Do you often hear the phrase 'too acidic' nowadays? Many are attributing all sorts of disease to excessive acidity within the body and we're inundated with products and methods to alkalize our bodies. But did you know that you could become too alkaline? Too much alkalinity is as bad as for you as too much acidity. Here's why..
The pH level indicates how acidic or alkaline something is. And, the pH scale ranges between 1 and 14 where 1 is regarded as too acidic, 7 as neutral and 14 as too alkaline.
Each part of our body has a certain pH level that it needs to maintain so that the whole body remains in a state of homeostasis. For example, the pH of our gastric secretion should be very acidic, ranging between 1 and 3.5, while that of our small intestine is slightly alkaline, ranging between 7.5 and 8.
The phrase ‘acidic body’ is used to refer to the pH of the blood, which is normally slightly alkaline and maintained within a narrow range between 7.35 and 7.45. Anything below 7.35 is considered too acidic and according to medical texts a pH less than 6.8 may lead to death, while anything above 7.45 is too alkaline and a pH more than 7.8 may lead to death. Both cases, whether being too alkaline or too acidic, come with a set of diseases.
When our body is too alkaline, we don’t absorb calcium* efficiently and it doesn’t deposit in
the bones. Instead, the calcium deposits in other parts of the body where it shouldn’t be such as the joints, on top of the bones and inside soft tissues (think kidney stones). Also, we won’t be able to absorb other important minerals such as potassium. Potassium deficiency leads to sugar cravings, low blood sugar, and cramps, especially in the calves. It also creates a feeling of unease and may cause acid reflux.
* Calcium needs an acidic medium to be effectively absorbed, i.e. a stomach acid that ranges between 1.5 and 3.5
Signs of being too alkaline:
üLow serum potassium
üLow serum calcium*
üKidney or gallstones
üLow thyroid function**
üLow serum CO2
üPlaque build-up on top of the teeth
*Calcium supplementation will only make things worse as it will accumulate outside the bones due poor absorption and further increase the body’s alkalinity. It is best to work on enhancing the proper absorption of calcium rather than supplementing. Vitamins D and K2, silica and magnesium (I prefer using magnesium oil) are a good start.
**Thyroid hormones directly influence calcium absorption in the digestive system and having a hypo-thyroid can inhibit calcium metabolism. The thyroid won’t function properly without adequate amounts of iodine, zinc, selenium, and vitamin D so make sure you’re not deficient in any of them.
üDrinking too much water, which may deplete your reserves of electrolytes
üDrinking alkaline water for long periods of time
ü Intake of diuretics
üLow stomach acid
üIntake of anti-acids
*Contrary to the common belief that it makes the body too acidic, stress actually makes the body too alkaline. When we feel stressed, our body will automatically switch to the sympathetic (fight or flight) mode. That is, less amount of blood is going to be sent to the stomach and the rest will be diverted to other parts of the body such as the heart and brain. Less amount of blood in the stomach means that smaller amounts of stomach acid are going to be excreted and consequently we’ll become too alkaline.
In the short term, we can resort to things such as sparkling water or apple cider vinegar. The sparkling water will raise the blood’s carbon dioxide (CO2) and therefore its acidity level. As for the apple cider vinegar, it will help to slightly acidify the body due to its content of potassium and other minerals and vitamins.
However, both sparkling water and apple cider vinegar are like slapping a bandage on a wound because they won't address the underlying root cause of the problem.
We can’t really address a state of alkalosis unless we make sure we produce enough stomach acid because without adequate amounts we won’t be able to break down food or absorb nutrients no matter how much supplements we take. The good bacteria in our gut, which accounts for around 80% of our immune system can only thrive and flourish in the presence of adequate amounts of stomach acid with a pH ranging between 1 and 3.5, while the bad bacteria and pathogens will take over in an alkaline environment.
There are a number of reasons why people end up without adequate amounts of stomach acid. One of the main reasons is the excessive use of antibiotics, which kill the good bacteria and pave the way for the pathogens to take control of the gut. A 2013 study found that 66% of the people with Graves’ disease and 37.7% of the people with Hashimoto’s were actually infected with Helicobacter Pylori, a parasite that is known for its role in depleting the stomach acid, as well as causing stomach ulcers.
Studies show that H. Pylori could be safely eliminated with mastic gum. And, I know people who were able to completely get rid of H. Pylori by taking mastic gum, triphala and cat’s claw for three months. Moreover, DGL or deglycyrrhizinated licorice was scientifically proven to help soothe the stomach lining, heal ulcers and prevent their recurrence.
Another reason for low stomach acid is the use of antacids, which tend to raise the stomach acid’s pH to around 5. In almost all cases, acid reflux is actually a result of low stomach not too much stomach acid. So it should be addressed. I have written a whole article on acid reflux and ways to check whether you have enough amounts or not. One of the best books explaining the benefits of stomach acid is ‘Why stomach acid is good for you’ by Doctor Jonathan V. Wright.
Besides looking into the other underlying causes such as stress, people who are too alkaline will do better on a Paleo, GAPS or Keto diet (depending on their health condition) rather than on a vegan diet as besides containing adequate amounts of gut healing healthy fats, they all include proteins such as eggs, beef and chicken (preferably organic), which are a bit acidifying.
Signs we’re too acidic:
üCan’t hold breath
üRepetitive sighing and grasping for air
üWeakness in muscles
üSleepy but wired
üDiabetes Type 2
üIncreased heart rate
üFrequent episodes of flu
üLow intake of vegetables
üJunk food and sugar
üKetosis from increased intake of proteins
Blood tests to assess toxic overload, parasitic, fungal and bacterial overgrowth, blood sugar levels, as well as other tests to determine the root cause of acidity is important. People who are too acidic will do better on diets that mainly focus on alkalizing foods such as green juices, vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds while eliminating acidifying foods such as sugar, grains, vegetable oils such as canola, corn, sunflower, etc...,processed meats, MSG, artificial sweeteners and conventionally raised meat and dairy.
1) The first and most important thing is to stop burdening our body with more toxins. It is already suffering from the existing toxic load. Stop eating all processed foods, hydrogenated fats, vegetable oil such as canola (there’s no plant called canola), corn and sunflower, sugar, wheat, preservatives, artificial and natural food colorings and eat more greens, healthy fats such as coconut oil and avocados, nuts, fruits and wild caught fish, as well as organic grass-fed meat.
2) Our skin is the biggest organ in our body. Anything we put on it bypasses the immune system and detoxifying organs and directly absorbs into the blood stream. Read the ingredients' lists on your lotions, shampoos, etc. and get rid of everything that contains chemicals and ‘natural’ fragrances. Look for products that contain natural essential oils. Also, don’t use any antibacterial soaps, they kill the good bacteria that lives on our skin, which is our immune system’s first line of defense.
3) Make sure you have enough stomach acid. There are two widely used methods that can help you determine your stomach acid levels.
- The Heidelberg test, which is a bit costly, but considered the golden standard test.
-The baking soda test, which is less accurate, although used by many naturopathic doctors as a cheaper alternative. Upon waking up in the morning, stir ¼ teaspoon of baking soda in ½ a glass of water and drink it first thing. You should burp in two to five minutes maximum, if not, then it’s an indication you have low stomach acid. Do the test for three consecutive days to get a general pattern.
4) Detox your body. However, before attempting to do any detox, especially a heavy metals detox, make sure the toxins are going to find a way out of your body when they are mobilized from your organs or else they will resettle inside your body and cause more harm than good.
- Opt for a colon cleanse and make sure you have at least two bowel movements a day.
- Support your liver with cleansing herbs such as milk thistle and don’t forget to sweat whether in a sauna or under the sun or by doing moderate exercise.
- Add 2 to 3 drops of lemon essential oil to your water to help detox your kidneys.
- Rebounding is excellent for your lymphatic system so get your mini trampoline ready for a ten minute jump every day. One more thing, try to earth as much as you can.
5) “All disease begins in the gut,” says Hippocrates. Begin healing your gut with healthy fats, anti-inflammatory foods and supplements such as:
- Fermented foods, if well tolerated.
- Cod Liver Oil (Buy here).
- Colostrum (Buy here).
6) Repopulate your gut with good bacteria. Start by taking a well trusted brand of probiotics that contains at least 25 billion CFU per serving. DON'T forget to feed those friendly bugs! The good bacteria needs food to thrive and flourish just as you do. Make sure to consume enough prebiotics such acacia gum, chicory root, raw leeks, raw garlic, raw and cooked onions, dandelion greens, unripe bananas and Jerusalem artichokes.
7) Make sure to check your minerals and vitamins for deficiencies or insufficiencies and compensate for any.
About the writer:
Basma is a Certified Health Coach who became interested in all subjects related to health after losing her father, as well as other beloved family members to cancer; then finding herself and her husband faced with several health issues that conventional medicine failed to solve. Read more about Basma here.
Disclaimer: This ebook is for educational purposes only. The content of this ebook is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician.