lead to its death. Because of this, the underlining principle behind high pH therapy has not been proven. Although it was observed that certain areas with low rates of cancers had a high concentration of alkali metals in the soil, a direct benefit of dietary cesium in the protection from cancer has not been demonstrated.
Studies conducted in several experimental tumor models in the 1980s found that the administration of cesium or cesium chloride lead to reductions in tumor growth and mortality in certain tumor-bearing mice such as those with sarcoma or breast cancer. In laboratory animals, chronic ingestion of cesium caused blood and neuromuscular effects, and even death. Animal and laboratory studies may show a substance has toxic effects, but further studies are necessary to determine if the results apply to humans. More research is needed to determine the benefit of cesium, if any, for people with cancer.
Are There Any Possible Problems or Complications?
Cesium chloride is not considered toxic. However, the acute and chronic toxicity of this substance is not fully known. Consuming large amounts of cesium could result in nausea and diarrhea. Based on results of animal studies, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding should avoid taking cesium chloride supplements. Relying on this type of treatment alone, and avoiding conventional medical care, may have serious health consequences.
• The American Cancer Society
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