March 5, 2011

026 pH and Your Health [24 August 2009]

One of the keys to good health is maintaining a healthy pH, which is a measure of your body’s acidity or alkalinity.

pH is important to consider when developing your diet and supplementation program because (the wrong) healthy foods can make you sick. If your body is already too acidic and you eat too much acid forming foods – even healthy ones – you will feel worse. Similarly if you are already too alkaline, the healthiest alkaline-forming foods and supplements will make you feel worse instead of better.

While the most accurate measurement of acidity is venous plasma pH, it requires finding a doctor knowledgeable about pH and willing to work with you to improve your health. A good book on the subject to share with your doctor is “BioBalance” by Rudolf A. Wiley, Ph.D.  If that is not possible, a useful indication can be gleaned from testing your saliva and urine at home using pH test strips available at most health food stores. It is important to measure the pH at different times throughout the day and for several days to determine a pattern.

Most people fall on the acidic side but some are alkaline so it is important to learn where you are. There are too many illnesses and conditions associated with pH imbalances to list here and they rarely correlate with pH type. Most if not all physiological processes in the body are significantly affected by pH.

If you find a pH imbalance, what can you do to restore it? First change your diet to include appropriate foods for your type (there many are books with food lists and other useful information). Note that an acid tasting food may have an alkalizing effect (e.g. lemons) as the food can change during digestion. Certain vitamins, minerals and other supplements can help change the body’s pH. Exercise, massage, sauna, deep breathing, and relaxation techniques like yoga can all help to alkalize.

The understanding of pH type explains why certain diets work for some people but not for others. For example the Atkins low-carb diet would be appropriate for acidic people while the Macrobiotic and other high complex carb diets would work well for alkaline types. To me this makes more sense than basing your diet on body type or even blood type.

More on pH types in a future column.

This article is intended for educational purposes only; for medical advice consult your licensed health practitioner.

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