Do you know your pH level? What about your children’s’? We don’t talk much about our pH levels, but we likely should. It is a determining factor to health or sickness.
pH stands for “potential of hydrogen.” Think of water, which has a pH of 7 and considered neutral. The concentration of hydrogen atoms in a solution is how pH is determined and plotted on a scale of 0-14. Since we are mostly comprised of water, our pH should be around 7, staying constant at 7.4 in our blood.
What is pH? Every solution is either acidic or alkaline, including our body fluids. To maintain a constant 7.4, our bodies drop or deposit acid and alkaline minerals from the bones, soft tissues, body fluids (blood, saliva, and urine). Your pH levels are usually more acidic in the morning, fluctuating during the day.
Why is pH important? According to many experts, a healthy body has a balanced alkaline to acid pH level. Your pH levels are directly influenced by the foods you eat.
The Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) contains more acid-forming foods than alkalizing foods. Picky eaters many times eat mostly acid-forming foods. Unfortunately, too much acid can cause health problems. A balanced pH environment allows normal body function necessary for the body to detoxify. This enables our bodies 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. Acidosis is an over-acidity in the body tissues and is one of the basic causes of diseases. Acidosis forces the body to take 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 the strain that is put on the body, it can suffer severe and prolonged damage due to high acidity. "The real problem is one of alkaline deficiency, more than one of too much acid," states Anthony Sebastian, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco. "People eat plenty of acid-yielding animal protein, dairy products, and grains. The missing piece is an appreciate amount of fruits and vegetables, to produce an alkaline yield. Study after study has shown that most Americans–68 to 91 percent–don't eat the five recommended daily servings of fruits and vegetables."
When your body is too acidic, several things may happen. Bones and tissues release minerals in an attempt to compensate and create homeostasis, which can lead to thin bones and decreased muscle mass over time. Chronic acidity may also result in systemic inflammation, which is a precursor to a multitude of serious illnesses. Acidity can also impede enzymatic reactions in cells and overload the lymphatic system, affecting the body’s natural detoxification process.
Test pH at Home: Your pH levels can be tested quickly and easily right at home. In fact, every home should have pH strips to measure alkaline/acid balance in the family medicine chest, right alongside the thermometer. Both offer vital information on the body's systems.
Purchase pH test strips at a local pharmacy, whole foods store, garden nursery, or even pool supply store. Babies are born with a pH level of 7.4. Levels should be slightly alkaline and a healthy pH level is between 7 and 7.5, although 6.5 is considered in the normal range. The best time to test your pH is about one hour before a meal and two hours after a meal. Remember, that pH levels will vary throughout the day.
Green Food Is Yummy
After a glance at the following two lists, it becomes painfully clear why so many children and adults are ill. The first list contains acidic foods: most processed foods, fast foods, dairy, and meat. They are all acid forming, that is the effect they have on the body, not the taste. Some of these foods should be eaten in moderation, some not at all. Fast foods are acidic and are not part of a healthy diet. If your pH level is too acidic, for at time altogether avoid the foods on the acidic list. Dairy, whole grains, and meat are a part of a balanced diet. After pH has been restored, begin adding them back into a healthy diet.
The second list contains alkaline forming foods. Not surprising, most fruit and vegetables are on this list. These are foods to emphasize every day in your diet and to eat exclusively to bring an acidic level back to balance. Vegetables are alkaline and necessary for health. Unless a picky eater learns to eat whole foods, especially veggies, you can expect a lifetime of health challenges.
To maintain a healthful alkaline blood pH, at least 80 percent of total food intake should be alkaline foods and 20 percent acidic foods. This is always challenge for a picky eater, who avoids whole foods, especially veggies. The good news is you can transform your picky eater into a healthy eater. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Research is ongoing.
Shift pH balance:
Alkaline Forming Foods
These are foods to include, especially when balancing acidic pH levels:
Vegetables Beans Nuts & Seeds: almonds, pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, flax, spelt, lentils, sprouted seeds
Sprouts Oils: flax, avocado, extra virgin olive oil, evening Primrose, borage & coconut oil
Lemon Water: While lemons are acidic in their natural form, lemon water is alkaline-forming in the body. Drench your cells in alkalinity each morning with two cups of lukewarm, filtered water with ¼ fresh-squeezed lemon. Yes, there are fancy (and expensive) water ionizers out there, but you can also alkalize your water by simply adding lemon.
Most Fruit: especially citrus (lemon, lime, orange, grapefruit, etc.), grapes and raisins, avocado, tomato & melons
Apple Cider Vinegar causes one's pH levels to become more alkaline. Apple Cider Vinegar in itself is alkaline because of its ash content. Once the body has burned the apple cider vinegar, what's left over becomes ash. When you check for the pH of that ash and dissolve it with water, the content is alkaline. For adults the recommended dosage is 1 to 2 tablespoons in an 8 ounce glass of water, several times a day. Adjust your dosage of Apple Cider Vinegar mixed in a glass of water according to your pH level.
Water and Goat's Milk are neutral
Acidic Forming Foods
The following are foods to avoid with a high acidic pH level. Once pH has been restored to a proper balance, include meat, dairy, and grains to about 20 percent of your diet.
Dairy: except goat's milk (Dairy products are a part of a healthy diet, but when pH levels are acidic, avoid dairy until your pH levels are normalized.)
Crustaceans (shrimp, lobster, etc.)
Sugar & Condiments Coffee & Tea Some Fruit (When pH levels are acidic avoid these fruits until your pH levels are normalized: blueberries, canned or glazed fruits, cranberries, currants, and plums.)
Most Grains: wheat,pasta, rice (although, brown rice is low acid-forming), oatmeal
Nuts: peanuts, cashews, pistachios
Oils: margarine, corn oil, vegetable oil, sunflower oil & hydrogenated oils
Vinegar (except for Raw Apple Cider Vinegar*)
Supplements That Promote Systemic Alkalinity:
Magnesium helps balance pH since magnesium is acid-binding. Magnesium is required for various functions in the body and works as a catalyst for many enzymatic functions.
Symptoms of magnesium deficiency include heart palpitations, mood swings, muscle aches and twitches, depression and anxiety, headaches, insomnia, fatigue, asthma and digestive issues.
Magnesium is required to activate vitamin D—they work together.
Chronically low vitamin D levels increase acidity in the body. This vitamin deficiency along with an acidic diet, sedentary lifestyle, emotional stress and other factors such as sleep deprivation affect the acid/alkaline balance.
Supplementing with vitamin D without also supplementing with magnesium may further a magnesium deficiency and impede vitamin D absorption. It is important to take these two at different times of day, otherwise vitamin D will utilize all of the magnesium for its own absorption. Vitamin D is best taken in the morning with a meal that contains healthy fat; magnesium should be taken closer to bedtime, with or without food.
Symptoms of vitamin D deficiency in both children and adults include bone pain, dental issues, stunted growth, increased bone fractures, muscle cramps, immune system issues and the development of rickets. Rickets, in fact, is on the rise.
pH Levels in the Gut and Saccharomyces boulardii
Over 70% of the immune system is housed in the gut, so proper pH levels should not be limited to the blood—optimal pH of the digestive tract needs to be part of the equation, as well.
Proper pH in the gut allows for optimal secretion of digestive enzymes, a flourishing microbiome and the utility and elimination of nutrients and waste.
While the bloodstream should be alkaline, the stomach must lean more acidic to function properly. Acid breaks down food. Too much or too little acid impacts digestion, chronic inflammation and the immune system.
A healthy stomach pH is between 1.0-2.0, which also wards off bad bacteria and pathogens. A pH of 4 or more may start to breed bad bacteria.
Even one round of antibiotics may affect this balance and pH level, causing disharmony in the microbiome and affecting pH levels.
The probiotic, beneficial yeast, Saccharomyces boulardii, is used for treating and preventing diarrhea, such as rotaviral diarrhea in children and diarrhea caused by the microbiome take-over by “bad” bacteria. It also combats systemic candida, which can affect pH levels. Saccharomyces boulardii releases caprylic acid as a survival mechanism against other yeast in the vicinity, warding off yeast that may take over and wreak havoc on multiple systems.
Our Saccharomyces 10B delivers a minimum 10 billion CFUs (colony-forming units) of Saccharomyces boulardii per daily serving to promote optimal gastrointestinal health.
Research has confirmed the unique Saccharomyces boulardii strain DBVPG 6763 survives stomach acid to colonize in the intestinal tract while acting as a temporary flora to protect the beneficial organisms of the intestine. Additionally, it works with the body to reestablish the microflora, thereby helping to maintain and support healthy immunity, digestion, and gut health. The probiotic material is strain-verified through genetic typing to ensure maximum efficacy and is safe for children.