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How to alkalise the body with food and alkalising supplements

pH and acidity

What is the acid-base balance and why it matters

Lately you have heard a lot about alkaline diet and the importance of keeping our body’s pH levels in balance.

This topic is so popular that several articles, also appeared in the specialised sections of national newspapers, have talked about it.

Too often, however, one tends to simplify the topic or create some confusion. In the following paragraphs we will try to clearly explain what is meant by the term "acid-base balance" and how to alkalise the body when this balance is altered by excess acidity.

Acids and bases: what is the difference?

Substances aimed at the construction and operation of the human body are plenty: amino acids, sugars, fatty acids, vitamins, minerals, etc.; moreover, each of these has a relevant role in the body. All these substances can be classified into two major groups: bases (also called alkalis) and acids.

With opposite, though complementary, characteristics, acids and bases are both fundamental for the body's natural state of health: when they are present in equal quantities, a stability is created which is called "acid-base balance".

What is pH?

The difference between acids and bases is their ability to release or attract hydrogen ions; the unit of measurement of the degree of acidity or alkalinity of an organism is defined pH i.e. the power (p) of releasing hydrogen ions (H).

The pH measuring scale goes from 0 to 14 and number 7 indicates the balance between acids and alkalis (neutral pH): in fact, the body works best when the internal environment has a pH of 7.39, i.e. slightly alkaline.

The importance of balance for the human body

To stay healthy, the human body needs balance, therefore the excessive presence of acids or bases can jeopardise your health. In particular, while acids in the body release a large number of hydrogen ions, bases are able to neutralise them.

To stay healthy, the body should then maintain pH values as closely as possible to "neutral".

The acid-base balance is therefore a key element for our well-being, which can however be affected by certain factors, internal or external. Let's see which ones.

The "damage" of acidity excess

Many of the functions needed to generate energy and keep us alive generate "acidity" themselves. This acidity however, in a normal situation, is "neutralised" by the body.

Consider, for example, the metabolic waste generated by the metabolism of fats, carbohydrates and proteins: many of these are acidic and failure to dispose of them and the consequent accumulation can, in time, lead to a state of "acidosis."

The consequences of an excess of acidity can therefore be tricky for our body. For this reason it is good to know how to alkalise the body when the acid-base balance is altered.

In addition to food, the factors that can contribute to this imbalance are:

  • stress;
  • consumption of alcohol and cigarettes;
  • drugs;
  • environmental pollution.

 What are the risks of pH imbalances?

Acids and bases are substances with opposite characteristics and, when combined together, their properties are cancelled out "giving life" to a neutral salt. Alkalising agents generally used by the body to neutralise acids are  almost throughout the whole body: first in blood and secondarily in the organs. If this action occurs sporadically, the transferred alkalising agents are replaced without problems by means of dietary intake of amino acids and alkaline minerals.

The problem arises when we often resorts to blood and organs in order to obtain the bases: in this case, the organs are subjected to stress and undergo a demineralisation. Because of a wrong life style, and improper and unbalanced diets, this pressure is increasingly common. This dynamics can "weaken" our body and enhance the development of various diseases and many problems affecting people.

 What are the most harmful acids?

Every day we come, more or less unconsciously, into contact with acidic or basic substances. Rarely do acids exist in an independent  or isolated form, instead they are often linked to bases. Acids can be divided into two categories:

  • weak acids (mainly, carbohydrates and vegetable protein containing citric acid). These are mainly in the form of gas expelled from the lungs;
  • strong acids (animal protein). These are rejected from the kidneys into the urine (uric acid) and from the skin through the sweat glands (for this reason sweat has a sour taste when it involuntarily gets into your mouth).

It is good to distinguish between strong and weak acids, since the former are much more difficult to neutralise and their elimination significantly involves and puts liver and kidneys under strain.

How to measure the pH

You can calculate the pH value of the urine also at home (using special litmus papers available in pharmacies) and possibly ask for a doctor's advice. To do this, you simply need to place the litmus paper under the flow of urine. After a while, it will change colour.

Matching the paper with the chart provided with the kit, where each colour corresponds to a value, you can measure the pH. To perform an accurate measurement, it is good to calculate an average of the values obtained by measuring the pH 3 times a day for 5 times a week. The optimal pH value for the urine is between 6.5 and 7.2.

How to alkalise the body and solve the prevalence of acid

As we have seen, the acid-base balance is crucial to the well-being of the entire body. The body works every day (even during sleep) to neutralise, fast and effectively, changes in acidity or alkalinity (states that would otherwise lead to death).

Hyper alkalinisation, besides being impossible, is unhealthy. What we can do is, instead, "lightening up" the work of our body and help it keep the pH balanced, without having to do extra work.

Why take alkalising supplements

How should we behave then? As always, food plays a key role: the higher the intake of alkalising foods (raw vegetables, fresh fruit, almonds, millet, lemon juice, honey ...), the lower the risk of imbalances.

However, sometimes, food alone is not enough, because of the hectic pace of modern life, of the habit of eating ready meals; in these cases, you can resort to alkalising supplements, which can help the body neutralise the acids in excess.

These supplements, rich in alkaline minerals and basic amino acids,  also have the ability to relieve "the painful or uncomfortable symptoms resulting from the excess of acids" (C. Vasey, L’equilibrio acido-base, Vicenza 2015).

Acid-base balance and gout

When the body has, for a long time, to neutralise many acids, it deprives the tissues of their last reserves of alkalising agents. When these reserves are not restored properly, the organic tissue is deprived of basic minerals necessary for life and metabolism no longer works properly.

If a condition of hyperacidity arises, it means that there is no balance between acids and bases in the body. A problem such as gout occurs more and more often and "is caused by an excess of uric acid," (H. Knophius, Equilibrio acido basico, Roma 2008).

 

 


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