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Acid - Alkaline Balance for Optimal Health

Overview

There are numerous books out these days that recommend making your diet more alkaline to improve your health. While I do think acid / alkaline balance is important in a person's diet, I always find these books a bit odd, because many of my past health problems stemmed from being too alkaline.

I started testing my urine pH years ago before it was "trendy" to do so. In my case my urine pH was out of the normal range on the alkaline side of the scale. Other family members had the same problem. When I switched my family to a more acidic diet, our bladder infections cleared up and both of my children's adult teeth started coming in all of a sudden. I suspect that previously my children had been suffering from delayed dentition because their bodies didn't have the right nutrients, or perhaps their bodies were not able to absorb the right nutrients to form their adult teeth, due to a lack of stomach acid. I noticed many of their allergies and chronic sinus and ear infections also cleared up as their diets became more acidic.

Researchers from Japan found that ovariectomized rats fed a low-calcium diet had better calcium absorption when the rats were fed on a diet containing 1.6% vinegar (a very acidic substance) for 32 days than when fed on a diet without vinegar.

So for the last ten years or so I've been a firm believer in the value of acid - alkaline balance in the diet through first morning urine testing. I know a lot of traditional Western doctors feel this isn't helpful, but these are the same doctors who were putting my kids on endless cycles of antibiotics for years that did more harm than good. So I do feel in situations like this it is better to trust my own judgment than to blindly follow authority figures' advice, especially when that advice has harmed myself and my children in the past with unnecessary drugs with nasty side effects. Urine testing is inexpensive, easy to do, and seems to help with health issues based on my personal observations. I can't think of any downside to having my urine pH in the normal range.

Health Issue from Being Over-acid

When the urine is too acidic, my family members seem to have many of the following conditions:

  • High blood pressure
  • Headaches
  • Acid reflux (heartburn)
  • Acid indigestion
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Heat rashes
  • Motion sickness - (I think movement sloshes the excess acid around in the stomach making people more easily nauseous)
  • Muscle pains
  • Insomnia
  • Cold feet and hands

In Ayurvedic (traditional Indian) medicine, an overly acid condition is associated with a pitta dosha. After taking my son to endless traditional and holistic Western doctors, we found the answers to my son's sweaty head at night and stomach aches on the Internet in Ayurvedic web sites. He fit the pitta dosha descriptions perfectly, and the recommended diets to balance a pitta dosha put him on the road to recovery. (The traditional yoga diet, which emphasizes a diet high in fresh fruit and vegetables, tends to be an alkaline diet.)

Health Issues from Being Over-Alkaline

When the urine is too alkaline, I've noticed the following conditions seem to develop among my family members:

  • Bladder infections
  • Lower blood pressure - my blood pressure drops easily whenever I eat lots of alkaline foods, especially most raw vegetables and fruits
  • Malabsorption symptoms
  • Allergies get worse
  • More colds and sinusitis
  • Diarrhea / upset stomachs
  • Athlete's foot fungus
  • Easily tired
  • Night sweats
  • Itchy skin
  • Mold allergies
  • Muscle pains
  • Headaches

Please note most of the above lists are not taken from any books or studies - they are just my personal observations of what happens to my family members when their urine pH gets out of normal range in either direction.

Balance is the Key

I think when we don't have enough acid it makes it easier for bacteria and fungus to thrive, hence the onset of bacterial and fungal related conditions. So I certainly don't agree with most of the popular books out today that everyone needs to be more alkaline. There is a condition called alkalosis that can occur when body fluids become overly alkaline. Medical symptoms of alkalosis include muscle twitching, spasms, lightheadedness, confusion and tremors.

However, being too acidic seems to have it's own issues, including a condition called acidosis. Among other symptoms, metabolic acidosis can lead to a loss of calcium. In a 2006 study, researchers in Sweden found that an acid load in the human body can also cause a loss of renal magnesium. This could contribute to a deficiency of magnesium, which can lead to conditions conditions such as migraines, anxiety, and mitral valve prolapse.

Many holistic doctors recommend saliva or urine testing to determine your pH levels, but I've personally never found any correlation between health issues and saliva pH. Urine pH is the one measurement I've found most helpful.

 

 

 

 


Related sections of interest:

Acid - Alkaline Balance for Optimal Health

Acidic and Alkaline Food Lists

Acid, Alkaline and Neutral Food Chart

What causes an ammonia smell in the urine?

Dry Mouth - Xerostomia

Sweaty Heads, Night Sweats and Hot Flashes

 

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