Body Science and acid-alkali Balance
Summarized by   Walter   

[ Posted February 08, 2010 ; December 29, 2012; Updated  September 10, 2015.   Disclaimer  The information presented here is for informative and educational purposes only and is not intended as curative or prescriptive advice.

Lets perceive how our body maintains itself to begin with:  You 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. This includes your diet. 

So far so good .... that is, the science aspect of the information.  Scientists agree on the general aspect how the body functions.  But from this point on, there is disagreement and controversy among medical doctors and scientists as to whether body acidity - alkalinity causes diseases and disorders. Numerous studies point to a link or relationship between pH and diseases.  Gorski: bad alkali science  Morter: pH for life   Rodriquez: pH body fluid 2011  Vormann: disease pH link  Murphy: Acid-Alkaline Balance  Olarsch: Real silent killer   Another controversy exists as to whether pH testing is really testing for alkalinity and whether such testing identifies a disease /disorder body state. 

Everything we eat creates acidic waste in our bodies.  Many acid wastes are normally excreted from the body in the form of urine and sweat.  However, this is a slow process and these wastes accumulate as they circulate around in the blood.  The body attempts to neutralize and detoxify these acids before they start destroying cells. 

A long-term high meat diet accelerates the build up of acidic wastes at the cellular level.  Cell function is disrupted and the body gradually, over many years, ceases to function.

This leads us to explore the difference between a meat and plant diet and the impact both can have on the health of the body. It has to do with understanding body pH metabolism. 

The cells of the human body depend on a balanced acid-alkaline pH balance.  If any fluids are abnormal, digestive enzymes become inactive, food does not digest properly and allergic reactions can occur. 

Alkalinity explained:

Source

The body is mostly water, allowing nutrients, oxygen and other materials to be transported.  This water-based medium can have either an acid or alkaline property that can be measured by a graduated scale called pH or potential Hydrogen.

The pH scale is from   0 - 14

pHscale  

pH, or the degree of acidity and alkalinity of a solution, is measured on a (logarithmic) scale of 1 to 14.  On this logarithmic pH scale, a decrease from 6 to 5 is not a mere change of 1 but is actually a ten-fold change, that is, the amount of acidity increases 10 times and NOT by a factor of one

Although the H is symbolic for hydrogen ion, it really indicates the amount of oxygen in the liquid media.  The higher the pH, the more alkaline the liquid and the more oxygen in the fluid.  The body prefers the slightly alkaline solution of 7.4 and if it drops below this for any length of time, it will suffer from a score of degenerative diseases.

The bloodstream is the most critically buffered  [ neutralized ] system of the entire body, far more sensitive than any other. Arterial and venous blood must maintain a slightly alkaline pH; arterial blood: pH=7.41 and venous blood pH=7.36. Because  the normal pH of arterial blood is 7.41, a person is considered to have acidosis when the pH of the blood falls below this value and to have alkalosis when the pH rises above 7.41.  The lower limit of blood pH at which a person can live more than a few hours is about 6.8 and the upper limit is about 8.0.  Olarsch: Real silent killer

The oxygen information is critical for two reasons:  an approximate  low pH of 2-6 creates an acid environment that pathogens need in order to grow and live.   On the other hand, a pH of 7 to 7.5 kills pathogens.  The healthy pH  range is between 7.0 and 7.2, a slightly alkaline level.   

There are a number of body systems which all have their own specifically preferred pH. Over all, the body internal chemical environment changes from a weak acid to a weak base within a 24 hour period, usually being more acid at dawn and most base at sunset. The normal range of body fluids is:  Semen = 7.5; Blood = 7.4;  Gastric Juice = 0.7; Urine = 6.0; Pancreatic Juice = 8.1; Cerebrospinal Fluid = 7.3; Saliva = 7.0.    Human blood pH should be slightly alkaline ( 7.35 - 7.45 ).  Below or above this range means symptoms and disease. 

Since most of the body is liquid, the pH level (or acid base level) has profound effects of body chemistry, health, and disease. Acid base or pH management regulates breathing, circulation, digestion, elimination, hormonal production, immune defense and inter/intracellular communications. In fact, pH is such an important factor that the body has developed strict accounting procedures to manage pH, removing the normally metabolized developed acids from body systems, without damage to living cells.

The body has three major systems to help control and remove pH levels, namely (1) the respiratory system, (2) the chemical and physiological buffering system and (3) the urinary system via the excretion of urine. But it is the urinary system which quantitatively affects the body’s ability to regulate and stabilize  pH more than any other.  

As we grow older, and our diet changes, our chemical and physiological pH buffering mechanisms often fail us, and the body begins to develop an overall acid profile. For most Americans, a slightly more acidic pH blood plasma, extra cellular liquids and urine of the body becomes the ‘dangerous norm’ rather than the occasional exception. The excess  acid wastes must be neutralized and removed from the blood. However, when the buffering or stabilizing systems become overtaxed, the acids and acid forming residuals, instead of being neutralized, are simply relocated within the body and not removed at all, becoming stored within the extra cellular fluids and connective tissue cell.  This causes a backup of acid wastes to accumulate over time. The affect is to slowly compromise all body systems, especially the immune system.  Connective tissue slowly becomes poisoned by toxic wastes.  This causes the plumbing to backup on itself, dumping acids back into the bloodstream and other critical organs. 

As more and more acid is accumulated, and storage capacity is exhausted, the body slowly begins to ‘stew’ in it’s own poisonous wastes. Without warning, acid wastes begin to silently corrode the veins and arteries, destroying cell walls, and then entire organs. The damage caused is compounded daily, becoming more aggressive and deadly over time. Indeed, an acid pH is so corrosively and insidiously destructive that it’s considered the seed bed of most, if not all, degenerative diseases, including: stroke, heart attack, and other cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and obesity, cancer, immune deficiencies and neurological dysfunctions such as MS and MD.. Thus the imbalance of the body pH causing toxic waste, or acidosis, is the real killer, the silent killer, because it’s the progenitor, the beginning, of so many deadly diseases! 

Research shows that unless the body’s pH level is slightly alkaline, the body cannot heal itself. So, no matter what type of modality you use to take care of your health problem, it won’t be effective until the pH level is up. All drugs, medications and toxic chemicals have the effect of lowering the pH of the body .... that is, creating an acidic body!

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 eliminated by the kidneys.

The body buffers the strong waste acids with alkaline minerals (calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. 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 “borrow” minerals from what ever source it can. This usually means that minerals are borrowed from bones and vital organs. Over time this can weaken bones, organs and muscles.

Symptoms of Acidosis

Conditions that may go undetected for years

Stage 1. Beginning mild, long term symptoms:

Acne, panic attacks, lack of sex drive, cold hands and feet, food allergies, agitation, bloating, mild headaches, rapid panting breath, hard to get up in the morning, heartburn (a burning sensation in the stomach and acid-tasting burps), halitosis. 

Stage 2:  the intermediate disorders:

Cold sores, depression, migraine headaches, asthma, hives, swelling, urinary infections, colitis, excessive falling hair, stuttering, numbness, tingling, fungal infection, insomnia

Stage 3: Advanced symptoms become health problems:

Osteoporosis, Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, all cancers, Hodgkin’s disease, schizophrenia, tuberculosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis. 

That’s what you have to look forward to if you are not changing the acid in your body.

About 98% of the American public is acidic because of the foods they eat! 

Source Cochran, Marc: Cochran Acidosis

Diet is the primary cause of acid-alkaline imbalance in the body.

The tables below classify common foods as either alkaline ash producing (Table A) or acid ash producing (Table B). Foods identified with an asterisks are either very alkaline ash producing or very acid ash producing. 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.

Table A
Common Alkaline Ash Producing Foods

Almonds Amarantha Apples
Apricots Asparagus* Avocados
Bananas Beans (Dried) Beet greens
Beets Blackberries Broccoli*
Brussels sprouts Cabbage Canola Oil
Carrots Cauliflower Celery
Chard leaves Cherries (Sour) Chestnuts
Cucumbers Parsnips Dates (Dried)
Figs (Dried) Flax oil Garlic*
Grapefruit* Grapes Green beans
Green peas Green tea Herb teas *
Honey (Raw) Kiwi Lemons*
Lettuce Lima beans Limes* Mangoes*
Maple syrup Milk (Goat’s)
Millet Molasses Mushrooms
Musk melon Olive oil* Onions*
Oranges Papaya* Parsley*
Peaches Pears Pineapple
Potatoes (Sweet) Potatoes (White) Quinoa
Radishes Raisins Raspberries
Rice syrup Rice (Wild) Rutabagas (Green)
Sauerkraut Soy beans (Green) Spinach (Raw)*
Strawberries Sugar (Raw) Tangerines
Tomatoes Watercress Watermelon*
Source: Murphy: Acid-Alkaline Balance  

Table B
Common Acid Ash Producing Foods

Artificial sweeteners* Bacon Barley
Beans(Dried) Beer* Beef*
Blueberries * Bran (Wheat) Bran (Oat)
Bread (White) Bread (Whole wheat)Butter
Carob* Cashews Cheese*Chicken Codfish
Coffee Corn
Corn oil Corned beef Crackers (Soda)
Cranberries* Plums Currants
Eggs Flour(White)* Flour (Whole wheat)
Haddock Honey(Processed) Lentils (Dried)Lobster
Milk (Cow’s) Milk(Homogenized)*
Molasses Macaroni OatmealOysters Pasta*
Pastries* Peanut butter
Peanuts* Peas (Dried) Pecans
Pike Pinto beans Pork*
Prunes* Pumpkin seeds Rice (Brown)
Rice (White) Salmon Sardines
Sausage Scallops Shellfish*
Shrimp Soft Drinks* Soybean*
Spaghetti Spelt Spinach (Cooked)
Squash (Winter) Sugar (Refined) Sunflower seeds
Tea Turkey Veal
Venison Walnuts* Wheat germ
Yogurt
Source:  Murphy: Acid-Alkaline Balance  

Eighty percent of a person's diet should be alkaline foods and the balance (20%) acid ash producing for a perfect pH balance.   Murphy: Acid-Alkaline Balance

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,  getting enough sunshine or vitamin D and drinking plenty of water.  Murphy: Acid-Alkaline Balance

What Causes You to be Acidic?

The U.S. Surgeon General has reported that 70% of deaths in the United States are related to diet. 

About 98% of the American public is acidic because of the foods they eat! The typical American diet and way of life are far too high in acid-producing animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, 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 and artificial chemical sweeteners which are extremely acid-forming.  Eating "fast food" is also a contributor to acid-forming wastes. 

Correct an overly-acid body: by cleaning up your diet and lifestyle.  Here is an example of what you can do to get an alkaline body:

  1. Consume 80% alkalizing foods and 20% acid-forming foods [ based on volume ]
  2. Reduce hi protein meats [ beef, pork, poultry, cheese ] 
  3. Drink 6-8 glasses of pure water every day
  4. Drink minimum milk
  5. Eat green vegetables  ( preferably organic )
  6. Eat lots of fruits
  7. Eat seed vegetables [ beans, peas for protein ]
  8. Eat raw nuts, including sunflower seeds and ground flax seeds
  9. Stop drinking sodas
10. Get 20 to 30 minutes of sunshine  exposure for vitamin D
11. Eat smaller portions of foods
12. Cook and eat more home meals
13. Eliminate fast foods diet
14. Get fresh air every day
15. Exercise minimum 30 minutes at least four times a week
16. Take nutritional supplements
17. Improve your 'Mental State'
18. Practice proper deep breathing for alkalinosis 

And yes, you have adopted eating habits that are hard to break!  But you do have a choice to make:  live a healthy and long life or become a disabled and chronically sick American! 

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References:

Baroody Theodore A., "Alkalize or die." Holographic Health Inc; 9th edition. Textbook, December 1, 1991.  Baroody: pH balance  Dr. Baroody's comprehensive research and clinical findings indicate that illness and disease are directly linked to over acidity in the system.

Cochran, Marc "Acidosis."   Cochran Acidosis

Edlund Desiree, "pH  A Real Silent Killer… What is Your Number?" Chiropractic Wellness & Fitness Magazine Real silent killer

Gorski David and Dr. Steven Novella, "Your Urine is Not a Window to Your Body: pH Balancing – A Failed Hypothesis," Science-Based Medicine blog.  Gorski: bad alkali science

Merck Medical manual home edition

Morter Ted, "pH - YOUR POTENTIAL FOR HEALTH," Optimal Life Center.   Morter: pH for life

Murphy David, PhD, ND, CHT, "Acid-Alkaline Balance," Self Growth.   Murphy: Acid-Alkaline Balance   This article does an excellent job summarizing 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.

"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."

Natural Health School  Restoring pH balance

Olarsch I. Gerald, N.D."The pH Factor – The Real Silent Killer ," Olarsch: Real silent killer

Prevent diseases.com:     Acid-base body

Remer T., "Influence of diet on acid-base balance," Semin Dial. 2000 Jul-Aug;13(4):221-6.  Remer: diet & acid-alkali balance 2000   "It is well established that diet and certain food components have a clear impact on acid-base balance."

Rodriguez Rich, "The Overall pH of Body Fluid," LiveStrong, May 14, 2011.   Rodriquez: pH body fluid 2011

"Biochemical regulation in the human body is done using bicarbonate, phosphate and protein systems. They all work by transferring positively charged hydrogen ions back and forth across cell membranes. Bicarbonate is the main buffer system in various body systems, including blood, stomach, kidneys and the lungs. The reaction that regulates pH level is catalyzed by the enzyme carbonic anhydrase. An increase in the activity of this enzyme leads to an increase in bicarbonate and a basic fluid. Conversely, a decrease leads to a more acidic fluid. Medications that block this enzyme can be used to alter the pH and fluid levels in the body and are routinely used for glaucoma and altitude sickness.
Disorders: A pH imbalance in the mouth leads to tooth decay, and alterations in the blood can lead to breathing difficulties. When stomach acid gets beyond the protective sphincter in the esophagus, heart burn and a sour taste may be experienced.
In the vagina the pH level is kept slightly acidic at 4.3. This level keeps harmful bacteria and fungi from causing symptomatic infections, and any derivations from this averages can help diagnose various diseases such as bacterial vaginosis and candidiasis. The resting pH of the human uterus ranges from 6.6 to 7.6 and is affected by the menstrual cycle."

Scurlock H. C., “Acidosis,” The Journal of the National Medical Association, v.21(3); Jul–Sep 1929 [ Professor of Physiology and Bio-Chemistry, Howard University ]   Scurlock: acidosis

Sellmeyer DE, Stone KL, Sebastian A, Cummings SR., "A high ratio of dietary animal to vegetable protein increases the rate of bone loss and the risk of fracture in postmenopausal women." Abstract: Study of Osteoporotic Fractures Research Group, Am J Clin Nutr. 2001 Jan;73(1):118-22.   Sellmeyer: acidosis & osteoporosis 2001

"A recent seven-year study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, on 9,000 women showed that those who have chronic acidosis are at greater risk for bone loss than those who have normal pH levels. The scientists who carried out this experiment believe that many of the hip fractures prevalent among middle-aged women are connected to high acidity caused by a diet rich in animal foods and low in vegetables. This is because the body borrows calcium from the bones in order to balance pH. — American Journal of Clinical Nutrition "

Vormann Juergen,and Thomas Remer, "Dietary, Metabolic, Physiologic, and Disease-Related Aspects of Acid-Base Balance: Foreword to the Contributions of the Second International Acid-Base Symposium, The Journal of Nutrition, 138:413S-414S, February 2008.    Vormann: disease pH link 

"Acid-base status is becoming increasingly important in nutritional medicine. The Second International Acid-Base Symposium, 2006, in Munich, Germany brought together scientists from 15 countries to discuss the recent developments in this often overlooked area of nutrition research, which, however, is increasingly being accepted as relevant to the field of preventive medicine."
Wynn E.,  S. A. Lanham-New, M.-A. Krieg, D. R. Hittamore, and P. Burckhardt, "Low Estimates of Dietary Acid Load Are Positively Associated with Bone Ultrasound in Women Older Than 75 Years of Age with a Lifetime Fracture,"J. Nutr., July 1, 2008; 138(7): 1349 - 1354.  

Young Robert O., The Revolutionary Diet Plan for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetics.    Young: Diabetes diet