One of the sayings in natural medicine is ‘a healthy body is an alkaline body.’ While the general principle can be true, some people take it to the extreme. Not only do they eat mostly alkaline food, they drink alkaline water and even take baking soda. They forget that different parts of the body have varying levels of pH. One of the first places food goes is the stomach. It needs to be highly acidic to digest protein. If you make it less acidic by drinking highly alkaline water, you will have serious problems with digestion that can lead to leaky gut and autoimmune disease.

The scale for pH goes from 0 to 14. The scale measures the degree of acidity and alkalinity. A pH of 7 is neutral. Less than 7 is acidic and greater than 7 is alkaline (or base). It is a logarithmic scale which means a change from 7 to 8 is not an increase of one–it is an increase of ten times! So going from 7 to 9 is an increase of 100 times more alkaline (not twice).

Dr. Carolyn Dean in her book, The Magnesium Miracle, explains “Stomach activity is vital for proper protein digestion, helps theĀ  absorption of minerals from our food, and kills unwanted organisms (parasites, bacteria, yeast, fungi, and viruses) that find their way into our food and water. I have concerns about the practice of using baking soda to manipulate internal pH. When you drink baking soda in water, you are neutralizing stomach acids–much like an antacid. Incomplete digestion of food molecules turns them into fodder for yeast and intestinal bacteria, leading to dysbiosis and leaky gut…excessive alkalinity in the stomach first reduces stomach acidity and then causes a rebound reaction, with the production of more gastric acid to maintain the proper acidic stomach pH. This increased stomach acid production requires more magnesium, which it pulls away from other functions.”

The most important pH is the pH of our blood. That pH stays within an extremely tight range. You can only measure it accurately with an arterial blood sample which isn’t something you can do at home. Urine and saliva pH testing bounce around every time you eat or drink so they don’t give a reliable indication of what is happening consistently within your body. Instead of becoming obsessive about pH testing and trying to adjust your diet and supplements to balance the teeter-totter results, just eat lots of vegetables, eliminate or limit processed foods and sodas, make sure you are taking good plant-based vitamins and minerals and sugar nutrients. Do not drink distilled water which has no minerals and will pull minerals from your body. Do not use artificially created alkaline water–the GMO of water. For more information on water, plant-based vitamins, minerals and sugar nutrients, see my book, There’s An Elephant in the Room–Exposing Hidden Truths in the Science of Health. Rest assured the body knows how to balance the proper pH in the different parts of the body given the proper raw ingredients.

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