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Sue Reynolds, Master Herbalist
Sue Reynolds, M.S.W.
Lifestyle and Health Coach
Master Herbalist

Updated June 9, 2014
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The information provided on this site is for educational purposes and not for diagnosing or treating disease. If you are experiencing a serious health condition, please consult a qualified health professional.

 
Marshmallow (450 mg)
Healing, Soothing soft tissue repair herb. For stomach, bowel, lungs, urinary tract, joints.

pH Balancing

Listen to an audio tape about the benefits of pH balancing.
Produced by Nature's Sunshine - our herbal manufacturer. (~50 mins.)


Monitor your urine and saliva pH with our Test Strips.

Have you ever wondered if the diseases in our society have a common cause? Many doctors, herbalists, and nutritionists believe that the explanation may come down to two small words:

Acid / Alkaline

High acidity can become a dangerous condition that weakens all major body systems. It makes your internal environment conducive to disease. A pH-balanced environment, on the other hand, allows proper metabolic functioning and gives your body resistance to disease. A healthy body maintains alkaline reserves that are used to meet emergency demands.

pH measures the balance between positively and negatively charged ions in the body fluids, i.e. blood, urine and saliva. A low pH number (below 7) indicates that your body fluid is on the acidic side. A high pH number (above 7) indicates you have alkalinity. A pH of 7.0 is considered neutral; this is the pH of distilled water. This delicate balance can be an important indicator of overall health.

Researchers find that most people are at least slightly "acidic"; their pH is low. If your pH is too acidic, your body borrows minerals - such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and sodium - from vital organs and bones to neutralize and remove the acid. Although high acidity may not be outwardly noticeable, it can severely affect overall health in a negative way. Alkalinity in the body is much more rare, but just as potentially serious. It often takes longer for a person who is "alkaline" to achieve balance than one who is "acidic."

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 cause by autointoxication (or "self-poisoning") due to acid accumulation in the body:

"Now we depart from health in just the proportion to which we have allowed our alkalies to be dissipated by introduction of acid-forming food in too great amount... It may seem strange to say that all disease is the same thing, no matter what its myriad modes of expression, but it is verily so." William Howard Hay, M.D.

More recently, in his remarkable book Alkalize or Die (see recommended reading), Dr. Theodore A. Baroody says essentially the same thing: "The countless names of illnesses do not really matter. What does matter is that they all come from the same root cause...too much tissue acid waste in the body!" Theodore A. Baroody, N.D., D.C., Ph.D.

Understanding pH

pH (potential of hydrogen) is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. It is measured on a scale of 0 to 14 -- the lower the pH the more acidic the solution, the higher the pH the more alkaline (or base) the solution. When a solution is neither acid nor alkaline it has a pH of 7, which is neutral.

Water is the most abundant compound in the human body, comprising 70% of the body. The body has an acid-alkaline (or acid-base) ratio called the pH, which is a balance between positively charged ions (acid-forming) and negatively charged ions (alkaline-forming.) The body continually strives to balance pH. When this balance is compromised many problems can occur.

It is important to understand that we are not talking about stomach acid or the pH of the stomach. We are talking about the pH of the body's fluids and tissues, which is an entirely different matter.

phrange.jpg (6843 bytes)

Most Acid Acid Lowest Acid FOOD CATEGORY Lowest Alkaline Alkaline Most Alkaline
NutraSweet, Equal, Aspartame, Sweet 'N Low White Sugar, Brown Sugar Processed Honey, Molasses SWEETENERS Raw Honey, Raw Sugar Maple Syrup, Rice Syrup Stevia
Blueberries, Cranberries, Prunes Sour Cherries, Rhubarb Plums, Processed Fruit Juices FRUITS Oranges, Bananas, Cherries, Pineapple, Peaches, Avocados Dates, Figs, Melons, Grapes, Papaya, Kiwi, Berries, Apples, Pears, Raisins Lemons, Watermelon, Limes, Grapefruit, Mangoes, Papayas
Chocolate Potatoes (without skins), Pinto Beans, Navy Beans, Lima Beans Cooked Spinach, Kidney Beans, String Beans BEANS VEGETABLES LEGUMES Carrots, Tomatoes, Fresh Corn, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Peas, Potato Skins, Olives, Soybeans, Tofu Okra, Squash, Green Beans, Beets, Celery, Lettuce, Zucchini, Sweet Potato, Carob Asparagus, Onions, Vegetable Juices, Parsley, Raw Spinach, Broccoli, Garlic
Peanuts, Walnuts Pecans, Cashews Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds NUTS SEEDS Chestnuts Almonds    
        Corn Oil OILS Canola Oil Flax Seed Oil Olive Oil
Wheat, White Flour, Pastries, Pasta White Rice, Corn, Buckwheat, Oats, Rye Sprouted Wheat Bread, Spelt, Brown Rice GRAINS CEREALS Amaranth, Millet, Wild Rice, Quinoa        
Beef, Pork, Shellfish Turkey, Chicken, Lamb Venison, Cold Water Fish MEATS            
Cheese, Homogenized Milk, Ice Cream Raw Milk Eggs, Butter, Yogurt, Buttermilk, Cottage Cheese EGGS DAIRY Soy Cheese, Soy Milk, Goat Milk, Goat Cheese, Whey Breast Milk    
Beer, Soft Drinks Coffee Tea BEVERAGES Ginger Tea Green Tea Herb Teas, Lemon Water

Test Your Body's Acidity or Alkalinity with pH Strips:

It is recommended that you test your pH levels to determine if your body's pH needs immediate attention. By using pH test strips, you can determine your pH factor quickly and easily in the privacy of your own home. If your urinary pH fluctuates between 6.0 to 6.5 in the morning and between 6.5 and 7.0 in the evening, your body is functioning within a healthy range. If you saliva stays between 6.5 and 7.5 all day, your body is functioning within a healthy range. The best time to test your pH is about one hour before a meal and two hours after a meal. Test your pH two days a week.   Order Test Strips

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.

Even mild acidosis can cause such problems as:

  • Cardiovascular damage, including the constriction of blood vessels and the reduction of oxygen.
  • Weight gain, obesity and diabetes.
  • Bladder and kidney conditions, including kidney stones.
  • Immune deficiency.
  • Acceleration of free radical damage, possibly contributing to cancerous mutations.
  • Premature aging.
  • Weak, brittle bones, hip fractures and bone spurs.
  • Joint pain, aching muscles and lactic acid buildup.
  • Low energy and chronic fatigue.

Minerals Buffer Acids - A recent study conducted at the University of California-San Francisco on 9,704 postmenopausal women showed that those who have higher acidity levels (also called chronic acidosis) from a diet rich in animal foods are at greater risk for lower bone density levels than those who have "normal" pH levels. The researchers who carried out this study hypothesized that many of the hip fractures prevalent among older women correlated to higher acidity from a diet rich in animal foods and low in vegetables. The body apparently borrows calcium from the bones in order to balance pH, and this calcium borrowing may result in a decrease in bone density. -American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Jan. 2001, Vol. 73, No.1, pp. 118-122.

Urine pH - Urinary pH levels can indicate how well your body is assimilating minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium. These are called the "acid buffers" because they are used by the body to control acid levels. When acid levels begin to increase, the body becomes less capable of excreting acid. It must either store the acid in body tissues, or buffer it-that is, borrow minerals from organs, bones, etc., in order to neutralize the increase in acidity. Urinary pH should fluctuate between 6.0-6.4 in the morning and 6.4-7.0 in the evening.

Over acidity, which can become a dangerous condition that weakens all body systems, is very common today. 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 access acids must be neutralized our alkaline reserves are depleted leaving the body in a weakened condition.

Keeping the Balance Right for Excellent Health

Your body is able to assimilate minerals and nutrients properly only when its pH is balanced. It is therefore possible for you to be taking healthy nutrients and yet be unable to absorb or use them. If you are not getting the results you expected from your nutritional or herbal program, look for an acid alkaline imbalance. Even the right herbal program may not work if your body's pH is out of balance.

What if I'm Acidic?

By far the most common imbalance seen in our society is over acidity. If your urine and/or saliva test below 6.5 pH start with steps 1, 2 and 3 below and continue adding steps until desired results are achieved. Be sure to monitor your progress with easy-to-use pH test strips:

1. Enzymes are essential: Take 1-2 capsules of Food Enzymes or Proactazyme with every meal. If you have both over-acid urine and saliva, also take 1-2 capsules of Protease Plus between meals on an empty stomach.

2. Correct calcium is needed: 1-2 small scoops of Coral Calcium each day. This is a very alkalizing form of calcium. Or, take 4-6 Skeletal Strength tablets daily. This contains a very absorbable calcium and magnesium. Children should use liquid calcium.

3. Alkaline minerals are essential: Take 1 ounce of Mineral Chi Tonic once daily, or take 1 teaspoon of Liquid Chlorophyll in water up to eight times daily.

4. Anything green is alkaline: Take Ultimate GreenZone or Potassium Combination according to label directions. Eat more fruits and vegetables and less animal products.

5. Vitamin A & D hold calcium in the body. Taking Vitamin A & D will help the body buffer acid.

6. What if my pH is still too acidic? As a temporary measure take 2 Stomach Comfort tablets twice daily between meals. (Not for long-term use.) Monitor your pH daily.

7. Cleanse as needed: Take a psyllium hulls supplement such as Psyllium Hulls Combination at bedtime to maintain regular bowel movements. Use Chinese Tiao He Cleanse or CleanStart twice a year for liver, bowel and kidney detoxification.

Get the book! Get a copy of the book Alkalize or Die by Dr. Baroody (see recommended reading below) and carefully follow his dietary recommendations choosing more foods that are alkaline-forming and less that are acid-forming. A healthy diet should consist of 80% alkaline-forming foods and 20% acid-forming foods.

What Causes Me to be Acidic?

The reason acidosis is more common in our society is mostly due to the typical American diet, which is far too high in acid-producing animal products like meat, eggs and dairy, and far too low in alkaline-producing foods like fresh vegetables. Additionally, we eat acid-producing processed foods like white flour and sugar and drink acid-producing beverages like coffee and soft drinks. We use too many drugs, which are acid-forming; and we use artificial chemical sweeteners like NutraSweet, Equal, or aspartame, which are extremely acid-forming. One of the best things we can do to correct an overly-acid body is to clean up the diet and lifestyle. Refer to the recommended reading for specific help with diet and lifestyle.

What if I'm Overly-Alkaline?

Alkalinity is relatively rare, but if your urine and/or saliva consistently test above 7.0 pH, start with steps 1, 2 and 3 below and continue adding steps until the desired results are achieved.

Be sure to monitor your progress with easy-to-use pH test strips. You will notice that some of these steps are the same as those recommended above for an overly acidic condition. This is because such steps are balancing, tending to bring the pH back toward normal no matter which direction it has gone:

1. Enzymes are essential: Use 1-2 capsules of Proactazyme with each meal. For stronger enzymatic action in difficult cases add 1-2 capsules of Protease Plus between meals on an empty stomach.

2. Correct calcium is needed: Take 4-6 Skeletal Strength tablets daily.

3. Vitamin C: Use Timed-Release or Vitamin C Ascorbates. Use 3,000 mg or more, to maximum bowel tolerance. (If diarrhea occurs, reduce intake.)

4. Flax Seed Oil: Use 1 capsules of Flax Seed Oil 3 times a day or 2 tablespoons of oil daily.

5. Ultimate GreenZone: Follow label directions.

6. Cleanse as needed: Take a psyllium hulls supplement such as Psyllium Hulls Combination at bedtime to maintain regular bowel movements. Use Chinese Tiao He Cleanse or CleanStart twice a year for liver, bowel, and kidney detoxification.

Note that a food's acid or alkaline-forming tendency in the body has nothing to do with the actual pH of the food itself. For example, lemons are very acidic, however the end-products they produce after digestion and assimilation are very alkaline so lemons are alkaline-forming in the body.

Likewise, meat will test alkaline before digestion but it leaves very acidic residue in the body so, like nearly all animal products, meat is very acid-forming.

Recommended Reading:

Alkalize or Die by Dr. Theodore A. Baroody, Available at Amazon.com for around $5.00.


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