|We are beginning to realise the importance of maintaining a healthy acid/alkali balance in the body – this is also known as pH balance. To be healthy we all have to guard against allowing our tissue acid levels to rise. This is different from feeling acidity on your chest, in the upper part of your digestive tract, or experiencing acid reflux and I will talk about that later.
Body pH is about the acid or alkali that your foods produce at the very end of the digestive process, which can take a few hours. We call all foods either acid or alkali- forming. We find acids and alkalis everywhere in every day life and they are essential to life, but they have to balance each other out. Strong acids are harmful and can kill, while alkalis at the other end of the scale can do the same, but they react with each other and neutralise each other. Each part of our body has an optimum pH level with blood being the most alkaline and the gut being the most acidic. Our natural survival mechanisms in the body will always fight to keep us alive and that means that the blood pH will be maintained at all costs.
Just a further bit of interesting information – bacteria thrive in an acid medium while alkalis will kill them off. For example, we need bacteria to break down our compost heaps, so the compost heap is very acidic to encourage the process. When we add it to soil we call it acid soil. Conversely, if we want to kill diseases and bacteria when the soil is too acidic we add alkaline minerals, like calcium, magnesium, sulphur or ash from burnings. Ash is always full of minerals and it is a measurement we can apply to the body – we sometimes refer to some foods as alkali-ash-forming foods.
So we can see that if we become too acidic we are in danger of harbouring nasty bacteria and this can lead to all sorts of problems, mainly stressing our immune system and weakening it. This situation allows in pathogens from the environment that are very harmful and our ability to fight them off is weakened.
The other problem that occurs when we’re too acidic is the disruption of something called zeta potential. Don’t get too concerned about this scientific term, but it basically refers to the charges on the surface of particles that are suspended in liquid and their ability to stay separate. This needs a very stable neutral pH and when it goes one way or the other the particles react. Most commonly we tend to become too acidic and this makes the particles react by sticking together. Looking at live blood under a microscope can show us this process very clearly. Here are two pictures to demonstrate this.
This picture shows more or less normal blood – the glowing circles are the red blood cells, and they are separate from each other as they should be. That means the charges on the surface of the cells are in balance so everything else should also be in balance.
On the other hand, here is a picture where the red blood cells are sticking together. When this happens it means that other cells in the body are also sticky and this will interfere with their functioning. The blood won’t be able to circulate properly and oxygen will not get through to the red blood cells. This results in under-oxygenation of the whole system, leading to oxidative stress, inflammation and illness.
Apart from that, acidity also causes calcium residues to mix with fats to form ‘crystals’ in the blood, which can block blood vessels. This situation leads to ill health of all descriptions.
So what causes high tissue acidity?
In this polluted, unnatural world we live in today our bodies have a big battle on their hands to maintain the correct pH. We are being bombarded every day by agents that make us acidic – denatured foods, too much protein, fat, sugar and refined grains in our diet, toxins in our food, water and in the air, electromagnetic stress from power lines, wireless signals etc., chemicals and drugs, and last but not least, stress, stress, stress.
What to do about it?
Fortunately there is tons of help out there. Basically we need to counteract the acids and there are two ways to do it – by addressing what we eat and take a look at our lifestyle and stress.
Acid Reflux or Heartburn
Acid reflux or heartburn is a condition that occurs when something is wrong in the upper digestive tract, i.e. stomach or oesophagus (the tube down which the food passes from mouth to stomach). It can occur for several reasons.
See the PDF document Acid/Alkali forming foods.