One of the most important aspects to your overall health is discovering the body’s pH (acid- alkaline ratio). pH stands for “potential of hydrogen.” The concentration of hydrogen atoms determines its pH value. It is measured on a scale of 0-14, a pH of less than 7 is said to be acidic and a pH greater than 7 is alkaline. Unfortunately, most conventional doctors completely ignore this particular aspect of biology.
Your body is an accumulation of cells, which create tissues, which create organs, which make the organ systems, which make the organism...you. Therefore, all disease originates at the cellular level and not at the organ or system level. The environment in which your cells are living and functioning in is extremely important, because all enzymes, hormones, and cell receptors function optimally at the proper pH. The pH of the body can be measured by analyzing the fluids of the body using urine, saliva or blood.
Research has indicated that it can take up to twice the amount of a hormone and enzyme to elicit the same response than it would have had it occurred at a normal pH. Therefore the further the body is from the optimal pH, the more likely the body will become diseased. There have been studies relating tissue acidity to osteoporosis, muscle loss, fractures, kidney stones, high blood pressure, heart disease, hormonal problems, and cancer. Therefore, your body maintains extremely tight control over your pH.
One measurement we use to evaluate your acidity levels is to check your blood for specific minerals that help maintain your body’s pH. Your blood is never truly acidic, but it will deplete alkaline nutrients from the body in order to maintain the proper pH (rob Peter to pay Paul). Your body’s blood pH is regulated to stay within the narrow range of 7.35 to 7.45, making it slightly basic, but a one point change in your blood pH will result in a quick death.
To determine your body’s pH balancing struggles, we look at blood test values of CO2 and the Anion Gap. Depending on the lab, a normal CO2 between 22 and 26 is ideal and the optimal number is 24. An anion gap of between 13 and 18 is ideal, but the optimal number is 15. Some lab tests don’t formulate your anion gap for you, so some calculations may be necessary to determine the anion gap. You can determine your anion gap by this formula: Anion Gap = (Sodium + potassium) - (chloride + CO2). Once you have determined your acid/alkaline balance you can determine how hard your body is working to maintain balance and health.
Luckily there is an easy answer and you don’t have to be a biochemist to understand it. The food we eat has a huge effect on our pH. What do we need to eat to assure that our pH is properly regulated? A lot of vegetables! Especially the green leafy ones! As well as drink a lot of water (a squeeze of lemon actually has an alkalizing effect). Also, we need to limit the amount of animal meat and grains we eat. Protein and grains have a very acidic effect on the body. Now obviously there are many other foods I have not mentioned yet, but these are the broad strokes.
Below is a alkaline acid food list, do not bog yourself down with the details or exceptions to the rules. Click chart for larger view.
To maintain a healthy pH, your diet should consist of 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods. To restore health, your diet should consist of 80% alkaline forming foods and 20% acid forming foods. This is by weight, so you have to eat a lot of vegetables to offset a 9- ounce steak.
If you are eating foods that are more acidic your body will steal chloride from the stomach if it has to. This leaves too little stomach acid thus causing heartburn. It will rip calcium out of bones leaving them porous; hence osteoporosis means “porous bones”. The act of pulling calcium from bone also agitates the tendons that attach to bones and causes pain in their fibers (fibromyalgia). So osteoporosis, heart burn, and fibromyalgia have a link in the same dysfunction...the body having difficulty in remaining alkaline! I hope we have given you the information that you may need as leverage to EAT MORE VEGGIES!
“One should eat to live, not live to eat” -Benjamin Franklin
At Yost Wellness Center, we are leading a Wellness Revolution that advances a new model of health care by pioneering cutting edge treatments while utilizing Functional Medicine.