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Preventative Medicine

The Acid Alkaline Balance & Disease

For most of us, high school science was our introduction to pH - the way to measure how acidic (or conversely alkaline) a substance is. The potential of hydrogen (pH) scale runs from 0 to 14 where the lower a number is, the higher its acidity. For example, hydrochloric acid has a pH of 0, pure water (neutral) is pH 7 and lye (alkaline) has a pH of 13.

When it comes to our health, pH plays a vital role. Your body has innate natural mechanisms to control the pH level of cells, organs and fluids. The balance and in some cases contrast between pH levels of different cells enables them to function properly. Our digestive, respiratory and urinary systems all play vital roles in maintaining pH balance.

Our actions have a direct impact on the pH level of our bodily systems. What we eat and breathe along with our stress level and existing health conditions all have an impact on pH and in turn the ability of our body to function properly.

Our bodies are very sensitive to even slight changes in pH. When our pH is not optimal, protein stores can become denatured and broken down, enzymes can lose their ability to function, nutrients can avoid absorption, cell death can occur and disease can flourish.

Human life requires a tightly controlled blood pH ranging between 7.35 and 7.45, or slightly alkaline. This is the range you need to be in to live. Unfortunately most of us are chronically on the acidic end of this range. One of the key jobs of the kidneys is to maintain the proper level of blood electrolytes (the vital minerals calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium). In order for your body to function these minerals need to be in balance. When you increase your acidity (by consuming acidic foods), your body is forced to use its electrolytes to neutralize the acidity. Long term acidity depletes these minerals from your blood. Once the depletion reaches critical levels, your body is forced to take these minerals from the only other sources it has; bones, muscle, cells and organs.

We become acidic over time based on our diet and lifestyle choices;

  • Overconsumption of alcohol, pharmaceuticals, synthetic food ingredients (sweeteners, colours, flavours and preservatives), and processed foods

  • Diet too dependent on meats

  • Too little (or no) exercise and low intake of fibre

  • Exposure to pesticides, herbicides and fungicides

  • Exposure to synthetic chemicals (cleansers, industrial chemicals, pollution)

  • Chronic stress

  • Pharmaceutical antibiotics

Being too acidic can lead to many health conditions including immune conditions such as asthma, allergies, colds, and influenza, inflammation and pain, skin problems and weight gain. More troubling are the health conditions that have been linked to chronic acidity.

  • Cancer

  • Diabetes

  • Fibromyalgia

  • Heart Disease

  • Multiple Sclerosis

  • Osteoporosis

  • Stroke

The acid alkaline balance does not go off track quickly. It is a process that happens gradually over time. Moving it back into balance also happens gradually. There is no quick fix. To move higher on the pH scale you need to both reduce the contributors to your acidity while actively adding sources of alkalinity.

Be careful not to just start popping antacids. This will cause havoc in your stomach which, in order to function properly, requires an acidic environment. The proper and effective way to balance pH is a more measured approach.

Reducing your sources of acidity are also the same steps required to improve your overall health, namely; reduce stress, increase exercise, reduce exposure to chemical pollutants including artificial ingredients and processed foods, increase your daily intake of fibre, and limit your intake of alcohol, pharmaceuticals and recreational drugs. Taking these steps can stop the progression of acidity.

To begin replenishing your electrolyte stores, you will need to eat an alkaline diet and supplement with alkaline nutrients. Fruits and vegetables contain fibre and are naturally rich in potassium, a natural acid buffer. Our diets are sorely lacking in fresh and raw fruits and vegetables. Fruits, mushrooms and vegetables (especially citrus, dates, raisins and spinach) promote an alkaline pH. Yes citrus fruits promote alkalinity. This is because despite the fruits themselves being acidic, once they are digested, they cause a slightly alkaline reaction. Raw, uncooked fruits and vegetables are key. Cooking foods leeches and precipitates alkalinizing minerals. Therefore, increase your intake of raw foods, supplement by drinking pure water (neutral pH) and enhance it with liquid chlorophyll (alkaline) each and every day.

You may think this approach is a little hard core but it is backed by science. Eating alkaline can improve your energy and focus, reduce your susceptibility to disease and improve overall health. Sceptics may say this is due to the nutrients in the fresh food and increased exercise. There is no doubt that the exercise and nutrients have a part to play. Research concluded that eating alkaline;

  • Improves the ratio of potassium to sodium which benefits bone health, reduces muscle wasting, and mitigates other chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and stroke.

  • Increases growth hormone levels leading to body wide improvement -from cardiovascular health to memory and cognition.

  • Increases intracellular magnesium to activate vitamin D resulting in numerous added benefits in the apocrine/exocrine systems - your body's glandular system responsible for things like sweat and tears.  (Basically any excretions that exit your body.)

The potential for hydrogen pH is also our Potential for Health!  Balance is the key to a healthy, happy existence.