We are taught to focus on alkaline food and water. Did you know that being too alkaline or acidic can have equal consequences?
pH stands for potential hydrogen and has a range of 0-14. It is used to describe the chemical acidity level versus the alkalinity level of a substance. As a reference, pure water is in the center at a pH of 7.0.
Our body’s pH can be measured in saliva, urine, and blood; each has a different range. Our natural homeostasis mechanism keeps our blood pH around 7.4 (slightly alkaline) by depositing and withdrawing acid and alkaline minerals from the bones, soft tissue, fluids, and saliva.
Blood pH has little room to fluctuate. Arterial blood within the range of 7.35 to 7.45 is standard. An arterial pH range of <7.2 is associated with increased mortality, and an arterial pH range of <7.0 will most likely end up in critical care. A pH of less than 6.8 is incompatible with life. However, the body has innate survival mechanisms; it dumps excess alkaline or acid into urine and saliva to maintain levels.
Morning urine pH fluctuates between 6.0 and 6.4, and evening urine pH fluctuates between 6.4 and 7.0. Urine test results indicate how well your body assimilates acid-buffering minerals, including calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. These minerals are used by the body to control acid.
Morning urine is the best baseline to see how the body handles the food you ate the day before. For example, urine pH would be more acidic if the body had to dump excess acid. Urine on the acidic side of the range is very acceptable; it can reduce the chances of bacterial infection.
Saliva pH has a standard range of 6.2-7.6, with an average of 6.7. This is the best window into the overall pH balance in the body. Of note, when pH levels in the mouth drop below 5.5, it demineralizes tooth enamel.
To test urine or saliva pH, use these strips:
For Saliva Do not eat or drink for two hours. Fill your mouth with saliva and spit it out. Fill your mouth with saliva again and place a small amount on a pH test strip. Match the color
Most nutrition guidelines center around overconsumption of highly acidic foods and water, most likely because this is the standard American diet. A diet high in acidic foods does force the body to constantly borrow minerals from vital organs and bones to buffer the acid. Potassium and magnesium get overwhelmed, and you may have to look at supplementation.
While a less acidic body sounds appealing, many critical organ functions operate more efficiently in the acid side of the particular range- or pH-neutral environments.
But is it the acid that produces these health issues or something else?
Cardiovascular, including constriction of blood vessels.
Bladder and kidney conditions
Weak, brittle bones
Alkalosis is where the blood has excess alkali. This condition is not caused by food or water. However, consuming alkaline water greater than pH 8.5 can cause skin issues and slow digestion.
The benefits of alkaline water are from its high mineral content. Still, these can be obtained by naturally sourced sparkling water without the unwanted side effects of high pH artificial water. Hydration with electrolyte powder is better for you than high-pH alkaline water.
The myth about alkaline diets and cancer
I often hear that an acidic environment in the body causes cancer. However, cancers do occur in normal and alkaline environments as well. Only advanced cancers become acidic, never at the start. It is not possible to alkalize a tumor cell significantly, but if it were possible, it would not help that much. Alkalizing a cancer cell does not correct the central failure of these cells, their inability to throw a built-in off switch for bad cells that are old and mutated.
What is the real issue with acidic diets?
The real issue is INFLAMMATION. The level of pro-inflammatory omega-6 from non-grass-fed/pasture-raised meat, filled with hormones and drugs combined with herbicide and pesticide-filled fruits and vegetables, can start a downward slope of health and vitality. Inflammation gets immune cells to help cancer grow and spread. Grain-based high-glycemic diets are acid-forming, but the insulin and insulin growth factors it produces point to the benefits of a low-glycemic diet.
Why is alkaline food better?
Alkaline foods are primarily vegetables, legumes, and fruit. These food groups produce indoles, polyphenols, sulphoranes, vitamins, and minerals that are anti-cancer and anti-disease; they happen to be alkaline.
What is the solution?
Not all acidic foods are bad! Most nuts, eggs, shellfish, and grass-fed meat are acidic foods that are good for you. The goal is to eat a clean 70% alkaline and 30% acidic regimen. Drink water at a pH of 8.0 – 8.5 but not during meals. The pH of the stomach is 1.5-3.5 due to the hydrochloric acid needed to break down food. Alkaline water can cause temporary stomach bloating and cramping due to slower digestion.
The pH of the body is tightly regulated. If you change your diet, you may see changes in urine or saliva pH due to the waste products. You could never eat enough alkaline or acidic food to impact your blood beyond its range.
Acidic food happens to be pro-inflammatory for reasons other than acidity. Inflammation is likely the culprit behind disease.
Alkaline food is anti-inflammatory for reasons other than alkalinity. These foods produce polyphenols, sulphoranes, vitamins, and minerals.
A 70/30 (alkaline to acid) clean food regimen will help decrease inflammation.
If you read an article or advertisement by a company that produces or sells alkaline water machines, balance what you read with the science of physiology.
Avoid artificial alkaline water at any pH! Choose naturally alkalized water that has picked up calcium and magnesium from passing over rocks. This is the only water machine I use delivering clean, naturally re-mineralized water: https://mynikken.com/?linkid=%24%22LO%5F%5EP%20%20%0A
If you need additional minerals, electrolytes are your best option. My favorite electrolyte powder: https://bit.ly/43AkunG
To your health, Dr. Gerda Doctor of Natural Medicine and Holistic Cancer Consultant
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is intended for educational purposes only. As a Board-Certified Doctor of Natural Medicine, I do not diagnose or treat disease, an area well attended by licensed physicians. Instead, I identify healing opportunities within the body, such as the immune system, digestion, detoxification, energy, cellular, and nervous systems. Once identified, function and health may be restored by correcting the underlying causes and conditions of health challenges. Rebalancing the body’s systems can be a proven stabilizer adjunctive to medical protocols. Not all recommendations may be appropriate for everyone. Due diligence and a consultation with your physician before engaging in alternative concepts or protocols are recommended.