Your acid alkaline balance is a critical factor for both disease prevention and how well you age. This means understanding your body’s pH and its effect on your health is a critical component for a successful health strategy.
Some would even consider your body’s pH the single most important item to pay attention to for both optimal health and disease prevention.
Because of the scope of this issue, I have divided the acid alkaline balance into two parts. To set the stage for Part 1 we need to discuss the following topic.
In the early 1900s the life expectancy in the United States was under 50 years of age. Over the last 100 years our life expectancy has increased to approximately 80 years of age, a 60% increase. Most experts in this area would attribute this increase to lower infant mortality, better diet, and improved hygiene. However, an interesting trend is occurring. With all the medicine and prescription drugs available to us today, especially here in the United States, we are continuing to move down on the life expectancy charts when compared to other countries. We are currently 48th in life expectancy.
With a 60% increase in life expectancy, why do we rank 48th in the world?
Maybe it has more to do with what we eat and drink than what kind of medical attention we receive. To highlight this thought we only need to look at how the health risks from obesity have overtaken the health risks from cigarette smoking. We are literally eating and drinking our way to an earlier death. Plus, we’re creating an acid alkaline balance within our body that is leading to an increased risk of disease.
Want to Live Cancer Free?
Why can certain cultures live relatively cancer free and we can’t? It’s an important question. The Hunza people frequently live to between 120 to 140 years of age and, for the most part, remain healthy. In 1904, only 1 out of every 24 Americans developed cancer in their lifetime. Currently, cancer is the second leading cause of death in America. For the year 2014, nearly 1.7 million Americans were diagnosed with cancer and about 600,000 died from it.
Granted most of the people back in 1904 didn’t live past 50 years old. But is there a common cause for cancer and many other diseases that are impacting our society today? How much does this acid alkaline balance impact your health?
The Great Acid Alkaline Debate!
Your acid alkaline balance is one of the central issues in this increased health risk for all diseases including cancer. As you gain knowledge in this area, you will also see how it affects obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and a whole host of other health issues.
To understand your acid alkaline balance we need to understand “pH” and a little Chemistry 101. I’m going to try to make this easy to understand. The pH scale measures the degree of acidity or alkalinity of a substance and ranges from 0 to 14:
0 is complete acid
0 to 6.99 is acidic
7 is neutral or the perfect balance between acid and alkaline
7.01 to 13.99 is alkaline
14 is complete alkaline
The lower on the scale below 7 the more acidic something is and the higher on the scale above 7 the more alkaline something is.
Now this is what gets most people confused about the acid alkaline balance. The pH scale is not arithmetic but logarithmic. Logarithmic means that the values separating each unit are not of equal value along the scale but increases in proportion to their distance from a pH of 7. For example, a pH reading of 6 is 10 times more acidic than 7, but a pH of 5 is not 20 times more acidic but 100 times more acidic. If you’re catching on, then a pH reading of 4 is 1000 times more acidic than a pH of 7.
Given this fact, what would seem like a small change in the acid alkaline balance and be no big deal is, in reality, a big deal to your body.
Although some organs and organ fluids (like the gastric region) have a higher or lower pH than what is normal for the body, your body functions best when the pH of the internal biochemical environment (your blood, lymph and intracellular fluids) is between 7.365 and 7.390.
If you understand the pH scale from above, then you can see that the body likes to keep itself slightly alkaline and in a very narrow range. Anything outside this acid alkaline range causes stress on the body. The farther outside this range, then the stress on the body goes up exponentially.
Although a person may occasionally become alkalosis (a reading higher than 7.390), most people lean toward becoming acidosis because of the food they eat. This acidification of the internal terrain of the body has been directly and indirectly linked to the following ailments:
Lack of Energy or Chronic Fatigue
Poor Circulation, High Blood Pressure and Heart Disease
Irritability, Nervousness and Leg Cramps
Inflammation, Joint Fatigue, Arthritis, Rheumatism and Gout
Gastro Intestinal Disorders, Acid Reflux and Irregular Bowel Movements
Diabetes and Kidney Stones
Allergies and Skin Disorders
Osteoporosis, Candida and Cancer
Although this isn’t a complete list it does give you a picture of how acidity can affect your body. In fact, if you do a Google search for “death by disease” you will find a strong correlation between the two lists. Some people will go so far as to say that:
an acidic body is a breeding ground for all disease
no disease can exist in an alkaline environment
the primary cause of cancer is lack of oxygen and an acidic environment
In reviewing the literature for this article I cannot completely endorse those statements. But it’s quite clear that an acidic environment creates a much more favorable environment for all types of diseases to flourish.
The pH value for Coca-Cola is 2!
The importance of this issue of pH and your health can best be shown by example. In this case the example is Coca-Cola which has a pH value of 2. That would make it 100,000 times more acidic than a pH of 7. If your diet is lacking in alkalizing foods, then your body has a problem.
It wants to maintain a slightly alkaline environment. To offset the acidic environment created by the Coca-Cola, your body is going to pull calcium and other minerals from its system. Usually the calcium is taken from your bone structure. This is especially true if your diet is poor in alkaline foods and lacking in mineral and trace mineral intake. This is a recipe for osteoporosis.
So, how do you know if you’re a walking flask of acid and are creating the potential environment for disease? I’ll cover that in The Acid Alkaline Balance – Part 2. In my next post I’ll provide you with 6 steps to go from acidic to alkaline. These steps will help you make a significant improvement in your overall health and reduce your risk for disease.