An Alkaline Diet May Reduce Pain and Narcotic Use

LAS VEGAS—Incorporation of an alkaline diet for patients with chronic pain reduced subjective VAS pain scores and narcotic intake by 10%.

Chronic latent metabolic acidosis is hypothesized to worsen pain symptoms by lowering the intracellular levels of magnesium. Intracellular magnesium is crucial for proper metabolism of Vitamin D, which when deficient worsens chronic pain. An alkaline diet optimizes the function of enzyme systems and Vitamin D function by increasing the intracellular magnesium levels. Vijay Arvind, MD, and colleagues from the Cardinal Pain Center and Clinical Research Institute, Methodist Medical Center, Dallas, Texas, conducted a study to determine whether supplementing alkaline food in the diet to reduce the metabolic acid load would increase magnesium and Vitamin D levels, resulting in an improvement in pain symptoms.

The study enrolled 20 patients suffering from chronic pain for more than 6 months, and who were using daily narcotic medications to control their pain, with average pain scale of 5/10 on the VAS score. After 8 weeks, 11 of 20 enrolled patients completed the study. Patients were instructed to include at least 5 servings of alkaline-rich food per day, such as fruits, vegetables, fruit juices, and potatoes, and keep a detailed log of their alkaline food intake, pain score, and the number of pain pills used every day. Measurements were taken after Week 4 and Week 8.

Following 8 weeks of an alkaline diet, subjective VAS pain scores and narcotic pill intake were reduced by 10%. A 5% improvement in the mean duration of sleep was also observed. Dr. Arvind noted that these findings support the need for more studies to demonstrate any benefit of an alkaline diet on chronic pain, muscle mass, and Vitamin D metabolism.