pH and bones: the science
Many of the body’s organs and systems, particularly the kidneys and lungs, play important roles in maintaining proper pH. The lungs excrete acids as carbon dioxide, and they do this without much effort or input from us — diet, for example, plays no direct role in the lungs’ excretion of volatile acids. The kidneys’ ability and need to excrete acids, however, is directly influenced by what we eat. On a balanced, whole foods diet that includes ample amounts of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds, the body is provided with the anonic (negatively-charged) alkaline mineral salts it needs for buffering excess acids (positively charged ions). Under these ideal circumstances, the kidneys are able to maintain the net acid-alkaline balance in proper proportion. An imbalanced diet high in animal protein, refined carbohydrates, caffeine, and processed foods, however, can force us into mild but chronic acidosis. As acidity rises, the kidneys must compensate by seeking and using the body’s precious alkali reserves. As the alkali reserves become depleted, the body’s systems become compromised and are forced into suboptimal functioning.
Overall in our society, we consume a very imbalanced diet, high in acidifying foods. This imbalanced diet pushes us toward low-grade metabolic acidosis, to which the body’s response is a withdrawal of calcium salts and other alkalizing mineral salts from the blood and tissues. The majority of fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and spices have an alkalizing effect. Most grains are somewhat acid-forming, as are many high-protein foods. Refined sugar is acid-forming, while natural sea salt is alkaline-forming. Ideally, our diet should be composed of about 35% acid-forming foods and 65% alkaline-forming foods; however, the proportion of alkalizing foods should be higher when bringing the body back into balance, or when healing is required. For a comprehensive chart detailing the alkalizing and acidifying metabolic impacts of foods, see our acid-forming and alkaline-forming food charts.
A good approximation of your overall tissue pH can be easily obtained by evaluating the pH of your first morning urine and then monitoring it over time. When the first morning urine is between 6.5 (slightly acidic) and 7.5 (slightly alkaline), it indicates that the overall cellular pH is appropriately alkaline.
The Alkaline for Life® pH Kit was developed by Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD, as a self-contained guide to understanding and measuring body pH. The kit is sold for the purposes of measuring and monitoring your acid-alkaline balance. It includes instructions on altering pH balance with diet and a comprehensive chart showing which foods and chemicals have metabolically acidifying or alkalizing effects, an audiotape on “Acid-Alkaline Balance and Bone,” the necessary pH test paper, and several published articles on pH balance and health.
Detailed information on measuring your pH and alkalinizing your diet is also contained in our book, Better Bones, Better Body: A comprehensive self-help program for preventing, halting and overcoming osteoporosis (Keats 2000), by Dr. Susan E. Brown, PhD, CCN. If you are interested in reviewing further recent research conducted by the Better Bones Foundation, verifying the value of the first morning urine pH measurement, see the 2000 ASBMR abstract by Whiting, Bell, & Brown. See also Acid-alkaline balance and its effect on bone health, International Journal of Integrative Medicine, Nov./Dec. 2000, by Susan E. Brown, PhD, CCN; and Russell Jaffe, MD, PhD, CCN.
I’m Dr. Susan Brown. I am a clinical nutritionist, medical anthropologist, writer, and motivational speaker. Learn my time-tested 6 step natural approach to bone health in my online courses.
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