Proponents of alkaline diets and alkaline water get it wrong. Why aren’t pH altered waters and “alkaline” diets the cure-all we’ve been told?
My view on pH is based on hard-earned personal knowledge, working to regain my health.
Here’s what I’ve learned….
pH is Affected by Stress and Infection
Blood pH is tightly controlled. It does not change except in life-threatening situations.
The pH of saliva or urine already varies widely with time of day and diet – this is obvious when you start to test.
Saliva and Urine pH are symptoms of health issues, not health issues themselves.
pH can be stuck in the acid range if you are sick, chronically stressed or depleted. I tested my urine and saliva pH regularly for 3 months (arising and bed) when I was ill with Epstein Barr (EBV), struggling with full adrenal failure. I kept trying to alter my pH with diet, minerals, baking soda, waters and anything else I could find.
Nothing worked. It was either stuck at 5.5 or wildly swinging.
- Began medication and herbs for my (’til then unknown) lack of the regulating GABA neurotransmitter caused by a lifetime of “performance stress”
- Took a year off work to break my addiction to performance stress (are you adrenaline/caffeine/Nootropics junkies listening?)
- Treated my chronic EBV and Herpes (here’s a podcast/article and another article for more) which allowed me to…
- Heal severely low adrenal cortisol, thus helping my kidneys handle my pH
This was MY path and won’t be yours, but I tell clients that once you’re off sugars, grains and fast food, the key to health is handling your stress which will allow you to then handle infections. See this article for more on how stress causes fatigue and damages the immune system. When we are in flight or fight, we are acid – that’s the price we pay for running from the tiger or living on the edge in the modern world.
What is an Alkaline Diet and is it good for you?
Books and websites disagree on what constitutes an Alkaline Diet. Some say meats are acids. Some say grains are. Others say fruit juice or certain veggies are too acid.
I go back to three things.
- Avoid feedlot meats and poultry fed on GMO corn and soy
- Avoid sugars and high fructose corn syrup, colors and food additives
- Eat the foods we ate before we relied on agriculture (no mass servings of flour, vegetable oils, dairy, pesticides, etc.)
In essence, a Paleo-Mediterranean diet high in vegetables, low in grains and sugars with plenty of nut and fruit oils (such as olive and avocado), coconut oil and the fats from pastured meats. Daily servings of quality meats and seafoods and a few tubers.
I have issues with much of the Body Ecology Diet (and supplements) for example. Its goal is to handle pH and conquer Candida. Yes it’s low in sugar, but I’m not a fan of colon cleansing, detoxing and lots of fermented foods. And the basic principle of what foods are acid and what are alkaline and WHY the author says so is to me just too individual to be on one pre-ordained list.
Why? Because chemistries differ with stress, infection, history and supplements
I prefer to look at what foods Human Beings are meant to eat, as in my DVD/Video “The Diet For Human Beings“. Eat the way your body expects. Stay off grains and sugars and keep starchy carbs a small part of your plate. I do eat white potatoes as I need the carbs, along with the 15 pounds of produce and pounds of pastured meats and seafood a week. I don’t believe in Keto (80% of your calories from fats) as Humans never ate that way in history.
Is Alkaline Water Wrong or a Cure-All?
pH measures the acidity or alkalinity of a substance on a scale of 1 to 14. Water is generally around 7. Sodas, juices, energy drinks, lemons, wine and beer have an acid pH of 2.5 to 5.5. (1) Tooth enamel can dissolve below 5.5 – so we shouldn’t drink juice or soda, and if we do we should rinse with water immediately after. This article tells more.
Alkaline drinking water is anything above the neutral 7, and as high as 8.8. There are cheap pitchers that claim to do this for $49 and high-end machines that go for $2000 – $4000. By the way, you can’t measure pH of water with a pH test strip. You need an electronic pH meter such as this one.
Regardless of the pH you drink, here’s some problems:
FACT #1: Alkaline water is neutralized as soon as it hits the acidic pH of the stomach. The stomach has a pH of 1.5 to 3.5.
FACT #2: You cannot alter pH of the blood and that’s what counts. Urine and saliva pH change throughout the day and night and vary with emotions, food, beverages, health, exercise and much more. How can you control these factors and claim your $3000 water machine changed your pH?
FACT #3: There is a difference between water Ionizers and water Alkalizers. You can find $40 “alkalizing filters on the web, next to $1000 to $4000 machines. Buyer beware!
Some people say the water “feels” more hydrating. I have a 4 filter Reverse Osmosis at home and the office so that’s all I ever drink. And yes, it’s a neutral or slightly acidic pH.
I rely on my kidneys, immune system and stress management to keep my pH in line. If I’ve got allergies or a very rare cold, I may take 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda in water to give me an alkaline boost. It helps with the achiness of a cold and drops some of the fatigue. But never every day. (Baking soda pH is 9).
Does the water have added Minerals?
This is a different topic, but some water systems have a “mineral plate” that adds minerals to the water, thereby supposedly altering its pH and healthiness. Personally, I get my minerals from the organic produce and animals I eat. Not from something in a box….
This article and interview from Dr. Mercola has more info on alkaline water pros and cons (2).
This article from Consumer Reports explains why Kangen water machines are double or triple the price of others. (Hint: 80% of it goes to the multi-level distributors above your salesman). (3).
Will Alkaline Water hurt you?
If you stick to the more neutral water around 7.5 you’ll be fine. Don’t drink high pH water every day.