The human body contains up to 60% water overall: the brain is 70% water; the blood, 82% and the lungs almost 90%. We are an inland sea, and a blight can descend on our bodies if the acid /alkaline balance of this "water of life" is not maintained, just as the acid in rain is blighting some of the forests of the world..
All of the cells of our body are washed by the liquid medium of that sea, which allows nutrients to be transported from place to place, and laves away the toxins our cells discharge. When pH is imbalanced, the system breaks down - if the body's pH deviates too far to the acidic or too far to the alkaline side, cells can become poisoned by their own toxic waste and die. Like the Buddhist concepts of Yin and Yang, our bodies are designed to operate in an alkaline state, yet we need certain acids to function.
An acid alkaline imbalance can be a factor in:
Many chronic disease states are accompanied by an acid body condition : cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, arteriosclerosis and stroke; many cancers; diabetes; many autoimmune diseases; indigestion, bowel imbalances and dysbiosis; much inflammation, such as of the joints and the bladder. Osteoporosis in particular is affected by your pH.
Counteracting Acidic Diet Reduces Markers of Bone Loss in Older Adults, http://www.medpagetoday.com/PrimaryCare/DietNutrition/12006
I consider pH acid alkaline balance the first signpost on the road to determine whether the body is in a state of health or not, and with knowledge and determination, one which it is within our power to correct.
Water is considered neutral at a ph of 7. Anything under that is increasingly acid, anything over - increasingly alkaline. The human body operates optimally at a pH that varies from 6.8 to 7.5, depending on the time of day: pH tends to peak at 6 o'clock in the evening, and at noon, with the lowest point coming at 6 o'clock in the morning. These readings represent homeostasis, or balance. When the pH is operating within these normal parameters, cells can take up nutrients as and when needed, depending only on availability, and can discharge wastes efficiently.
Calcium in particular is dependent on the correct pH for absorption. In fact, when the body is acidic, it will withdraw calcium from the bones in an attempt to provide the alkalinizing minerals necessary to correct balance. Counter-intuitively, when stomach acid is lowered, the body pH becomes more acidic. It is frightening to consider how anti-acids may be affecting the health of masses of unaware victims. http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio115/pepsin.htm#background
Here is an excellent definition from Health Freedom Resources (http://www.healthfree.com/):
You can buy strips to measure pH at some health food stores. You can also order them directly from us. You can measure either urinary or saliva pH. Urinary pH should fall around 6.5, lower is acidic; salivary pH should be measured at least 2 hours away from a meal, and is healthy at 7.4, acidic below that.
Monitoring your pH with urine: hold the strip in the stream of your first morning urination. The first reading will give you an idea of how the acids in your body are accumulating overnight. Some experts suggest the second urination of the morning is more accurate, but I feel it is important to know whether you are maintaining neutral pH for what is, after all, half your day. Repeating the reading before your noon meal will complete the picture.
You can also determine your pH levels by testing saliva: do not do this first thing in the morning: the oral bacteria present at that time can skew your reading to acidic. Wait until after you have brushed your teeth and rinsed your mouth well with water. Then, hold the strip against your tongue well-moistened with saliva.
Diet is the main determinant of whether we tend towards the acid or the alkaline
and the average U.S. diet might almost be designed to cause us to err!
Modifying the diet is the first step along the road to moderating pH; if diet fails, stress is the next consideration, and if controlling stress still leaves one in an acidic state, then adding a digestive enzyme with Betain Hydrochloride (or even, in extreme cases, HCl as a standalone) may bring about the desired result.
There are some "superfoods" that are natural buffers that I use and recommend frequently. A natural buffer is a substance that counteracts the acid state of the body, and chief among them are concentrated green foods like
As a side note, I often have people tell me that their arthritis has been helped by taking a green food, and this is part of the reason why: people with arthritis are almost without exception highly acidic, which is a pro-inflammatory state. All concentrated green foods are helpful in alkalinizing pH.
The other buffers I use and recommend most frequently because they are healthful in many other ways also, are
In my article on digestion, you will find information about Hydrochloric acid and digestive health. Since stomach acid is a significant factor in maintaining pH balance, and is affected by stress, you will find that interesting too.
I find it vexing that some Doctors are still recommending Tums as a source of Calcium for their patients: it is a truly ironic recommendation, since Tums is designed to suppress stomach acid, and calcium is very poorly absorbed unless sufficient stomach acid is present. Sufficient HCL in the stomach, and a proper acid environment there, are also essential for keeping the body in proper pH balance.
Lack of acid in the stomach is not only the first obstacle in the absorption of calcium and other important nutrients, but often leads to an acidic condition in the body, which in turn leads to the withdrawal of minerals from the bones; making alkalinizing minerals available is the defensive reaction of the body to correct and neutralize the problem.
Shallow, slow breathing means a higher concentration of carbon monoxide in your blood, which can be a factor in your body's overall pH. Make a point each day of taking a few minutes to practice a regimen of long, deep breaths, involving your entire chest and testing your lung capacity to its extremes.
When many people give breathing some thought, they realize that most of their lives, they have been either holding their breath, or breathing very shallowly. Breathing deeply helps to calm, which of course is why we say to someone who is distressed - "Now, take a DEEP breath". Obviously, there is also a breath/stress connection!
Correct Breathing http://www.lifepositive.com/body/body-holistic/breath/breath.html
At the moment there are no studies that support the importance of acid alkaline pH balance to health, and there are even some respected nutritional authorities that do not agree - Dr. Andrew Weil among them, who comments negatively here. However, in another place he emphasizes the importance of keeping the urine alkaline for urinary tract infections, and I wonder whether perhaps there is some confusion between blood pH ( which is regulated by the body) and urinary and salivary pH, which are at the mercy of the diet. If the pH of the mouth affects caries, and the pH of the bladder affects infections - then I submit that all places in between are also affected by an imbalance.