Body PH Balance and Acidosis
The first questions I asked when I heard the concepts of acidosis and body pH balance are "What is that?" and "Why is it so important?".
This is what I found.What Does Body PH Balance Mean?
If you remember high school chemistry, and if you are like me you don't, you will remember that pH means "potential of Hydrogen". The more hydrogen ions released when a solution is dissolved in water, the more acidic it is; the fewer, the more alkaline the solution is.
Bear with me for just a moment as I explain this in more detail.
PH level is measured using a scale that goes from a low of 0 (most acidic) to 14 (most alkaline).
The lower the number on the scale the more hydrogen ions released from that food or mineral.
Our bodies function within a narrow range of this scale. Our optimal internal body pH is 7.39, just slightly alkaline, and the zone of good health runs between pH levels of 7.36 to 7.42.
A pH level of 7.36 or below indicates acidosis, a situation of too much acid in the body.
PH levels of 7.42 or above indicates alkalosis, or too alkaline a system.
Although both excessive acid and excessive alkalinity are unhealthy and lead to disease, it is usually acidosis that is the problem in our western world.
Acidosis, or an overly acidic internal environment, decreases the bodys' ability to absorb the minerals and nutrients it needs from the foods we eat.
It also decreases energy production in our cells as well as the ability to repair damaged body cells, and it reduces the bodys' ability to detoxify accumulated heavy metals.
Disease flourishes in an acid environment because of the bodys' limited ability to flush the excess acid from itself through urine or perspiration.
Acidosis can result in diseases affecting the skin, the respiratory system, nerves, teeth, gums eyes and the spinal column. Heartburn bloating, belching, water retention, migraines and constipation rotating with bouts of diarrhea are other symptoms of a body pH that is out of whack.
Excess acidification of the body also leads to a high level of overall fatigue, even with lots of sleep and little exertion. A person with a high acid pH level will often display a lack of enthusiasm for life, will tire quickly and will take a long time to recover from any exertion. (** see note below)
A person with acidosis can be irritable and touchy, can worry too much and sleep poorly, even becoming depressed. This is because the minerals like magnesium, calcium and potassium that our nervous systems need in order to function properly are alkaline minerals and, in the absence of an abundance of alkaline foods, the body uses these minerals to neutralize excess acid. (** see note below)
The reason that acidosis is quite common in our society and that we seldom see anyone whose body is too alkaline is that our traditional western diet is very acidic.
When you look at a list of acid producing foods, most of them are the foods we love to eat: meats, eggs, white flour, sugar, soft drinks and fried foods. In addition, artificial sweeteners like Sweet 'N Low, Equal, Nutra Sweet, or Aspartame are very acid forming. The over the counter and prescription drugs we take can also add to the creation of an excessively acidic internal environment in our bodies.
So what can we do to correct acidosis and repair our health?
Well, as much as we may want a pill that we can just take and make it go away, the best way to make our body more alkaline is to change the way we eat.
I know, it's the last thing we really want to hear isn't it? Unfortunately it's what works.
Most vegetables and fruits are alkaline foods. Alkaline foods are those that are alkaline forming in the body, regardless of whether they taste acidic or not.
Increasing our consumption of fruits and vegetables and cutting down on fried foods, white flour and sugars in our diet is a huge leap forward in the effort to attaining a more alkaline body.
Many natural health practitioners will say that an ideal diet consists of eating 60% alkaline forming foods and 40% acid forming foods. If you are ill, or tests show you are highly acidic, a diet of 80% alkaline foods and 20% acidic foods is recommended. Edgar Cayce actually recommended eating an 80%/20% ratio most of the time.
So how do you test your own body pH?
First of all, you may not even need to test your pH level. If you are tired a lot, have any of the symptoms mentioned above or eat a less than healthy diet, you body pH is probably too acidic.
If you do want to test for pH balance you can purchase litmus strips in pretty much any pharmacy. Litmus strips test the acid alkaline balance of the urine. Simply hold the strip in the stream of urine for a few moments (instructions will be on the box). The paper will change color after a minute or so. Just check the color against the chart on the box to see what your number is. That number will be the pH level of your urine.
The optimum pH level is 7.0. At 6.5 and under, your urine is acidic, at 7.5 and over it is alkaline.
The most important thing to know about body pH and acidosis is that it is usually easily remedied by making simple changes to your diet. The links below will lead you to the information you need to achieve a healthy body ph level.
** From "The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health" by Christopher Vasey, N.D. Healing Arts Press
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