The Importance of the Acid – Alkaline Balance

Your body is a complex system that needs to strike a delicate balance between acidity and alkalinity in order to not only survive, but to thrive. The proper acid/alkaline balance varies slightly from person to person, but it is generally agreed by experts that the magic pH number for optimal health should be around 7.4. If the pH level drops below that number you have entered a state of acidity and you open yourself up to a host of health problems, conditions, and diseases.

While some aspects of your acidity or alkalinity is out of your control due to the finite amount of alkaline material with which you were born, personal choices that you make on a day to day basis can play an even larger role in your overall health. For instance, decisions about whether or not to consume alcohol or tobacco products impact the alkaline balance because these products are very acidic. The human body has stores of minerals upon which it draws for alkaline material on an as-needed basis if it cannot obtain them through diet. The amount varies from person to person and is determined based on heredity. They are sodium, calcium, potassium and magnesium.

The Cause of Disease

Have you ever wondered if many of the diseases raging through our society have a common cause? Many doctors, herbalists and nutritionists believe that the explanation may come down to three words: acid/alkaline imbalance.

Over-acidity is very common today. It’s a dangerous condition that weakens all body systems. It gives rise to an internal environment conducive to disease, as opposed to a pH-balanced environment which allows normal body function necessary for the body to resist disease. A healthy body maintains adequate alkaline reserves to meet emergency demands. When excess acids must be neutralized, our alkaline reserves are depleted leaving the body in a weakened condition. An acid/alkaline balanced diet, according to many experts, is a vital key to health maintenance.

The concept of acid alkaline imbalance as the cause of disease is not new. In 1933 a New York doctor named William Howard Hay published a ground-breaking book, A New Health Era in which he maintains that all disease is caused by autointoxication (or self-poisoning) due to acid accumulation in the body.

Most people who suffer from unbalanced pH are acidic. This condition forces the body to borrow minerals – including calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium – from vital organs and bones to buffer (neutralize) the acid and safely remove it from the body. Because of this strain, the body can suffer severe and prolonged damage due to high acidity – a condition that may go undetected for years.

A recent seven-year study conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, on 9,000 women showed that those who have chronic acidosis are at greater risk for bone loss than those who have a normal pH levels. The scientists who carried out this experiment believe that many of the hip fractures prevalent among middle-aged women are connected to high acidity caused by a diet rich in animal foods and low in vegetables. This is because the body borrows calcium from the bones in order to balance pH. (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition)

It is important that you take time for exercise and better food choices for optimal acid/alkaline balance.

We all want to live healthier, more vibrant lives. But, because our busy lives demand so much of us we tend to skip exercise and make poor dietary choices and our health suffers as a result. As our pH becomes more and more unbalanced, we tend to crave more acid-forming foods. It’s a vicious cycle that saps energy, depletes minerals and nutrients, and causes a multitude of potentially life-threatening conditions and diseases. Research has shown acidic pH levels to be chief causes of obesity, migraine headaches, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, and even cancer.

When the body is overly acidic your metabolism rate can slow down, and it can even become difficult for your digestive system to break down fatty acids. When this happens, the brain and central nervous system cannot properly function. Over time, you can develop severe neurological problems such as depression, bipolar disorder, and other more severe mental problems. Multiple Sclerosis and Parkinson’s Disease have also been linked to not maintaining a healthy balance of alkalinity.

Signs and symptoms of acidity.

Sunken eyes, bad breath, water retention, and foul-smelling stools are some of the more prominent signs and symptoms that your body is too acidic. Some other warning signs are rheumatoid arthritis, alternating constipation and diarrhea, and excessively low blood pressure.

When your balance of acid and alkalinity is off your body will try to compensate by producing extra mucous. It will surround the toxins present in your body in an effort to isolate and eliminate them.

To continue living, our bodies must continually regenerate cells. A healthy cell cannot be acidic and properly regenerate. A cancerous cell must be acidic. If your body is in a constant state of over-acidification it becomes impossible for healthy cells to regenerate. Cancer cells will thrive in this overly acidic environment. By taking action to become more alkaline, you can help make it more difficult for cancer cells to regenerate. So as these cells die, they will be replaced with new healthy cells.

What happens to us when there is an imbalance?

When your body doesn’t have enough alkalinity, it will draw it from other organs in order to move into a state of balance. If sufficient alkaline material is not present this can’t happen. When this process is interrupted healthy cells begin to die prematurely. There are steps that can be taken to reverse some of these problems and tip the pH scale back in your favor. It’s imperative to your health that you consume more alkaline-forming foods. The process is relatively simple. It does, however, require a radical change in thinking and a commitment to healthier living.

You should strive for about 80 percent of your food intake to be
alkaline-forming and 20 percent to be acid-forming. Because all meats have a pH of less than 7 they are by their very nature acid-forming and consumption of these products should be minimized. Other foods such as pastas, breads, all dairy products, red sauces (such as those used in pasta dishes), chocolate and refined sugars also fall into the category of acid-forming.

Most of the body’s fluids, such as the blood, saliva, bile, and even urine, function best when they are alkaline. When the alkalinity level falls, the efficiency of the affected organs is compromised. When your body enters a state of acidity the lungs, kidneys, intestines, liver, and skin must work harder.

Your outlook and thoughts play a part as well.

Another factor that plays a major role in the acidity of our bodies is our personal thought lives. We’ve all seen the negative consequences wrought on others by someone with an acid tongue. Imagine the negative consequences that internalization of negative thoughts can have on our own bodies! The good news is that this is fairly easy to fix through prayer, yoga, or meditation. Not only will you feel better, your alkalinity will increase, and you’ll be more pleasant to be around.


Heredity plays a role in how much natural alkalinity we have. We’re all born with a certain level of alkaline reserves and the body draws from that balance whenever necessary.

You can change the balance!

It is important to introduce alkaline-forming foods into the diet. Many fresh and raw vegetables, salad greens, seeds and nuts can fill out your menu of alkaline-forming foods and are a tasty path to healthier living. If you can, choose organic fruits and vegetables.

Improving your diet, avoiding alcoholic beverages, not smoking, and getting enough rest are good ways to help bring your body into the proper balance of acid and alkalinity. None of these measures will result in a perfect pH balance overnight. However, taking action now in just a few of these areas will have a dramatically positive impact on your health and your overall sense of well-being. You’ll look better, you’ll feel better, and you’ll be better positioned to live a longer, healthier life regardless of the cards that Mother Nature dealt you.