Balanced Body Chemistry Understanding pH

Have you ever wondered if many of the diseases raging through our society have a common source? Many herbalists and nutritionists now believe the explanation may come down to two small words:  Acid and Alkaline.

A Hidden Danger

High acidity can become a dangerous condition that weakens all major body systems. It gives rise to an internal environment conducive to disease, as opposed to a pH-balanced environment wherein proper metabolic function allows the body to resist disease. A healthy body maintains alkaline reserves that are used to meet emergency demands. Life energy is pH controlled. The only two times when our pH is perfect (6.4/6.4), is when we are born and when we die. Our body’s pH shifts throughout our lives, but for optimal health, we must strive to be as close to the center of pH balance as possible. It is dangerous to be either extreme-acid or alkaline.  

The Importance of Acid and Alkaline Balance for Health

Virtually all degenerative diseases including cancer, heart disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, kidney and gallstones, and tooth decay are associated with excess acidity in the body. While the body has a homeostatic mechanism that maintains a constant pH 7.4 in the blood, this mechanism works by depositing and withdrawing acid and alkaline minerals from other locations including the bones, soft tissues, body fluids and saliva. Therefore, the pH of these other tissues can fluctuate greatly. The pH of saliva offers a window through which you can see the overall pH balance in your body. Cancer cannot exist in an alkaline environment. All forms of arthritis are associated with excess acidity. Acid in the body dissolves both teeth and bones. Whatever health situation you are faced with, you can monitor your progress toward a proper acid/alkaline balance by testing your pH.  

Understanding pH

pH is a measure of the acidity or alkalinity of a solution. The lower the pH number, the more acidic the solution is. The higher a pH number, the more alkaline the solution is. The pH scale goes from 0 to 14 and is logarithmic, which means that each step is ten times the previous. In other words, a pH of 4.5 is 10 times more acid than 5.5,100 times more acid than 6.5 and 1,000 times more acid than 7.5.  

Your Body’s Chemistry

The body has an acid-alkaline ratio called pH (potential of Hydrogen), 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 threatened, however, many unpleasant sicknesses can arise. Because our bodies naturally use hydrochloric acid to break down foods and nutrients, the optimal saliva and urine pH for our bodies is slightly acidic, around 6.4-6.5. Most Americans are acidic, primarily because of the standard American diet. All animal products, with the exception of butter, burn to acid ash as a result of the digestive process. Most cooked and otherwise processed foods do the same. While various parts of the body need to be more acidic than others, the health of the overall system depends on it뭩 being slightly alkaline. Cancer thrives in an acid environment.  

Keeping the Balance Right for Excellent Health

Your body is able to assimilate minerals and nutrients only when its pH is properly balanced. It is possible for you to be taking in healthy nutrients and yet be unable to absorb them. This is true because, while some minerals can be utilized through a wider range of pH than others, all provide their greatest benefits when the body’s pH level of urine fluctuates between 6.0-6.4 in the morning and 6.4-7.0 in the evening, and the saliva stays between 6.4-6.8. For example, though the body can utilize iron while at a pH anywhere between 6.0 and 7.0, it can only fully utilize iodine when body pH lies between 6.3 and 6.6. Thus, it is in your body’s interest for you to maintain the best pH balance possible.

The whole point of pH testing is to see if your body has enough mineral reserves to continue to function properly. When those reserves wane, various sorts of disease processes can, and will, set in. Your body works continually to keep your blood pH at a consistent 7.4. If it drops to 7.2, you will die-it is that specific. The natural metabolic processes that body cells go through to generate energy result in acid waste by-products. This acid load the body must deal with is compounded when we feed ourselves a constant supply of acid. The body must draw heavily on mineral reserves to help keep the blood alkalinized, thus depleting its supply. As reserves dwindle, the body will begin to take calcium (an alkalinizing mineral) from bones. Osteoporosis, a weakening of bone structure, develops. Arthritis and kidney problems are not far behind, because of free-floating calcium the body must get rid of. The list of potential health problems could go on and on.

Good health is built upon a diet of alkalizing foods-raw fruits and vegetables. If you have trouble digesting them, try lightly steaming them along with taking enzyme supplements and hydrochloric acid. Gradually move toward more and more raw produce. 

What You Don뭪 Know about Your pH Could Hurt You
From, Natures Sunshine, Stock no, 2836-1 

High Acidity 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 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.

Acidosis is a seedbed of conditions such 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.

  • Weak, brittle bones, hip fractures and bone spurs.

  • Joint pain, aching muscles and lactic acid buildup.

  • Low energy. 

High Alkalinity in the Body

Though relatively uncommon, high alkalinity in the body causes many of the same kinds of mineral problems as acidity. This condition can cause the body to digest foods too slowly, giving rise to a toxic bowel and urinary tract problems. A high-alkaline condition is considered to be dangerous and generally takes longer for the body to correct than acidosis. It is often a result of alkaline drugs.

An alkaline system can give rise to:

  • Skin and liver problems.

  • Parasites, body odor and bad breath.

  • Allergies (food and environmental).

  • Chronic infections and weak conditions.

  • Constipation, slow bowels. 

pH Imbalance: The Hidden Cause of Disease

From an Interview with Senior National Manager Joan Vandergriff, By Joan Robinson, Nature뭩 Field, Mar/Apr 2001:

According to Dr. Enderlein, a German scientist in the early 1900s, 밄asically there is not a multitude of diseases, but one constitutional disease, namely the constant over acidification of the blood, which disturbs the central regulation of the body disorienting it, all of which is only the result of an inverted way of living and eating.?Hidden Killers, 1990

When the red blood cells can’t give off oxygen, Joan states, that is a major cause of disease, the real silent killer.” When a person is acidic, cells become poisoned in their own toxic waste and die. An acidic condition also interferes with the mineral assimilation in the body. We need to be at least at 6.0 for iron assimilation, and iodine will only assimilate at exactly 6.4. Other minerals affected by the body being either too acid or too alkaline are iron, chromium, copper, and zinc. According Joan, acid pH is the REAL SILENT KILLER. It causes:

  1. Cardio-Vascular disease. Acids in the body damage the blood vessels and arteries.

  2. Diabetes, blood sugar imbalances and insulin sensitivity. When there is weight gain, the body is too acid. This can also cause kidney diseases. (Joan maintains that the Atkins diet causes acid conditions to increase in some blood types.)

  3. Acid pH causes free radical damage and rapid aging. This damage in the body causes build up of plaque (arteriosclerosis), which causes heart disease.

  4. An acid pH causes friendly microorganisms in the blood to mutate and become unfriendly pathogens. It also causes low immunity. If the pH is 6.5, optimal, you won’t catch colds and flu.

  5. An acid pH causes candida, cardiovascular disease, and decreased oxygen in the system and blood.

  6. An acid system depletes calcium and magnesium, which causes cholesterol to stick to the arterial walls. It also weakens bones and muscles and causes irritation to the nervous system.

밫he most important part of healthcare is pH. Whether or not you understand it, just do it!!! What you need to understand is that harmful microorganisms grow in overly acid tissues. In overly alkaline blood, harmful microorganisms also grow. In pH balanced tissues, harmful microorganisms can’t grow! It뭩 as simple as that.

밃lso, it’s not what foods or supplements you take that’s important. It’s what you absorb! And in an overly acid or alkaline state, your body can’t absorb nutrients properly. Beyond ‘you are what you eat?is ‘you are what you digest??/p>

Another important factor in pH is digestion. Inadequate amounts of enzymes in the digestive system imbalances the body’s pH. After 35-40 years of age, the digestion slows down and a person’s body will gradually become more acid, which speeds the degenerative process. So the older you are, the more important taking digestive enzymes are to help regulate pH in the body.

A clean, clear river that is flowing along nicely doesn’t stagnate. It’s impossible for it to. Only when the river is stopped up does it become like a swamp, filled with noxious smells and decomposing matter. “The body is like a river. Digestion begins in the mouth and should take 24 hours from start to finish in a good-flowing, clear, clean environment. When the system gets stopped up, like the stopped up river, the body also becomes like a swamp. When the digestive system gets congested, it has swampy, noxious conditions. That is why it is vitally important to keep the digestive system in good order. When the digestive system is working correctly, then everything in the body can flow correctly.”, says Joan.

I particularly liked an analogy that Joan uses in regard to our personal healthcare and pH adjustment:

Joan V: We tend to go along in life with holes in our tires. FIX the hole in the tire! Don’t just fill the tire with air and have it keep going flat on you! That’s what adjusting the pH balance of the body does. It fixes the flat.

밠y brother-in-law nearly died. I suggested the pH program and in 5 days on these products, his readings went from 5.0/5.0 urine/saliva to 6.5/6.5, which is a good balance. I took him off of all acid-forming foods and used vegetable juices, and his hemoglobin count, which had been 8.7-a crisis state-rose to 10.7, then 14, which is normal.

밠y son, at 28, had severe asthma and allergies, to the point where he was hospitalized for four days at one time. After just 5 days on the program, his symptoms cleared up. Now he knows what he needs to do to keep himself well.”

Joan says that in her health consultation work (because she now fixes the flat instead of just filling the leaky tire with air), it now takes only one week for her clients’ health to improve in the amount that used to take three months to do. Certainly, this is something to sit up and take notice of!  

pH Buffering

The body keeps the blood at slightly alkaline (about 7.4) and dumps the excess acid or alkaline residue into the urine and saliva. It does this for survival. If there is even a slight change in either direction, the person will die. So the readings we take from the urine or saliva show what is being consumed in excess. The body must maintain this level of 7.4 in the blood by dumping excess acidifying minerals. Alkalizing minerals include calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. Acidifying minerals are chlorine, phosphorus, and sulfur. Acids build up through normal metabolism. When acid is stored in the tissues, potassium and magnesium are overwhelmed. Joan V: 밒f you are sick, you need magnesium. Take magnesium until bowel tolerance is reached. (That means developing slight diarrhea.) It’s important to take magnesium!?nbsp; 

What to Do

Joan V: 뱎H is the speedometer of the digestive system. (An acid unbalanced digestive system is overactive, an alkaline unbalanced digestive system is underactive.) You don’t want digestion to go too fast or too slow. Eating the wrong foods and having digestive problems are major causes of pH imbalance. Eat the right foods! The foremost important thing is to eat right for your blood type. Joan explains that it is important to understand that the result of the action of a food in the body is what matters. The ash is what is being read. This may seem a bit confusing. Lemon may be acid, but it leaves an alkaline ash in the body. Meat is alkaline from the phosphate in it, but the ash is acid, so meat is acidifying. Fresh orange juice has an alkaline ash. Phosphorous has an acid residue and because carbonated drinks containing cola have too much phosphorus, they are very acidifying. That’s why carbonated drinks are playing havoc with our society’s health. 


Test Your Acidity or Alkalinity with pH Strips

It is important for you to test your pH level 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 6.0-6.4 in the morning and 6.4-7.0 in the evening, your body is functioning within a healthy range. If your saliva stays between 6.4 and 6.8 all day, your body is functioning within a healthy range.  

Urine pH

The results of urine testing 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 the acid level. If acid levels are too high, the body will not be able to excrete acid. It must either store the acid in body tissues, or buffer it-that is, borrow minerals from organs, bones, etc., in order to control and neutralize acidity.

The first urine in the morning tells how your body handled the food you ate last night. It is a barometer of what’s going on in the body and how drastically it may be adapting its various functions. Establish a baseline by checking the urine in the morning following a typical evening meal.

If your urine pH is high after this test, it will begin to fall if you add meals to your menu that are alkalinizing (raw fruits and veggies). This may sound like the exact opposite of what you’re hoping to achieve, but hang in there. As you continue to eat a primarily raw foods diet of fruits and veggies, your pH will eventually bottom out at about 5.5 and then begin climbing again. That’s the goal-alkaline urine from eating alkaline foods. When you begin an 80/20 diet (80 percent raw fruits and veggies plus 20 percent cooked grains and veggies) you will be getting better as your urine pH drops, and getting healthy as it comes back up to toward 6.4 and 7.0.  

Saliva pH

You’ll also want to test the pH of your saliva. The results of saliva testing indicate the activity of digestive enzymes in your body, especially the activity of the liver and the stomach. This reveals the flow of enzymes running through your body and shows their effect on all the body systems. Some people will have acidic pH readings from both urine and saliva-this is referred to as “double acid.”

The pH of saliva is representative of pH levels of most of your body fluids. The benchmark of 6.8 or above is ideal, whereas 6.2 is normal in the United States because of our acid-producing diet based on animal products and cooked or otherwise processed foods. Establish a baseline. Before eating, spit into a spoon, then dip paper. Check every two or three weeks after changing to 80/20 diet. Your pH should gradually go up toward increased alkalinity. It changes slowly. If before a meal you’re at 6.8, and afterward it jumps to 8.0 or higher, that’s ideal. If before you’re at 6.2, and afterward it rises higher, that’s still good. It shows that you still have alkalinizing mineral reserves available. If you’re at 5.5, but it does go up after eating, that’s acceptable not ideal, not good, but acceptable. It’s an indication that, although you’re low, you do still have some supply of alkalinizing minerals in your body. If before the meal you’re between 5.5 and 5.8 on the pH scale, and after eating there is no change, that’s a sign that you need to get to work immediately to alkalinize your system. Your body is extremely acid, with inadequate mineral reserves available.

Finally, no matter what your pH was before a meal, if it goes down afterward that’s an indication that your body chemistry, and thus pH reading, is being skewed by the impact of emotions that affect physiology. Some emotional detoxing would seem in order.  

Saliva pH and Cancer

“When healthy, the pH of blood is 7.4, the pH of spinal fluid is 7.4, and the pH of saliva is 7.4. Thus the pH of saliva parallels the extra cellular fluid…pH test of saliva represents the most consistent and most definitive physical sign of the ionic calcium deficiency syndrome… The pH of the non-deficient and healthy person is in the 7.5 (dark blue) to 7.1 (blue) slightly alkaline range. The range from 6.5 (blue-green) which is weakly acidic to 4.5 (light yellow) which is strongly acidic represents states from mildly deficient to strongly deficient, respectively. Most children are dark blue, a pH of 7.5. Over half of adults are green-yellow, a pH of 6.5 or lower, reflecting the calcium deficiency of aging and lifestyle defects. Cancer patients are usually a bright yellow, a pH of 4.5, especially when terminal.” The Calcium Factor: Scientific Secret of Health and Youth, by Robert R. Barefoot and Carl J. Reich, M.D  

Ways to Restore Acid/Alkaline Balance in Your Body

If your saliva is too acid you may wish to increase the alkalinity of your body. Ways to do this include: 

1. Eat mostly alkaline foods. The general “rule of thumb” is to eat 20% acid foods and 80% alkaline foods. Avoid the “strongly acid” foods.

Acidifying and Alkalizing Foods

Acid forming foods: Most nuts, eggs, wheat, meat, rice, corn, shellfish, and junk foods.

Alkalizing foods: Most all vegetables and fruits, millet, buckwheat and almonds.

We need to be eating 20% acid foods and 80% alkalizing foods in our diets. Two alkalizing foods with one acidifying food will help to keep the diet in balance. It’s important that vegetables make up two-thirds of our diet.

Drink 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day, not to exceed 100 ounces, because of the need to flush toxins from the body. Not consuming enough water while on this program may result in a healing crisis.

2. Supplement your diet with calcium and vitamin D. Many women take a calcium supplement daily in order to help prevent osteoporosis. It is well known that calcium needs vitamin D in order to be absorbed by the body so most calcium supplements contain vitamin D. What is not generally known is bones are a complex matrix of many different minerals and if all the required minerals are not present then strong bones cannot be built. There are at least 18 key bone-building nutrients essential for optimum bone health. The implication is that it is easier to destroy bone through improper diet and lifestyle than it is to rebuild bone. Furthermore, as farm soils become depleted of many trace minerals the foods grown on these soils contain less and less of the required nutrients. At last count, the human body requires 90 different nutrients for optimum health, and the list is growing year by year. A good nutritional supplement is no longer optional.

3. Supplement your diet with freshly made fruit and vegetable juices. As a treatment for cancer, some doctors recommend one 8 oz glass per hour for every waking hour of the day. We could never eat the amount of nutrition we drink with these juices. Drink lots of ionized alkaline water.

4. Alkalizing Bath Soak

Do the following bath 2-3 times a week to help pull toxic chemicals out of the body.

Start by skin brushing, and then soak for 20 minutes in a bath containing:

1 cup Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate).

1 small box baking soda (strongest alkalizing substance safe for human consumption). May add up to ten capsules of ginger. 


From Alkalize or Die, by Dr. Theodore Baroody

Any stressor that the mind or body interprets and internalizes as too much to deal with, leaves an acid residue. Even a mild stressor can cause a partial or total acid-forming reaction. This can be formed in several ways:

When the system is placed in a fighting posture with no adversary present, excessive hormones are generated causing contraction of muscles and a redirection of digestive forces.

Therefore, even alkaline-forming food becomes acidic. Improper metabolism in the cell forms acid, which is not eliminated quickly enough, lessening oxygen intake into the individual cell causing cellular breakdown. Blood and lymph flows are altered. As a consequence oxygen and nutrients are not carried to the cells nor taken away at the rate they should be. Lymphatic system accumulation then becomes inevitable. These acids create stresses we actually feel.

The question is, “How much stress causes what level of acid formation?” To help determine this, use the following Social Readjustment Rating Scale, devised by Drs. Holmes and Rahe.

The scale is based on a point value system termed Life Change Units. If you score less than 150 points, there is a 30% chance of getting sick in the near future. From 150-299 points, a 50% chance, and over 300 points there is an 80% chance.

Rate yourself on the Alkaline/Acid Adjustment scale on the last page to find your personal stress level and adjust your diet accordingly.  

Quotes and Recommended Reading

“Low cancer areas were far more frequent in the sun belt. What was the significance of sunlight with regard to cancer rates? Sunlight reacts with cholesterol inside and on the surface of the skin to create vitamin-D.

Vitamin-D helps the body absorb calcium and plays a major role in the body’s ability to use the calcium that is available,” The Calcium Connection, Dr. Cedric Garland and Dr. Frank Garland, 1989, Forside, Simon and Shuster Inc. 

“There are many research studies which allude to the fact that high phosphorus and/or phosphoric acid (found in meat and soft drinks) pulls calcium out of the bony structures (bones, teeth and nails) in the process of digestion and assimilation. This has a disastrous effect on bone density, leaving them porous and spongy. When calcium is pulled from the bones, it is released through the kidneys, resulting in stone formation (kidney stones) before it is excreted,” The Greenleaves of Barley, Dr. Mary Ruth Swope. 

밯hen you drink ionized alkaline water, you are drinking water with excess oxygen, not in the form of 02, but in the form of OH- which is very stable because it is mated with positively ionized alkaline minerals. Two of these hydroxyl ions can form a water molecule (H20) and give out one oxygen atom. The alkaline mineral is used to detoxify poisonous acid compounds and when that happens the hydroxyl ion is freed to supply excess oxygen to the cells to prevent the development of cancer,” Reverse Aging, Sang Whang 










Most Alkaline


Lowest Alkaline

Food Category

Lowest Acid


Most Acid



Maple syrup, Rice Syrup

Raw Honey, Raw Sugar


Processed Honey, Molasses

White Sugar, Brown Sugar

NutraSweet, Equal, Sweet ‘N Low


Lemons, Watermelon, Limes, Grapefruit, Mangoes, Papayas

Dates/Figs, Melons, Grapes, Papaya, Kiwi, Berries, Apples, Pears, Raisins

Oranges, Bananas, Cherries, Pineapple, Peaches, Avacados


Plums, Processed Fruit Juices

Sour Cherries, Rhubarb

Blueberries, Cranberries, Prunes


Asparagus, Onions, Vegetable Juices, Parsley, Raw Spinach, Broccoli, Garlic

Okra, Squash, Green Beans, Beets, Celery, Lettuce, Zucchini, Sweet Potato

Carrots, Tomatoes, Fresh Corn, Mushrooms, Cabbage, Peas, Potato Skins, Olives


Spinach, Kidney Beans, String Beans

Potatoes, Pinto Beans, Navy Beans, Lima Beans

Soybean, Carob






Pumpkin Seeds, Sunflower Seeds

Pecans, Cashews

Peanuts, Walnuts


Olive Oil

Flax Oil

Canola Oil


Corn Oil






Amaranth, Miller, Wild Rice, Quinoa


Sprouted Wheat Bread, Spelt, Brown Rice

White Rice, Corn, Buckwheat, Oats, Rye

Wheat, White Flour, Pastries, Pasta






Venison, Cold Water Fish

Turkey, Chicken, Lamb

Pork, Beef, Shellfish



Breast Milk

Goat Milk, Goat Cheese, Whey


Eggs, Butter/Yogurt, Buttermilk, Cottage Cheese

Soy Cheese, Raw Milk, Soy Milk

Cheese, Homoginized Milk, Ice Cream


Lemon Water, Herb Teas

Green Tea

Ginger Tea




Beer, Soft Drinks


Eat 80% alkaline foods and 20% acid foods for perfect pH balance. Drink 1/2 ounce of water per pound of body weight per day, not to exceed 100 ounces, because of the need to flush toxins from the body. Not consuming enough water while on this program may result in a healing crisis.







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