Acid- Alkaline Balance and its Importance to Your Health
Alternative and integrative cancer doctors understand that acid-alkaline balance is vitally important factor necessary for achieving and maintaining good health. Acid-alkaline imbalances can lead to disease, including cancer, and today, largely due to poor dietary habits, many people suffer from such imbalances.
Simply put, acid-alkaline balance refers to the balance between the amount of acids and non-acids (alkalis) that are found in your body’s fluids (blood, saliva, and urine) and tissues. This ratio of acids to non-acids is determined by measuring pH levels. In terms of your body’s health, pH is the measurement of the acid-alkaline ratio of your body’s fluids and tissues. When this ratio is balanced, good health results. When it is imbalanced—either too acidic or too alkaline—the stage is set for disease to take hold. pH is measured on a scale of 0 to 14. A pH of 7 is considered neutral. A pH level below 7 indicates an acidic condition exists, while a pH level above 7 represents an alkaline condition.
In order to thrive, your body’s blood chemistry needs to be slightly alkaline (ideally having a pH of 7.4). When your pH blood reading moves too far below or above this number and remains that way, inevitably you will become sick. Some people who are chronically ill have a blood pH that is overly alkaline. However, the majority of people suffering from chronic illness suffer from an unbalanced blood pH that is far too acidic. This is especially true for the vast majority of people with cancer. Chronic over-acidity causes the body’s bloodstream to change to an environment that diminishes oxygen levels and supports unhealthy microorganisms, including cancer cells and tumors.
Not all parts of your body operate within the same pH range. That’s because there are different levels of acidity and alkalinity in which your body’s various organs, tissues, and fluids can function optimally. In each of these areas of the body, numerous chemical and enzyme reactions occur. For these reactions to be performed as nature intended, a narrow pH range is necessary. Small changes in pH levels can profoundly affect the body’s overall function and energy levels.
Both saliva and urine have a wide range of pH values, yet health can still exist as long as these ranges are not exceeded or diminished. Blood pH, on the other hand, must be maintained within a much narrower range for health to also be maintained.
Harmful Effects Of Acid-Alkaline Imbalances
When its pH levels become imbalanced for prolonged periods of time, your body’s internal environment will become either too acidic or too alkaline. In the vast majority of cases, over-acidity or acidosis, is the problem. (For some people, over-alkalinity, also known as alkalosis, is at the heart of their health problems, but overall alkalosis is rare, especially today, when the diets of most people create ongoing over-acidity.).
When acid buildup occurs to the point where your body is no longer able to successfully eliminate or neutralize these acids, a variety of problems can occur, including illness and, potentially, even death. Other problems related to acidosis include accelerated aging, demineralization (loss of the body’s mineral stores), fatigue, impaired enzyme activity, inflammation and organ damage, and the proliferation of harmful microorganisms such as bacteria, fungi, molds, yeasts (including Candida), and viruses.
Accelerated Aging: Accelerated or premature aging is all too common in our society. This condition can be due to a variety of factors, such as the accumulation of environmental toxins in the body, stress, and nutritional deficiencies. These factors can also affect pH levels, making your body more susceptible to disease. When your body’s cells are continually exposed to an overly acidic environment, their cell structure can become altered, meaning that the cell walls lose their integrity.
When viewed under a microscope, such cells, instead of being round and having noticeably strong walls, look bent and misshapen, with cell walls that are thin and weak. In addition, their ability to function properly can be diminished, as can their ability to effectively communicate with other cells. Over time, this state of deterioration causes the cells to make “mistakes” as they seek to repair and regenerate themselves by manufacturing the proteins that are essential to this process. Over time, these “mistakes” can cause healthy cells to become cancerous.
Acidosis can also impair proper brain function. An overly acidic internal environment inhibits neuron function. Neurons are nerve cells that help initiate and conduct impulses from the brain. When neurons are unable to function properly symptoms such as “brain fog,” forgetfulness, and impaired mental acuity are more apt to occur.
Demineralization: Your body draws upon its alkaline mineral stores in order to buffer or neutralize excess acids. While occasional withdrawal of these minerals is not likely to pose a problem, during chronic acidosis, the loss of such minerals, which include calcium, potassium, and magnesium, can pose serious health risks. Since these minerals are stored in all body tissues, their loss can potentially affect any of your body’s organs. But it is your bones and teeth that are most especially affected by demineralization.
Demineralization can lead to tooth problems because loss of calcium makes teeth more brittle and more susceptible to chipping. Your teeth may also start to experience sensitivity to hot and cold foods, and be more prone to develop cavities. Tooth decay and cavities, so prevalent in children today, are almost always caused primarily by a steady diet of acid-forming foods, such as the sugared cereals, sodas, and fast-food meals.
Other common results of demineralization include dry and cracking skin, brittle and thinning hair, fingernails that crack or split easily, and bleeding and oversensitive gums.
Fatigue: Fatigue is one of the most common symptoms among people whose bodies start to become overly acidic. As over-acidity grows worse, so does fatigue. The reason for this is simple and straightforward: Acidosis creates an internal environment in the body that is not conducive to optimal energy production. In an overly acidic environment, your body’s blood supply of oxygen diminishes making oxygen less available to the cells, tissues, and organs.
Lack of oxygen interferes with your body’s ability to carry out function like cell repair. It also impairs the ability of the mitochondria (your cell’s internal “energy factories”) to function. When the mitochondria are not well protected and properly fed—both consequences of acidosis and diminished oxygen supply—their ability to communicate with each other breaks down. This, in turn, compromises the mitochondria’s energy production, leading to fatigue
In an anaerobic (low oxygen) environment, toxins and harmful microorganisms are also better able to flourish and proliferate. As they do so, they interfere with our body’s ability to absorb and utilize nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. This poor absorption of nutrients make it much more difficult for our bodies to manufacture the enzymes, hormones, and numerous other bio-chemicals required for energy production, proper organ activity, and cellular repair. Blood sugar levels can also be affected, further fatiguing and impairing physical endurance.
Microorganisms such as yeasts and fungus can also disturb electrolyte balance.
Electrolytes act as conductors of electricity throughout your body and play a vital role in cellular activity. When they become imbalanced, the normal flow of energy in your body is reduced. If all of these factors are left unchecked, the result is chronic fatigue.
Impaired Enzyme Activity: Enzymes are chemical substances that literally make life possible. Enzymes are necessary for every single process that your body performs, including breathing, digestion, immune function, reproduction, and proper organ function, as well as speech, thought, and movement. In addition, minerals, vitamins, and hormones cannot perform any of their various functions without enzymes.
Your body produces thousands of different types of enzymes. Each one of them acts as a specific catalyst that is necessary for stimulating a particular biochemical reaction. But enzymes can only perform their multitude of tasks correctly within specific pH levels. If these pH levels become imbalanced, as they do with acidosis, enzyme function becomes disrupted.
Inflammation and Organ Damage: The excess acids that build up in the body due to chronic acidosis can be damaging to the tissues and organs with which they come into contact. If not neutralized or eliminated, they can cause lesions and hardening of organ tissues, as well as inflammation.
The kidneys and skin, both organs through which acids are eliminated, can be particularly affected when the amount of acid is greater than they are designed by nature to get rid of. When the skin is affected, conditions such as hives, eczema, blotching, and itching can occur as a direct result of acidic sweat passing through the sweat glands. When excess acid buildup occurs in the kidneys, urination can become painful and the urinary tract can become inflamed, causing a painful, burning sensation during urination. Infection can also occur, leading to conditions such as cystitis, a type of bladder inflammation that is often accompanied by urinary tract infection.
Tissues affected by acid buildup can not only be damaged, but can also become more susceptible to infection, allowing invading microorganisms to more easily penetrate cells and tissues. Once such penetration occurs, these same microorganisms also have an easier time growing in numbers within the affected area.
Compounding this problem is the fact that acid buildup also impairs immune function. In a state of acidosis, production of white blood cells is diminished, and the white blood cells that are manufactured are of reduced strength. Since white blood cells play a vital role in your body’s ability to target and destroy invading microbes, their diminished numbers and capacity resulting from excess acids in the body makes it easier for disease to take hold.
Proliferation of Harmful Microorganisms: When the pH of the blood remains consistently below 7.365, the bloodstream becomes a breeding ground for harmful microorganisms, much like a stagnant swamp. This happens because acidosis reduces the available oxygen supply in the bloodstream, and microorganisms thrive in the absence of optimum oxygen levels. In 1931, German researcher Dr. Otto Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize for his discovery that cancer cells cannot exist in an oxygen-rich environment.
When the oxygen supply in the bloodstream is diminished,
various cells within the body revert to what Warburg termed a “primitive”
state, no longer deriving energy from oxygen, but from the fermentation of
sugar in the form of glucose. This creates large amounts of lactic acid, a
waste product of this fermentation. And it is this lactic acid that further
diminishes available oxygen levels which disrupts the acid-alkaline balance.
What’s important to realize here is that it was the lack of oxygen that set this process in motion in the first place, and the lack of oxygen was caused by unhealthy acidic levels in the bloodstream. By maintaining acid-alkaline balance, all of this can be avoided.
The same oxygen-deficient condition that causes cells to devolve and potentially turn cancerous is also responsible for the growth and spread of bacteria, fungi, molds, yeasts (including Candida), and viruses in the body. These microorganisms live by fermenting glucose, which under healthy conditions is used by your body to supply energy. In addition, they divert fats and proteins normally used by your body for regeneration and other functions, using them for their own reproduction. In this way, the microorganisms are able to spread throughout the body, targeting weak areas and breaking down tissue and interfering with the bodily processes that are essential for good health.
Determining Your pH
While there are a number of tests available for measuring pH levels in the body, let’s focus on two testing procedures. The first is the venous plasma pH test, which can provide you with an accurate reading of your blood’s pH level. The second is a self-test that can be easily done at home. It involves the use of pH strips. Although it does not provide specific pH measurements, it offers a strong indication of your acidic-alkaline balance.
Venous Plasma pH Test: The venous plasma pH test accurately measures the pH of your blood. It requires that you see a physician. The doctor withdraws a vial of bottle from the vein in your arm, and then sends the blood to a licensed laboratory for testing.
Because of how important blood pH levels are to your overall health, I recommend that you consider making the venous plasma pH test part of your annual physical check-up. Since it is not commonly administered as part of such check-ups, be sure to ask your physician for it when you schedule your appointment. The additional cost is nominal and the information the test provides can literally be lifesaving.
The pH Strip Test: You can also perform a simple home pH test using pH strips, which are available at your local drugstore. pH strips are made of litmus paper, which changes color when it comes in contact with alkaline and acidic substances. Included with your purchase will be a color chart that will help you to gauge your pH.
You can use pH strips to test the pH levels of both your urine and salvia. However, since the pH of saliva can have a wide variance, I recommend testing your urine instead. When your body is in or near a state of acid-alkaline balance, urine pH will normally be 7.0 to 7.5 This indicates that your kidneys are excreting normal levels of acids. But when higher than normal amounts of acids are being eliminated, it means that your body is overly acidic. This will be reflected in the measurement shown on the pH strip. Similarly, if less than normal levels of acids are being excreted, the pH reading will indicate over-alkalinity.
Since urine pH values can change during the day in reaction to the foods you eat, the best time to measure urine pH is in the morning soon after you’ve awakened and before you eat breakfast. It is easy to perform the test. Simply take a pH strip and moisten it with your urine as you urinate. A quick dip into your urine stream is all that is necessary. As the acid content of your urine reacts with the pH strip, it will change color according to how acidic or alkaline your urine pH is.
Remember, a urine pH test does not provide as accurate an indication of your body’s internal acid-alkaline balance, but it can help you get a better sense of how acidic or alkaline your body is. To get a better idea of the state of your body’s pH, I recommend that you perform this test for five mornings in a row. If your reading is consistently within the range of 7.0-7.5, your body is in a fairly healthy state of acid-alkaline balance.
The Work of Dr. Bernardo Majalca
One of my mentors who taught me about the importance of acid-alkaline balance and its importance to health and preventing cancer was the late Dr. Bernardo Majalca. Dr. Bernardo, as he was known by his friends and patients, emphasized the necessity of following an alkalizing diet, both to prevent cancer, and to help reverse it. The dietary guidelines he developed to help his patients played an integral role in his overall integrative approach to treating cancer successfully.
I urge you to learn more about Dr. Bernardo’s Alkaline Diet. You can download what he wrote about it by going to:
I also recommend that you watch Dr. Bernardo explain his diet in his own words. You can do so by watching the videos you will find at:
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