What’s pH got to do with it?

Remember learning about the pH scale in science class?  That was pretty much the last time I gave any thought to acidity vs. alkalinity, that is until I started studying nutrition.  It turns out that many of the most prominent diseases in our society often come down to one thing, pH imbalance.

Almost every patient that walks through our door at Longevity is too acidic.  This dangerous condition is called acidosis, and it weakens all the body’s systems.  You can think of it like this – bad things grow in acidic environments, things like free radicals, cancer cells and other antigens.  However, a body with a balanced pH allows for the normal function necessary for disease resistance.

In the words of Dr. T.A. Baroody, Jr, in his book Alkalize or Die, “Acidosis is the basic foundation of all disease.  We need to understand the simple process of alkalizing our body and the important role a properly alkalized body plays in restoring and maintaining our overall health. Our glands and organs function properly in exact proportion to the amount of alkaline and acid levels in our system.”

So before I go any further, let’s break down the pH scale, a.k.a let’s have a little 7th grade science refresher! pH (power of hydrogen) is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a given solution.  It’s measured on a scale of 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral.  The lower the pH (below 7), the more acidic the solution, and the higher the pH (higher than 7), the more alkaline the solution.

The body is composed of positively charged ions (acid-forming) and negatively charged ions (alkaline-forming), and it continuously strives to balance pH.

Just to clarify, when I say we shouldn’t be too acidic, I’m not talking about the stomach environment.  In fact, our stomach should be so acidic (ideally a pH of 1.5 to 3) that if we poured out its contents on a rug, it would burn a hole right through it! Urine pH should fluctuate between 6.0 and 6.5 in the morning and 6.5 to 7.0 in the evening.  Saliva pH should stay between 6.5 and 7.5 all day.

When our systems become too acidic, it forces our bodies to steal major minerals like magnesium and potassium from our bones and vital organs in order to buffer the acid and remove it from the body.  Here are some of the problems that result:

  • Acceleration of free radical damage, possibly contributing to the growth and spreading of cancer cells
  • Low energy/chronic fatigue
  • Premature aging
  • Weight gain/obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular stress – constriction of blood vessels, reduced oxygen
  • Kidney/bladder issues, such as kidney stones
  • Immune deficiencies
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Bone Loss, brittle bones, bone spurs, Osteoporosis
  • Muscle/joint pain
  • Digestive dysfunction
  • Yeast overgrowth

Unfortunately, acidity leads to more acidity.  Pathogens create acidifying toxins in the body. As the body becomes more and more acidic, bad bacteria, yeasts and other toxins multiply in the body. Since these organisms are living, they feed off of and create more acidic toxins, and the cycle continues.

So what can we do to prevent acidosis?  The answer is cleaning up our diet and lifestyle.  The standard American diet is high in acidic foods like red meat, dairy, refined sugar, artificial sweeteners, caffeine, alcohol and refined carbohydrates.  (Need yet another reason to avoid soft drinks?  They are extremely acidic!) Most of us aren’t getting enough of the more alkalizing foods, like fresh vegetables, whole grains and high-quality fats.

For a more complete list of the most acid and alkaline foods, check out these Acid and Alkaline Food Charts.  Remember, it’s not that all acidic foods are bad.  For example, many fruits are more acidic, and that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t eat them, it’s just that we have to stay well hydrated and also eat plenty of alkalizing foods to keep our system in balance.

If you’re not good about eating vegetables throughout the day, consider juicing, doing a green drink or throwing some greens into a morning smoothie.  One way or another, it’s crucial to get these highly beneficial vegetables into your system!

Greens like kale, spinach and kelp are extremely alkalizing...eat up!

Sports drinks, coffee, juices and other high-sugar and high-caffeine beverages are highly acidic.

Another tip for treating acidosis is to drink about a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in the mornings.  I like the Braggs brand because it’s organic and unpasteurized.

If you’re battling cancer, candida overgrowth, chronic fatigue syndrome, or any of the other health issues I mentioned, it’s time to start balancing your pH.  Even if you don’t have any health problems, but just want to eat a cleaner diet for wellness and prevention, an alkalizing diet is a fundamental place to start.   You’ll look and feel so much better.

Stay alkaline my friends!


Filed under Healthy Tips, Rants and Cravings

9 responses to “What’s pH got to do with it?

  1. What great resources you’ve shared today – thanks! Like acid-washed jeans and acid rock, the kind created by processed foods in your body pretty much sucks too. 🙂

  2. Pingback: What’s pH got to do with it? «

  3. Meredith

    thanks for the article. I’ll be checking into all this. I would LOVE if you could post a green drink recipe that would not result in the gag reflex 🙂

    • Meredith,

      Green drinks can definitely be hard to take. I’ve tried some that have pushed my gag reflexes to the limit! What I like to do is buy the Super Fruits and Greens powders and add them to my protein smoothie in the morning. The frozen fruit and vanilla flavor of the protein usually masks the taste of the greens. Sometimes I just use raw spinach or liquid chlorophyll. It turns the smoothie green but you can’t taste it at all.

      I also think it’s fun to juice, although it can get quite messy and the clean-up is a bit involved. Do you own a juicer? I’ve found that if you add lemon/lime or an apple to any greens combo, it’s much easier to get down and actually has a nice pleasant taste. Carrots also add a little sweetness to a bitter greens combo.

  4. Is there a way to test your body PH? I think one of the nutritionists at Longevity years ago gave me a little PH strip (like we used in science projects). Is this an accurate way to test our PH? Would you test saliva? Thanks!

    • Hi Megan,

      Yes, we still carry the pH tape, and I think you can find it at most drug stores. I think it’s a little easier to test saliva than urine, if you know what I mean. Your saliva should stay between 6.5 and 7.5 all day. Make sure you test it when it’s been at least an hour since you’ve had any food or drink, especially a highly acidic drink like wine or coffee!

  5. Meg


    Read the article on PH levels. Took anatomy & healthscience classes in the last year…and the first thing our anatomy teacher talked about was acidosis and disease. My question: You recommend 1 tsp. vinegar daily and another article I have read talks about drinking alkaline water with lemon juice during the day. How does that work in that vinegar and lemon juice are very acidic. Meg Hornbeck

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