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acid alkaline scale

The Acid / Alkaline Myth - Does Dis-Ease Only Exist in an Acidic Body?

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Your “P.h.” is a balance between acid (1 on a scale of 1-14) and alkaline (14 on the same scale).  Your blood is almost perfectly neutral at 7.2.  For years, the thought on Ph in natural-health circles was that you want your body to be as alkaline as possible.  “Cancer only exists in an alkaline body” was the motto.  

What most people (myself included) didn’t take into account that your Ph is different in different parts of your body.  Your saliva Ph is closest to blood Ph, but your digestive system Ph is extremely acid (between 1 – 3) to be able to digest your food and kill bacteria and other immune system invaders.     

Changes in Ph mostly occur in your digestive and endocrine systems. 

For example, eating solely alkaline foods (vegetables) may make you too alkaline.  Other culprits in alkalosis (too alkaline) could be excessive carbohydrate intake; adrenal fatigue or hypothyroid problems; mental stress; or fluid loss (diarrhea, heavy periods, vomiting, etc.).  

If you’re too alkaline, your body will have a hard time absorbing calcium.

As a result, even with sufficient intake of calcium, you may end up with tight, cramping muscles and nerve pains. 

You could also feel crawling or burning sensations on the skin.  You’ll probably feel worse (more fatigue, more bloating or indigestion) after eating.    

Hyperacidity is just as common but with slightly different symptoms. 

A system that’s too acid often feels like you’re deprived of oxygen, making it hard to breathe, especially in high elevations; dehydration (no sweating, dry mouth, less urination and “dry” bowel movements); or hyper-irritability symptoms like insomnia, cold sweats, fast heart rate. 

Things that can lead to acidosis (high acid) include Kidney overload (possibly from stress and adrenal fatigue); Liver insufficiency; not eating enough vegetables or eating too much carbs or meats (acidic foods); and starvation.   

What we find is that some people need to alkalize and some people need to acidify.


Liver sluggishness or poor choices of fats and oils (hydrogenated vegetable oils, margarine, Crisco, fried food, etc.) can lead to acid imbalances.  A diet that includes healthy fats and oils will stay balanced, as long as they’re high-quality oils and your Liver is working good.

Eating more leafy greens is essential for reducing acidosis as well.  Your Liver loves the bitter taste of greens!   

In TCM, your Liver reacts closely to stress as well.  Many times, I see patients with a healthy diet, not heavy drinkers, with Liver (or Gall Bladder, the Liver's Yang partner) issues brought on by stress alone.  


Phosphorus stabilizes both conditions as it balances an overactive parasympathetic nervous system (too much gastric acid released) and it also combats calcium carbonate formation found in alkalosis.  

An easy-to-find and use phosphorus solution is Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.  

Just take 1 tablespoon once or twice per day.  You can dilute it in water if you want to, or add a touch of honey to mellow out the flavor.    


I never recommend anyone avoids using salt:  sodium restrictive diets or even loss of sodium from excessive sweating (hello, summer in Texas!) can be an underlying cause of acidosis.  I do recommend you avoid table (iodized) salt and prepackaged foods that contain iodized salt, but instead use sea salt (kosher salt or pink salt or grey salt are also great).


The number one reason for under-acidity of your gut (alkalosis) is stress.  Your stomach produces hydrochloric acid when you eat, and stress puts a damper on this action.  

The resulting heartburn, burping, and reflux are then – unfortunately – treated with acid-reducing pills ("proton-pump inhibitors" or antacids).  

If you reduce acid in an already under-acid environment, your body won’t heal.  The underlying condition worsens over time, making it harder to break the anti-acid habit.  In fact, usually your need for it goes up over time.  

Many people take antacids for the immediate relief, which I get. 

But what's going on underneath the surface is a little different.  Most (maybe 90%) of the cases of acid reflux or heartburn stem from an under-acid condition.  The sensation of increased acid happens when you eat food on a low-acid stomach.  The food then sits there fermenting, rotting, which produces the horrible pressure and burning sensation in your epigastrium that you associate with reflux.  

The problem with taking anti-acid medications (even Tums and other over-the-counters) is that (1) the underlying hypo-acid condition worsens leading to more illness and (2) when you take them, your absorption of calcium, B12, and iron goes way down.  This is problematic.  

The best solutions:  temporarily taking a hydrochloric acid supplement and reducing stress, especially around meal times.  Shut off the laptop and the TV and just focus on enjoying your food.  

So, maybe you need more acid and maybe you need more alkalinity:  it varies throughout your life and from person to person.    

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