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March 14th, 2017

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Part 3: pH of the Body, Water & the Food We Eat

Acidity Fuels Us. Alkalinity Restores Us.

[This article is Part 3 of 4 articles in this series entitled  ‘pH of the Body, Water & the Food We Eat’. See Part 1, Part 2 & Part 4.]

Alkaline pH Does Not Determine Healthy Food or Water.

Diets of people and cultures around the world vary greatly. Many of these diets have evolved from ancient wisdom based on local climate, crops, game and animal husbandry. The body is designed to adapt to and accommodate the pH of the wide range of foods and beverages humans eat and drink.

At an individual level, each person has unique peculiarities, energy requirements and rhythmic patterns that determine the metabolic needs of their body at any given time. Alkalizing and acidifying influences are required at different times of the day and in response to a wide range of metabolic needs. For instance, the reason why you may feel sleepy after eating a meal is because eating tends to alkalize the blood because the stomach is demanding acid to make hydrochloric acid for digestion.

The Body’s Acid/Alkaline Requirements Are Responsive and Changing, Not Fixed.

The body has complex layers of systems, each with its own acid/alkaline balance. Our tissues consist of cells which contain subcellular systems such as mitochondria. Each level of this metabolic hierarchy requires its own pH balance to function properly.

Similarly, intracellular fluid (67% of body fluid) maintains a slightly acidic pH, while our blood and extracellular fluid (26% of body fluid) require a slightly alkaline pH. We are not designed to be simply ‘alkaline’.

Eating alkaline foods can be beneficial or counterproductive depending on the condition and immediate needs of your metabolism and your lifestyle. Acid-forming foods are activating, alkaline-forming foods are reparative.

A healthy body swings naturally between acid (active) and alkaline (reparative) cycles. We require acids to initiate energy-consuming daytime activities. The alkaline momentum dominates at night to facilitate rest, recovery and healing.

Acids Are Our Fuel

Our mind and body are fueled by acids. They are essential for digestion and genetic coding, plus the production of proteins, hormones and energy. No acids, no vigor.

Some acids that are essential to the body:
Amino acids = protein
Fatty acids = cell membrane, protein, hormone and energy production
Hydrochloric acid = digestion
Deoxyribonucleic acid = DNA, your genetic code
Ribonucleic acid = RNA, protein production and genetic information

There are two types of acids generated in the body. A healthy, efficient metabolism is aerobic and produces acid in the form of CO2. Anaerobic energy production produces lactic acid, resulting in an inefficient metabolism.

Your Metabolism Determines Your Need for Acidity or Alkalinity.

According to biochemist and nutrition expert, Steve Fowles1,  how your body responds to an alkalizing diet depends on how your body is utilizing energy. An efficient metabolism typically responds well to an alkalizing diet. A challenged metabolism may be overwhelmed by alkalizing foods.

If you are a night owl, alkalizing food may help you wind down in the evening but it won’t get your day kick started in the morning when you are having trouble getting out of bed. In fact, quite the opposite. That is when you may need that cup of coffee or food containing healthy fats (acids). On the other hand, early birds may thrive on an alkalizing breakfast because their activating acid ‘momentum’ has already kicked in.

It is obviously wise to ingest healthy food and water. Eating lots of fresh fruits and vegetables helps prevent disease. However, the needs of the body do not necessarily require or benefit from a fixation on alkaline-forming foods and ‘alkaline’ water. Studies show that it is not acid-forming foods that cause acidosis, cancer or osteoporosis.2, 3

For instance, the Paleo and Bullet Proof diets are popular health regimens based on acid-forming foods such as meat and select dairy products. Studies show that these diets are beneficial to many people and do not contribute to calcium loss and osteoporosis, as was once thought. In fact, research shows that they can augment the utilization of calcium and bone density in the body.4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10

Healthy Acids That Become Alkaline-Forming Foods

Many healthy foods, such as most fruits and vegetables, are acidic before being digested, yet they contribute alkaline minerals upon digestion.

Soft drinks, sodas and colas are notoriously bad acids with an extremely low pH (as low as 2.5).
Yet, lemon juice has an even lower pH (2.0) and is highly beneficial to ingest. It has an alkalizing influence inside the body.

On the other hand, meat is very alkaline but has an acidifying effect inside the body.
pH alone does not determine the health benefits of a given food or liquid.

End of Part Three.

Part Four, the final segment of this series, is entitled The ‘Myth’ of Alkaline Water.
It will address the following points:

See Part 1, Part 2 & Part 4 of this series entitled ‘pH of the Body, Water & the Food We Eat’.

References for Part Three:

  1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NdScVgeIVls
  2. John J. B. Anderson and Philip J. Klemmer. Risk of High Dietary Calcium for Arterial Calcification in Older Adults. Nutrients. 2013 Oct; 5(10): 3964–3974. Published online 2013 Sep 30. doi:  3390/nu5103964. PMCID: PMC3820054. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3820054/
  3. Jean-Philippe Bonjour. Nutritional disturbance in acid–base balance and osteoporosis: a hypothesis that disregards the essential homeostatic role of the kidney. British Journal of Nutrition, Volume 110, Issue 7. October 2013, pp. 1168-1177
    https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/nutritional-disturbance-in-acidbase-balance-and-osteoporosis-a-hypothesis-that-disregards-the-essential-homeostatic-role-of-the-kidney/3EAD569004A55B4AEAA0DAFC30AB5BE6/core-reader
  4. https://chriskresser.com/how-to-keep-your-bones-healthy-on-a-paleo-diet/
  5. Fenton TR1, Lyon AW, Eliasziw M, Tough SC, Hanley DA. Meta-analysis of the effect of the acid-ash hypothesis of osteoporosis on calcium balance. J Bone Miner Res. 2009 Nov;24(11):1835-40. doi: 10.1359/jbmr.090515. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19419322
  6. http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/75/4/609.full
  7. http://press.endocrine.org/doi/full/10.1210/jc.2004-0179
  8. http://www.westonaprice.org/our-blogs/cmasterjohn/does-meat-really-leach-calcium-from-the-bones/
  9. http://nutritionj.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/1475-2891-10-41
  10. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1359/jbmr.090515/abstract;jsessionid=BF6DFFA3FA57EA3B3A8745465E825813.d02t02

Special thanks to Steve Fowkes for his bio-hacking insights and to Dave Asprey for broadcasting cutting edge info about upping our physical and mental game.

Disclaimer:

The information in this article is for information purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. It should not be construed as personal medical advice or instruction. No action should be taken based solely on the contents of this article. Readers should consult appropriate health professionals on any matter relating to their health and well-being. The information and opinions provided here are believed to be accurate and sound, based on the best judgment available to the authors, but readers who fail to consult appropriate health authorities assume the risk of any injuries. The publisher is not responsible for errors or omissions.