Acid/Alkaline Diet and Disease

Written by Dr. Nirvana

March 14, 2012

Did you know that blood pH must stay within a very narrow range or serious illness and death can result? This is so essential to being human that the body has a wonderful maintenance mechanism to keep the blood in balance. This mechanism protects the blood at all costs, sometimes at the expense of the tissues. When the tissues become acidic, that in turn can result in impaired function of some major systems, including organ, digestion, skin integrity, and repair from injury, especially osteoporosis. The body will go through extraordinary measures, such as stealing calcium from the bone in order to maintain an optimal pH for the body.

Our body’s internal system needs a pH of 7.3-7.5 for the blood and 3.8-4.5 for the urine. We call this range alkaline. As humans, our enzymatic, immunologic, and repair mechanisms all function their best in this alkaline range. However, our metabolic processes–the processes of living, tissue repair, and the metabolism of food–produce a great deal of acid. In order to maintain our internal alkaline state, we need a few tools. These tools are all around us: oxygen, water, and acid-buffering minerals.

Exercise – When we exercise or move around, we produce lactic acid and carbon dioxide. Lactic acid is by its nature acid and the carbon dioxide becomes acidic, turning into carbonic acid and water.

Digestion – Digestion of foods generates acids. For example, phosphoric acid and sulfuric acid are produced from the metabolism of the phosphorus and sulfur contained in many foods, such as, meats, grains, and beans.

Immune Responses – Immune system responses, such as allergies and hypersensitivities, directly and indirectly generate substantial amounts of acidic products.

Many lifestyle and environment factors also influence acid-alkaline balance. Let’s look at stress as an example.

When we are under tremendous stress, our acidity will likely increase because of the demands on our cells to become more active. Chronically hectic schedules, inadequate sleep, and rushed, imbalanced meals can all contribute to acidosis.

An underlying metabolic acidity (low pH) is a common denominator and likely contributing factor to all degenerative and autoimmune diseases.

This is because an acid environment, for us humans, has several adverse effects on cell metabolism including…

  • impaired energy production
  • fluid accumulation and edema
  • increase in free radical production

Since the correct pH is so essential to our daily lives (and to all the countless chemical reactions necessary for life), the body has many checks and balances to maintain the correct pH.

Knowing your pH

A good measure of average body pH is easily obtained by using pH paper to assess the pH of your first morning urine. Ideally, the first morning urine is between 6.4 (slightly acidic) and 6.8 (slightly alkaline), which indicates that the overall cellular pH is appropriately alkaline.

You can also test your urine pH later in the day, and this will indicate the impact of foods and supplements which you have taken earlier in the day.

Another way to check pH is through saliva (also using pH paper). You should check your morning saliva pH immediately after arising, before you think about or eat your breakfast, and while in a calm state of mind. (Even thinking about food changed your pH.) After a meal, your saliva should normally become alkaline. Checking saliva pH after a meal can indicate whether or not this normal mechanism is intact. Optimal range for first morning saliva pH is 6.8 to 7.2.

So, what do you do, when your pH is not perfect?

You take steps to re-establish your health-promoting alkaline state so that you can regenerate your immune system and improve your overall health.

Step 2: Regaining an Alkaline State

Alkaline minerals include calcium, magnesium, potassium, sodium, chromium, selenium, and iron. In fact, the most readily available pool of alkaline minerals is in the bone, and as mentioned previously, minerals are depleted from the bone to prevent an acidic state which leads to increased risk of osteoporosis.

Establishing the perfect balance for the body can be simple to achieve with the implementation of certain supplements.

Organic vegetable based powders, for example. It’s important to note that when essential nutrients are moved out of tissue storage, more space is created for toxic metals and disease states to infiltrate. Therefore, supplying adequate nutrients via supplement and diet are imperative for optimal health.

Keep in mind that the absorption of nutrients and alkalinizing mineral salts from diet or supplementation depend upon proper digestion in the stomach and upper small intestine. When long-term pH trends indicate depletion of alkaline reserves, it becomes important to assess digestive function. Furthermore, overgrowth of certain abnormal bacteria can impair the lining of the stomach, and food allergies can impair the lining of the upper small intestine. These conditions also feed into digestion and absorption issues.

A simple food allergy panel through Dr. Nirvana can address which specific foods are causing a more acidic state to ensue within your body.  While lifestyle changes and diet modification are important, discovering the triggers caused by foods consumed daily may be the underlying cause.

 

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