Acid/Alkaline Balance in Body
The Body’s Acid / Alkaline Balance
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For health, we need an appropriate
Balance of Acidity and Alkalinity in Blood plasma and Body Tissues
Measuring body pH
"We are facing the largest health crisis in recorded history"
Dr. Theodore Baroody, author of "Alkalize
This health crisis is
which is linked to all kinds of illness and disease. Acidosis in the body
is the result of the typical Western diet and lifestyle.
(Alkalosis is usually only seen in someone with kidney disease, or one
taking too many alkalizing supplements or drugs intended to have an alkalizing
effect). Chronic acidosis is dealt with by employing the body’s alkalizing
mechanisms, which will eventually deplete the body’s stores of alkaline minerals
(e.g. sodium, potassium, magnesium and
calcium), paving the way for chronic
and degenerative disease.
Problems - What happens when the body is too acidic?
What does pH mean? -
Water (H2O) ionizes into
hydrogen (H+) and hydroxyl (OH-) ions, which when in equal proportion have a
neutral pH value of 7.
If there are more H+ ions
than OH- ions
then the water is said to be acid.
If OH- ions outnumber the H+ ions then the water
value represents a fluid’s
acidity or alkalinity level -
by indicating its concentration of hydrogen ions (H+). The most acid
pH value is 1, and the most alkaline pH is 14.
For more detail:
does pH Mean?
For health, we need an appropriate balance
between acids and bases in blood plasma and body tissues
Chronically imbalanced pH levels in your body will lead to any of the now
commonly observed degenerative diseases -
Any slight decrease in pH will result in lower
oxygen levels in the blood and, therefore, in the cells. A
healthy Acid-Alkaline Balance
is decisive to the structure and
function of proteins, the permeability of membranes, the distribution of
electrolytes (charged particles) and the functioning of connective tissue.
physiological processes affected by pH:
Cleansing and healing processes
Beating of heart
Firing of nerves
Ability to absorb nutrients
Ability of muscles to contract decreases as body
becomes more acidic, while hormones like adrenaline increase.
Metabolic enzyme activity and chemical reactions
Oxidation rate in ATP cellular energy production
Transport proteins that move substances across
Signaling systems that transmit messages between
cells or intracellular compartments
Body processes tend to produce a slightly acid pH -
due to acidic
end-products, i.e. CO2 and metabolic acids (e.g. sulfuric acids from
Digestion/Cellular respiration process -
which creates energy for a cell to perform its
specific task, creates acid end products (waste), which must not be allowed to
build up. E.g. lactic acid is created through exercise and can cause pain.
The pH level of the blood plasma and of the external and internal cellular
fluids must be kept within a small range of fluctuation under all circumstances
the body is ~70%
water-based, and the pH level of the
various body fluids inside and
outside of cells must be kept
within narrow limits
in order for many different body processes to be carried out in a
(E.g. to sustain life, blood plasma pH must be 7.35 – 7.45).
- There are 3 main
compartments of body fluids, each separated by selectively permeable
Internal Cellular Fluid -
2/3 of body fluid is INSIDE cells
(1) Intracellular fluid
of individual body cells separate intracellular fluid from
Extracellular Cellular Fluid (ECF)
1/3 of body fluids is outside cells
(2) Interstitial fluid
(also called intercellular fluid)
Bathes outside of cells;
80% of ECF;
Endothelial cells separate interstitial fluid from plasma
(yellow-colored liquid component of blood, in which blood cells are
~ 20% of ECF
Other ECF fluids
Include lymph, CSF, synovial fluid, humors of the eye, endolymph,
perilymph, serous fluids, and glomerular filtrate
pH Levels of SOme Body AreaS
that deal with the external environment
Colon, skin, vagina,
stomach, lymph node fluid need an acid pH for proper function
(Blood plasma and
Interstitial pH is ~7.35 (H+
= 40 nmol/l)
= 100 nmol/l);
Ideal morning urine pH should be 6.4
First morning saliva pH should be 6.8
All other organs and fluids will fluctuate in their range in order to keep the
blood at a strict pH between 7.35 and 7.45
alkaline) - This process is called homeostasis. The body makes constant
adjustments in tissue and fluid pH to maintain this very narrow pH range in the
blood. A normal pH of all tissues and fluids of the body (except the stomach) is
slightly alkaline. The stomach pH is much more acid than the intestinal pH
because the stomach needs an acid environment (hydrochloric acid) to break down
food for digestion. Whereas, the flora (good bacteria) of the intestine need a
more alkaline environment to assimilate and process the nutrients from the foods
digested by the stomach.
Measuring Body pH
Using pH paper - We can get a
pretty good idea of the pH of our body tissues and internal fluids by using pH
paper in saliva and urine.
reflects your success in
creating an alkaline condition within your body –
it should be 6.5-7.5 all day for
someone in a healthy state. pH readings should be taken one hour before or two
hours after a meal. A pH below 6.0 indicates that you should pay immediate
attention to alkalizing your diet.
reflects the pH corrections by the
kidney buffer systems -
E.g. An alkaline
urine simply shows that some alkaline minerals are being discarded by the body.
People in North America tend to consume too
much calcium and sodium and insufficient magnesium and potassium -
is often reflected in urine tests which show calcium and sodium being excreted
while magnesium and potassium are being retained.
(regulatory systems which
compensate for the excess acid or base)
These are the main systems that buffer acids and
bases by functioning in equilibrium with each other:
Chemical buffer systems – act within
Respiratory compensation -
respiratory center in the brain stem acts within 1-3 minutes;
This system is in play when you become “out of breath “after exercise - your
muscles produce lactic acid, which is breathed out in the form of CO2 with a
stepped up breathing rate.
Renal mechanisms –
require hours to days to effect pH changes
The body’s pH-regulating organs, LUNGS, LIVER and KIDNEYS, remove acidic end
which would otherwise
“corrode” tissues and disrupt cellular activities and functions. For more
technical information on how the body buffers excess acid so prevalent today:
body’s acid buffering systems
What Causes Our Bodies to Become Over-Acidified?
Metabolic acidosis may be caused by:
Ingestion of highly acidic foods
Production of excessive amounts of acid
(H+ ions) in the body
A deficiency of buffering alkaline minerals -
metabolic imbalances require chemical
buffering in the blood plasma, lymph, and intra/extracellular fluids.
The following factors have a role in metabolic
Body Processes -
tend to produce
acid as an end-product. Most H+ ions originate from cellular metabolism:
Breakdown of sulfur-containing proteins
- releases sulfuric acid into the ECF;
Anaerobic respiration of glucose -
produces lactic acid (E.g.
cancer cells); can be caused by
lack of physical activity, which leads to a lack of oxygen through
insufficient muscular circulation, activating anaerobic metabolism;
Fat metabolism -
yields organic acids and ketone bodies;
dieting or fasting increases fat metabolism as a source of energy;
Transporting carbon dioxide -
as bicarbonate releases H+ ions
Diet – is probably the
main contributor to the body’s acid levels today. When foods are broken down,
they leave certain chemical /metallic residues (sometimes called a
noncombustible "ash"), which when combined with body fluids, yields either acid
or alkaline solutions. Some foods are "acid-forming" and some are
such as protein, sodas,
sugar, grains, caffeine, dairy, processed foods
Should be Balanced With
Alkaline mineral-containing fruits and vegetables
Contrary to what you might expect, citrus fruits and apple cider vinegar
actually alkalize the body because they contain alkalizing minerals. The general
recommendation is to consume about 75% alkaline-forming foods and 25%
Major Dietary Causes of Acidosis
Under / Imbalanced Consumption of alkalizing minerals –
Western diets tend to contain
too much calcium (from consuming too many dairy products or
Calcium supplements) and
sodium (in prepared foods loaded with salt), and insufficient magnesium and potassium (that
would come from eating fruits and vegetables).
A diet based on fruits and vegetables, grains and legumes, with a small
amount of dairy, would give the body all four of the alkaline
minerals in better balance.
Over-Consumption of Protein
MAIN cause of acidosis) - after proteins are broken down in
the body, they leave an "acid ash", such as the negatively charged ions SO4 2- (sulfate),
all part of strong acids (sulfuric, phosphoric and
Alkaline bicarbonates of
sodium, potassium, calcium or magnesium
are used to buffer
these acids (The kidneys try to increase the pH by
the exchange of hydrogen ions for sodium ions.
When acid and
alkaline molecules combine they
form neutral, bicarbonate salts, which are able to pass
through the blood stream to be eliminated through the kidneys,
without affecting blood plasma pH.)
We need 1½ - 3 oz. of daily protein (Examples of protein
content in foods: 3oz. cooked cod = ¾ oz. ; 3oz. cooked beef
sirloin/no fat = ~ 1oz; 1 lg. fried egg = ¼ oz), yet the average
American diet contains up to 7 oz. of protein.
Today’s average protein-rich, Western
diet overloads the body with a daily acid excess of 50-100 mmol.
High sugar consumption - provides
the “favorite” meal for bacteria and yeast, promoting their
uncontrollable growth and multiplication. The immune system uses its
precious oxygen supplies in an attempt to eliminate these “invaders”
and their toxic waste products, again creating an even more acidic
environment – a vicious circle made worse by too much dietary sugar;
Drinking too many sodas - so called “soft” drinks, which
often contain phosphoric acid and a lot of sugar;
Drugs/ Pollution - extensive use of many drugs E.g antibiotics
and steroids (cortisone) and pollution alter pH; Breathing polluted air;
Drinking contaminated water.
Turbulent emotions /
being angry, worrying, feeling hateful,
lack of spirituality, emotional stress - makes body more acidic.
acid rock music
(wonder why they call it that?), hectic living, physical/
emotional/mental stress, immorality, lack of exercise, trauma - all induce
Respiratory acidosis results from failure to
exhale carbon dioxide from the lungs as quickly as it forms in respiring tissues
- such that carbon dioxide accumulates in the
blood plasma and tissues, where it forms carbonic acids.
Acidosis due to Kidney or liver disease
Kidney or liver impairment can impede the natural
excretion of excess acids