There is a lot of information available today on the importance of our body's pH. People are being warned that an acidic body may be a precursor to many disease states including cancer. I sometimes get inquiries from people worried about the pH level of our mineral supplements that do not want to consume anything that is acidic which would be identified as having a pH level of less than 7. The pH scale runs from 1 (very acidic) to 14 (very alkaline) with a measurement of 7 being neutral.
The pH scale is actually measuring the hydrogen content of the solution and is an acronym for the phrase “parts hydrogen”. The more hydrogen in a solution, the more acidic it is. Consequently, it truly only represents each element’s affinity for binding with Hydrogen atoms. The two most significant elements in the pH equation are Sodium (alkaline) and Chloride (acidic). Chloride, which is acidic in nature, is very important within our body for the production of hydrochloric acid, the primary food breakdown solution we make and use in our stomach. Without it, we would have great difficulty in breaking down any food we ate to prepare it for proper digestion.
Now that we know what the pH measurement is all about, how is it important within our body? Starting with our saliva, which is close to neutral (6.5-7.5), whatever we consume then moves into the stomach which contains a hydrochloric acid solution of between 1.5 and 2.0. This solution will effectively break down whatever we eat into a chime, ready for further breakdown by specific enzymes in the small and large intestines. Interestingly, when the stomach chime of a meal passes from the stomach to the small intestine, it slowly increases in pH to approximately neutral.
What is important to recognize here is that whatever you put in your stomach, regardless of its pH, will become very acidic. Consequently, consuming anything measuring alkaline will quickly become acidic. The other important concept is that any alkaline solution contains primarily those elements which have a low affinity to bond with Hydrogen. This then excludes those other elements which have a high affinity to bond with Hydrogen. The bottom line, alkaline water is an imbalanced blend of essential elements. We, in fact, need them all. A fascinating concept to consider is that seawater has a pH of 7 or neutral. It is a balanced solution of all of the essential mineral elements necessary for life.
So what happens when the minerals we consume are absorbed into our bloodstream? Our body continually strives to maintain a blood pH of 7.35 to 7.45 which is only slightly alkaline. It also strives to maintain a mineral balance quite similar to what we find in seawater. Upon leaving the bloodstream, the minerals we consume move into our interstitial tissue, i.e. the collagen matrix, which holds our cells in place. The pH of this tissue is neutral to very slightly alkaline at 7.0-7.4. The last place the minerals that we have ingested end up in is within our cells. A healthy cell should have a slightly alkaline pH of about 7.2-7.4, very comparable to our bloodstream.
Nowhere in the body do we find a pH much higher than about 7.6. Why then should we be consuming water in the pH range of 8-9? We should not be. So, what do we do to maintain the proper pH in all areas of the body? The answer is we must maintain an optimal mineral balance that the different sections of the body can access in order to maintain these different levels and therefore function properly. Nothing else that we consume (sugars, fats, or amino acids) will provide adequate levels of the minerals. It is the different elements that adjust the tissue hydrogen balance that keeps our pH in the appropriate range and so we must be cognizant of what we consume in the way of a good mineral balance.
Science has shown that a body in a state of dis-ease will typically have tissues measuring in an acidic state, i.e. less than 7.0 pH. We are beginning to understand that pH levels within the body must be maintained within close ranges to maintain good states of ease. Some things we can do to maintain a good mineral balance within our tissues…
Most people believe that they are getting adequate mineral intake from their diets. In today’s world, this assumption couldn’t be further from the truth. The primary reason is the excessive processing of our food already grown on minerally depleted soils and the excessive processing of our water which is being exposed to unheard levels of toxins.
Try the following suggestions to increase your mineral intake and reduce your toxic load:
1. Eat as many organically grown unprocessed foods as possible. Better yet, eat bio-dynamically grown foods.
2. Stop or dramatically reduce the consumption of processed food. This includes most foods available in jars, cans, or bags.
3. Avoid refined sugars and salt.
4. Eat sea salt rather than table salt.
5. Do not eat refined grains of any kind.
6. If you drink purified water, you must remineralize it with sea salt. To do so add 1/2 of a level measuring spoon to 1 gallon of water. This includes reverse osmosis and deionized or distilled water.
7. Do a hair mineral analysis test to establish your current mineral state and get direction into establishing and maintaining a healthy mineral balance.
The most important takeaway from this article is that while pH has significance, it pales in comparison to the concept of maintaining a complete and well-balanced composition of all of the minerals in the body which is the most important goal to achieve for optimal health.
In good health,
Rick Wagner, C.N., M.S.