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Sun, February 1, 2009
21st Century Medicine: The Miracle of pH Balance
Let’s Take a Look at Our Health Care System Today

America’s health is failing. We spend far more per capita on health care than any other society in the world. The average is a lifetime expenditure of $225,000 per United States citizen.1 In spite of this spending, there are a number of alarming statistics regarding our health:2
  • 70% of the total health care costs in the Unites States are for chronic degenerative conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, 80% of which are preventable and/or reversible by changing diet and lifestyle.
  • 50% of all people in the United States develop heart disease.
  • 33% develop cancer.
  • 10% have diabetes.
  • 74% are overweight.
  • Half take a prescription drug.
  • Children born after 2000 make up the first generation in United States history whose life expectancy is shorter than their parents’.
There are a number of factors that contribute to Americans’ poor health, but one that is often overlooked is the increasing overacidification of our bodies. The advances of 21st-century microbiology have allowed us to understand that there is a correlation between chronic disease and pH balance in the body.

What Is pH Balance?

pH stands for the potential presence of hydrogen. It indicates the speed at which energy moves through the body. The body is alkaline by design with a normal blood pH of 7.35 to 7.45. (On the pH scale of 1 to 14, 7 is neutral, anything above 7 is alkaline, and anything below 7 is acidic.) The optimal zone for saliva is 6.75 to 7.25. However, the body is acidic by function. Every metabolic process that the body undergoes produces acidity. The body creates acids at the cellular level.

Cells have a positive electrical charge on the inside (acid) and a negative electrical charge on the outside (alkaline). Once the negative charges of cells are stripped away, cells begin to stick together like glue, and this can cause health problems. The fluids surrounding your cells must be alkaline (a pH of 7.4) in order to maintain the negative electrical charge on the outside of your cells.

Keeping the fluids of the body alkaline is essential to balancing the 75 trillion cells that make up the body. Over 65% (11–16 gallons) of body weight is made up of intracellular and extracellular fluid. These fluids must remain alkaline if the cells are to remain healthy.

While the body can survive being too acidic for a short period of time, it was not designed to withstand long periods of pH imbalance. If it is constantly forced to compensate for acidity, then its alkaline mineral reserves will become depleted. This happens because the body will go to great lengths to neutralize acids before they are in a position to act as poisons in and around the cells. It does this by stripping minerals—primarily sodium, calcium, magnesium, and potassium—from the organs. This creates stress on cells, tissues, bones, and organs, and can lead to mineral deficiencies and diseases such as osteoporosis, where calcium has been taken from the bones.

In this situation, the body is vulnerable to a whole host of health problems. Chronic acidification will interrupt all cellular activities and functions—it interferes with life itself. Contributing factors to the acidification of the body are stress, exercise, negative emotions, coffee, pop, meats, some grains, dairy, and processed foods. However, balancing the pH in the body is something within our control, and we can slow and in some cases reverse illness by changing our diet and lifestyle. Factors that help alkalinize the body include rest, prayer/meditation, laughter, fruits, vegetables, and millet.

What Causes Acidity?

The body becomes overly acidic primarily as a result of three things: the ingestion of acids, the creation of acids, and the improper elimination of acids.

Ingestion of Acids

Acidifying foods like processed sugar, meat, dairy, coffee, and alcohol all lower the pH of the body. An overload of these acids can overwhelm the body’s ability to neutralize them. When we metabolize food, it leaves either an acidic ash or an alkaline ash. The more acidic the ash, the greater the inflammation in the body. Inflammation is now considered one of the root causes of disease. Of greatest concern is the stress that it places on the immune system. That is why the standard American diet creates major havoc in the body, and why we are seeing horrendous immune system breakdowns.

In simple terms, this stress is related to why we are seeing a rise in the incidence of autoimmune diseases, such as type 1 diabetes, as well as earlier onset of such diseases. In type 1 diabetes, cells of the pancreas become harmed and cannot produce the insulin needed. When this same inflammation occurs in the digestive tract, nutrients cannot be absorbed.

This nutrient deficiency is a big part of all chronic diseases. Cancer too proliferates in an acidic environment. When inflammation occurs along individual cell membranes, nutrients cannot pass into the cell and toxins cannot get out. This creates an environment that promotes cancer. There are now treatment centers that are correcting the acid/alkali balance as a part of cancer treatment.

Early heart disease also has more to do with inflammation than cholesterol. You can actually have normal cholesterol and still have significant heart disease. The body makes cholesterol because we need it, so the concern is not the cholesterol in and of itself, but whether it becomes oxidized in an acidic body.

Creation of Acids

When cells perform their task of respiration, they secrete metabolic wastes that are acidic. In addition, microforms such as anaerobic bacteria, yeast, and fungi proliferate when the body becomes acidic. These pathogens and microforms also create acidifying toxins in the body by stealing nutrients and feeding on them and thus contributing to even further acidification.

As toxins build up they cause additional stress and activate the emergency mechanisms in the body to compensate for toxicity. A good example of this is weight gain. Fat is an excellent binding agent. The body will use fat when necessary to bind and store toxins.
Weight problems are the result of more than just metabolic issues. They really result from overacidification.

Improper Elimination of Acids

Not all acids are the same; some are weak and some are strong. Weak acids like citric acid are much easier to neutralize than strong acids like uric acid. When the body’s buffering system becomes depleted or compromised, acids begin to build up. As this happens, the acids damage all systems within the body. Waste, which is the end product of cellular metabolism, must not be allowed to build up.

The Harmful Effects of Acidity

The body will always strive to keep the organs, blood, fluids, and tissues functioning properly. In order to do that effectively, each part of the body must operate in its optimal pH range. When the body is overly burdened with trying to compensate for pH imbalances, it suffers immensely, and the excess stress eventually leads to toxicity and illness. Left unchecked, acidification may contribute or directly lead to:
  • Allergies.
  • Arthritis and other autoimmune diseases.
  • Cardiovascular disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Digestive problems.
  • Fungal and yeast infections.
  • Obesity.
Optimum Health Begins with pH Balance: Healing from Within

Acidification can overwhelm the body, so proper pH balance is the foundation of optimal health. When the body is pH balanced, it is full of vitality, increased energy, mental clarity, and skin that has a healthy glow. Simply put, a body in pH balance functions properly and operates optimally. The good news is that if you’ve suffered the negative impact of an overly acidic body, you can regain your health by getting back into balance.

The process of re-establishing pH balance begins with nutrition and lifestyle changes. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains with an overall balance leaning toward 80% alkali and 20% acid creates this healthy environment. (See the sidebar to this article for a partial list of alkaline foods.) Re-balancing also includes increasing water intake; using sea salt; doing an annual detoxifying cleanse; monitoring your pH at home; reducing stress; getting proper sleep; exercising; meditating; and getting plenty of sunshine, fresh air, and laughter.

“Basically, there is not a multitude of diseases, but only one constitutional disease, namely the constant over-acidification of the blood, which disturbs the central regulation of the body, disorienting it, all of which is mainly the result of an inverted way of living and eating.”3                  
Humbart Santillo, N.D.

Some of the most alkaline foods:
Seasonings:    baking soda Fruits: cantaloupe, limes, honey dew melon, nectarines, raspberries, watermelon, tangerine, cucumbers Vegetables: Beans, Legumes    broccoli, green leafy vegetables, garlic, lentils, radishes, kale, onion, parsley, sea vegetables Nuts,  Seeds, Sprouts, Oils: pumpkin seeds, almonds, cod liver oil, poppy seeds, primrose oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, flax oil, sesame seeds, sprouts Grains: oats, quinoa, wild rice Beverages: green tea Sweeteners: molasses Vinegars: apple cider vinegar  
For a more complete list see:
Aihara, H. (1986). Acid & alkaline (5th ed.). Oroville, CA: George Ohsawa Macrobiotic Foundation.
Baroody, T. A. (2001). Alkalize or die (8th ed.). Waynesville, NC: Holographic Health Inc.  
Santillo, H. (2008). ProMetabolics: Your personal guide to transformational health and healing. Carlsbad, CA: Designs for Wellness Press.  


References

1 Katz, D. L. (2008, October). The overall nutritional quality index (ONQI). Presented at the Juice Plus Conference, Memphis, TN.

2 Katz, D. L. (2008, October). The overall nutritional quality index (ONQI). Presented at the Juice Plus Conference, Memphis, TN.

3 Santillo, H. (2008). ProMetabolics: Your personal guide to transformational health and healing (p. 80). Carlsbad, CA: Designs for Wellness Press.

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