The acid-base balance is essential to staying healthy. An imbalance affects not only our digestive, cardiovascular and respiratory systems, but also our immune system. A balanced pH helps our body maintain a healthy metabolism and build up alkaline reserves for emergency situations.

The dangers of high acidity

A body that is too acidic is indicative of poor health. Acidity creates an environment that is favourable to the development of diseases, bacteria and fungi. What’s more, when the body becomes too acidic, it burns minerals faster and eventually attacks vital organs and bones in an attempt to neutralize the acidity and rid the body of it. The body’s mineral reserves—such as calcium, sodium, potassium and magnesium—can then drop to extremely low levels, leading to irreparable damage.

As a general rule, the first signs of high acidity appear on the skin, hair and nails. The longer it is left untreated, the more problems high acidity creates: chronic fatigue, digestive problems, impaired healing, headaches, tingling, etc. When organs are no longer able to eliminate the surplus acid, the body enters a state of chronic acidosis. Among other things, this can cause osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, ear, nose and throat (ENT) disease, kidney stones and high blood pressure.

What factors cause acid indigestion?

Anything that overloads the body and disrupts its natural balance will lead to high acid levels. While diet is often one of the primary causes, there are many others, such as fatigue, stress, a sedentary lifestyle or too much physical activity, personal problems, negative emotions and a lack of oxygen.

How can I check my pH?

You can purchase pH test strips from a health food store and use it to analyze a sample of your urine. The lower the pH (0 to 7), the more acidic the sample; the higher the pH (7.1 to 14), the more alkaline the sample. Ideally, a healthy pH level should be maintained around 7 or just slightly above. Keep in mind, however, that pH levels fluctuate throughout the day. The best time to check your pH is one hour before or two hours after a meal.

How can I lower my body’s acidity?

The best ways to lower acid levels in your body are to achieve a more balanced lifestyle by meditating or eating better. Experts generally recommend a diet that is made up of 40-70% fruit, vegetables and sprouts. You should also reduce consumption of animal protein, eggs and dairy products and increase consumption of vegetable protein, fish, whole grains or healthy fats from grains and legumes. At the same time, ensure you get sufficient fluid—water, herbal teas, liquid chlorophyll, wheatgrass juice—according to your weight. Avoid alcohol, carbonated beverages such as pop, along with tea and coffee. Top it off with exercise and a positive outlook.

And remember to get sufficient amounts of water and basic mineral salts. If you have any doubts, ask a health care professional for advice.

Take care!

Christine Lacaze, N.D.