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Getting the Balance Right

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Regulating our body’s pH or acid:alkaline levels is essential to good health.

pH regulation is possibly one of the most under-estimated and misunderstood issues in our physiology, yet it is fundamental to every aspect of human health. You may be familiar with statements like “it’s important to alkalise your body” or “acidity is the cause of cancer”. While these statements are correct, there is more to it than simply alkalising everything.

ist1_5662140-assorted-vegetablesOur ancestors ate a predominantly alkaline diet of mineral-rich plant foods. Today, however, many diets typically contain high amounts of acid-forming animal protein, sugar, grains and highly processed foods and low quantities of alkalising vegetables.  This typically “Western Diet” disturbs our body’s acid-alkaline balance.

While it is fair to say that our body should be alkaline, we do need good levels of acid in our stomach in the form of hydrochloric acid or HCl.  The pH of the stomach should ideally be around 2 to 2.5.  Drinking alkaline water may neutralise essential stomach acid, impairing digestion and leading to damage in the gastrointestinal tract.

Key benefits of alkalising minerals include:

  • Optimal enzyme function and energy production
  • Muscle, bone, joint and connective tissue health – latent acidity weakens the body’s connective tissue, leading to musculoskeletal damage and pain
  • Detoxification and liver health – high dietary acid load affects liver & kidney function and reduces detoxification processes in the body
  • Confirmed improvement of key metabolic markers – high protein diets and aging are a prime cause of latent acidity which affects many aspects of our metabolism
  • Pain regulation – acid states are linked to more intense pain responses in nerves and tissue
  • Improved stress response – pH balance improves the body’s stress hormone regulation

As we age, we also lose our ability to cope efficiently with an excessive acid load. This can contribute to chronic health issues such as bone density loss, detoxification problems, loss of muscle mass and fatigue.  When we become chronically acidic, it is termed latent acidosis.

Optimal enzyme function and energy production

Over 7000 metabolic processes in the body depend on enzymes. Enzymes are crucial for all cellular energy production, detoxification, cell building/repair and every aspect of metabolism.

Enzyme activity is affected by several factors, most importantly by pH. Each type of enzyme has its own specific optimum pH conditions under which it works best.  Changes in this pH denatures these critical enzymes, halting important metabolic processes which may lead to symptoms such as fatigue, metabolic dysfunction, poor detoxification and under-methylation.

Alkalising minerals promote optimal enzyme function and supply the nutrients and co-factors needed for healthy nervous system and muscle function, as well as proper metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins and fats in the body. The net result is improved energy and enhanced general well-being.

Muscles, bones and tendons

backpainConnective tissue is comprised of structural proteins including collagen and elastin. The structural components attract water, greatly contributing to its elasticity, flexibility and resilience.  In latent acidosis, however, the water-bonding capacity is diminished, reducing flexibility and nutrition.  This leaves the connective tissue susceptible to wear and tear, weakness, damage and degeneration.  Just consider intervertebral discs and joints.

Research suggests that supplying the body with alkaline minerals may result in regeneration of connective tissue with markedly reduced pain.

Key metabolic factors

Diets high in animal protein may be of benefit, however, they may also increase metabolic acidosis. In particular, periods of high protein consumption such as during “health challenges” often undertaken in gyms and fitness centres, can cause considerable over-acidification of the body leading to pain, inflammation, tissue damage and metabolic disorders.

Pain regulation

Many chronic or inflammatory conditions are accompanied by local tissue acidosis. This acidic states often increases pain responses.  By promoting healthy acid-alkaline balance in the body, the pain may be improved considerably.

pH and Detoxification and Liver health

Efficient clearance of toxins from our tissues is critical to clearing these toxins from our body. Toxins excreted by cells must travel through the matrix and lymphatic system in order to be eliminated from the body.  Latent acidity has the effect of reducing fluidity in the matrix and lymphatic system, making it difficult for toxins to drain away from tissues for elimination.  So, not only is the tissue compromised due to acidity, but also due to build-up of toxins.

As the liver is our major detoxification organ, it is essential that its pH is regulated to enable proper functioning. A recent study showed that an acid-forming diet was associated with higher incidence of liver dysfunction and raised liver enzymes.

Latent acidity also puts an enormous strain on the kidneys, not only compromising excretion of toxins via the urine but also increasing loss of essential minerals.

Dieting and intermittent fasting may also increase the acid load on the body, which may ultimately impair metabolic function. Studies also suggest that predominantly alkaline diets favour lean muscle mass in adults and may help maintain lean muscle mass as we age.  Fasting, intermittent fasting, strenuous exercise and fad diets may all be beneficially supported by supplementing with quality alkaline minerals.

Stress and acidity

Recent studies have revealed acid-base imbalance or latent acidity is associated with increased levels of circulating adrenal hormones, which can increase stress activity. In addition, it has been shown that lowering the acid load of the body may reduce the levels of circulating cortisol.  Alkalising minerals may be of benefit to the overall stress response of our body.

Furthermore, alkalising minerals may also be beneficial in maintaining healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels.

For a personal assessment and advice on regulating pH levels in your body, contact True Medicine on 07 5530 1863.