pH: potential of Health
potent Harmony: Acid-Alkaline Balance
This article attempts to summarize the importance of the acid-alkaline balance in the human body as a measure of overall physical health, and to indicate several steps that can be taken if you need to improve that balance.
We live and die on a cellular level. If our cells are healthy then we are healthy. And if our cells are not healthy, and if they live in a toxic environment, then we are not healthy. The human body contains about ten gallons of fluid so its cells are swimming in an ocean that is either acid, neutral or alkaline. The body’s systems work best in an environment that is neutral to slightly alkaline although some vital organs, like the stomach, either produce or house very acidic substances.
The pH, or “potential of Hydrogen” is a scale that measures the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. Solutions are measured from 0 (totally acid) to 14 (totally alkaline) and 7 is neutral. The intracellular fluid should have a pH of about 6.8. If the pH is too low (more acidic) then enzymes can’t work and other cellular-level process that are life and health sustaining can’t take place.
An acidic pH can be caused by an acid forming diet, stress, toxic buildup, immune reactions or anything that deprives the cells of oxygen and other nutrients. The body will try to compensate for acidic pH by using alkaline minerals. If the diet does not contain enough minerals to compensate, a build up of acids in the cells will occur. An acidic balance will: decrease the body’s ability to absorb minerals and other nutrients, decrease the energy production in the cells, decrease it’s ability to repair damaged cells, decrease it’s ability to detoxify heavy metals and make it more susceptible to fatigue and illness. A blood pH of 6.9, which is only slightly acidic, can induce coma and death.
Inherently the body will do everything it can to maintain optimal pH levels. This is necessary to run the entire body’s biochemical pathways for detoxification, building, and general maintenance. The body has several control mechanisms to keep it at this pH and they include getting rid of excess acid or base by-products through the lungs, saliva and urine.
The American Diet
The reason acidosis is common in our society is because of the typical American diet, which is far too high in acid producing products and far too low in alkaline producing foods like fresh vegetables. Additionally, we eat acid producing processed foods like white flour and sugar and drink acid producing beverages like coffee and soft drinks. We use too many drugs, which are acid forming; and we use artificial chemical sweeteners like NutraSweet, Sweet ‘N Low, Equal, or Aspartame, which are poison and extremely acid forming. One of the best things we can do to correct an overly acid body is to clean up the diet and lifestyle.
Although the cells live in an almost pH neutral environment, they produce acid as they convert food into energy and then perform work. The weak acid that they produce is easily eliminated by the respiratory system. This is the first, and natural source of acid in our bodies. Although we don’t eat a lot of acid food most of the food in the typical American diet produces acid ash. Ash is the residue that is left after the body has used what it can of the food that we ingest. Acid ash in solution is a much stronger acid than that produced by the cells and it must be eliminate by the kidneys.
The strong acid produced by the typical American diet is so strong that it would burn the urinary tract upon elimination. Consequently the body buffers the acid. Alkaline minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium) are added to the strong (pH 5.5) acid when a person’s alkaline mineral reserve is full. This converts the strong acid into a very weak acid that is excreted as urine. On the other hand, if a person’s alkaline mineral reserves are depleted then the body is forced to buffer the strong acid with ammonia (a strong alkaline, pH 9.25). This results in the secretion of alkaline urine (pH of about 8.0).
To maintain health, the diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods. To restore health, the diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods.
Generally, alkaline forming foods include: most fruits, green vegetables, peas, beans, lentils, spices, herbs and seasonings, and seeds and nuts.
Generally, acid forming foods include: meat, fish, poultry, eggs, grains, and legumes.
For more detailed lists and charts, click here
Urine pH is a measure of the environmental conditions in which the cells live. It also shows how the body responded to the food that was ingested within the last 24 hours. This in turn is a good measure of how well the body is functioning. As a general rule, if urine has a pH of about 5.5 in the morning after eating meats, eggs, bread, milk, cheese and cereal the day before then alkaline mineral reserves are adequate and body acid-alkaline balance is healthy.
Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline ( 7.35 – 7.45 ). Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. A pH of 7.0 is neutral. A pH below 7.0 is acidic. A pH above 7.0 is alkaline.
High Body Acidity
High acidity is the most common acid-alkaline balance problem. When the body’s mineral reserves are depleted the body “borrows” minerals from what ever source it can. This usually means that minerals are borrowed from bones and vital organs. Over time this weakens the organs and muscles. Some of the common health problems that result from high acidity include:
· Acceleration of free radical damage,
· Bladder and kidney problems,
· Cardiovascular weakness,
· Immune system weakness,
· Lactic acid buildup in joints resulting in joint pain,
· Low energy,
· Osteoporosis, eventually resulting in brittle bones and hip fractures, and
· Weight gain.
Diet is the primary cause of acid-alkaline imbalance in the body. Very acid-ash producing foods should be avoided. On the other hand, very alkaline-ash producing foods can be used to help counteract an acid imbalance. In addition, it is important to note that a food may be acidic, like a lemon, but be alkaline ash producing so don‘t always go by taste.
There are a few other things, in addition to diet, that can be done to help correct an over acidic balance. These include taking enzyme supplements, organic calcium and magnesium supplements, colloidal minerals, vitamin A and D, and drinking alkaline vegetable juices (carrot, celery and beet) and lemon/maple syrup drink.
Most adults don’t produce enough digestive enzymes and so partially digested food enters the intestines or sits in the stomach and becomes more acidic. Enzyme supplementation helps treat this problem. Mineral supplements are important to build up the potentially depleted mineral reserve of the body. In addition, most vitamins can’t be used effectively if the necessary minerals are not present. Vitamins A and D help hold calcium in the body and reduce the risk of calcium depletion. Alkaline drinks help change the pH balance of body fluids. Finally, if you are taking ascorbic acid to get your vitamin C allowance then switch to either Rose Hips or Citrus Bioflavonoids, neither of which is acidic.
Our bodies are constantly rebuilding themselves. You really are not the same person that you were last year. The body replaces the lining of the stomach about every five days, the skin in about a month, the skeleton about every three months, the liver about every six weeks and the red blood cells circulate for about 120 days before being replaced by new cells. What you do today affects the body that you will have tomorrow. That can be good or bad . . . it all depends on what you do. The new body that you are building today is affected by the food that you eat, the waste that you eliminate (and as important, by the waste that you don’t eliminate), by the air that you breath, the liquids that you drink, and by the stress that you feel and how you respond to it. Everything that you do affects the new body that you are building for yourself. A long-term acid ash producing diet creates a toxic environment at the cellular level. If the cells can’t function, the body ceases to function. On the other hand, a healthy diet creates an environment that is conducive to cellular and total health.
Keep your Internal Seas Healthy