With a correct blood pH, the body is said to be in homeostasis, or inner balance.
Acid-Alkaline Balance Act
Our blood pH is affected by what we eat. If you eat high-acid food, it will lower your blood pH (more acidic) and vice versa. Consequently, our body is constantly attempting to balance its pH.
Research shows that a prolonged acidic environment can give rise to inflammation and cancer and can lead to premature aging from free radical damage. For example, Norwegian scientists have confirmed that acidic pH can induce metastatic cancer growth of human melanoma cells. At the same time, the body responds to the acidic environment by drawing out calcium and other minerals from the bones and connective tissues to buffer the acid. The Women's Health Initiative found that over a 12-year period, women who consumed more than 95 grams of protein daily had a 20% greater chance of breaking a wrist than women who took in less than 68 grams a day.
Dr. Rau has summarized the most common problems that result from long-term hyperacidity are:
Hyperacidity in the blood also causes a host of problems in the organs and other tissues:
Our body has a number of mechanisms to keep the acid-alkaline balance:
Acid-Forming vs. Alkalizing Foods
Proteins and carbohydrate foods are acid-forming foods, while fruit and most vegetables are alkaline-forming foods. Note that lemons, limes, and apple cider vinegar taste acidic, they actually create an alkaline condition in the body and help reduce body acids. In , Jean has also summarized vinegar's benefits to include:
The foods we eat contribute to either an acidic or an alkaline effect on the blood pH once they're metabolized. Their effect depends on the residue they leave behind: If they leave acids (carbonic, phosphoric, or sulfuric) they are acid-forming. If they leave buffering minerals (mostly calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and sodium), they are alkalizing. The rule of thumb is that the more minerals (especially Calcium, Sodium, Potassium, Magnesium, Cobalt and Copper) there are in the food, the more alkalizing it is.
In , Dr. Colbin has listed foods that of acid-forming and alkalizing:
Normal urinary pH levels range between 5.0 and a little over 8.0. This varies with the time of day, food consumption, age, and other factors. In the book China Study, Dr. T. Colin Campbell showed that the levels of acids and calcium in the urine of middle-aged and elderly women was influenced by their diet. Based on the effect of foods on urine pH, we can classify them into either acidic or alkaline as shown below. Positive numbers indicate that the food makes urine acidic. Negative numbers indicate that the food makes urine alkaline.
Note that there are discrepancies on which food items are acidic or alkaline based on the different sources I quote. One source says that seeds and some whole grains such as millet, quinoa, and amaranth are alkaline foods while Dr. Colbin list them as acidic (as two groups--seeds and whole grains). Another source says that dairy foods are acidic food while Dr. Colbin list them as buffers (or neutral) because they contain both calcium (which is alkalizing) and protein (which is acid-forming). Finally, some say that caffeine and processed foods are also acid-forming.
No matter what, our goal is to eat low acid foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, helps create the ideal blood pH. As said before, acidic foods exert pressure on our body's balancing systems as it strains to maintain pH neutrality. The process of counterbalancing the acidity can deplete the body of alkaline minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and calcium, making the person prone to chronic and degenerative disease. Because of this strain, the body can suffer severe and prolonged damage, leading to an unhealthy condition that may go undetected for years.