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Addressing: The Role of pH in All Health Conditions
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James Offline

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Addressing: The Role of pH in All Health Conditions

The following are responses I have written in response to e-mails I have received about alkaline waters. Hopefully this will put the myths of alkaline waters to a rest.

We spoke briefly about alkaline water and I would like to know more about your opposing view on it. The site that I was looking on was:

As for your links, I just read the first one and don't even know where to start with the abundance of mistakes in their claims! I guess I will go one by one from the top.

They claim that you can check your pH with pH paper using saliva. The problem is that your saliva is normally alkaline. This is to wash acids away from foods or produced by the action of bacteria on sugars to prevent our teeth from rotting away. Therefore, unless you just ate something acidic or have not brushed your teeth after eating something sugary your saliva pH should be alkaline. It does not reflect blood pH.

Next they claim that acidity is "conducive to sickness". This is not necessarily true, and a person can go in to a hyper alkaline state called alkalosis that can be quite dangerous. In fact, alkalosis is considered more dangerous than acidosis because unlike acidosis the body has very little in its arsenal to combat alkalosis.

Next they claim that cholesterol is an acidic waste product. I don't have clue where they came up with this one. Cholesterol is an integral part of our bodies and is generated by the body for good reasons. In fact we could not survive without it as we can see:

• Cholesterol is essential for the formation of hormones including estrogens, testosterone, progesterone, prostaglandins, etc.
• Cholesterol is also essential for the formation of vitamin D, which helps to protect our bones, modulate the immune system and protects us from cancer.
• Cholesterol is also essential for maintaining cellular membranes and the myelin sheath that keeps our nerves from short circuiting.
• The brain is highly dependent on cholesterol for structure and function and accounts for 30% of the body's cholesterol content. Cholesterol is also a healing agent for the body. When we injure an area of the body cholesterol floods the area to help promote healing of the injured tissues.
• Low levels of cholesterol have been linked to greatly increased risk of heart attacks and stroke, dementia, depression, bone loss, increased cancer risk, etc. I would hardly call this a toxin considering its many benefits.

They also call acetic acid an acid waste. The fact is that acetic acid is rapidly metabolized by animals and therefore is only found in trace amounts at any given time. And again it serves functions in the body including the formation of cholesterol, fatty acids, glycogen and carbohydrates. It is also involved in acetylation reactions and is required for the formation of proteins throughout the body, including the brain. Acetic acid generated by our flora help kill pathogens and control the overgrowth of Candida. Again I would not call this a waste as it is essential for our survival.

Uric acid can be considered a waste byproduct, though it is generally eliminated by hydrolysis with water and flushed out in urine. Although, uric acid as with other compounds they refer to as “wastes” have their benefits to the body. Uric acid is one of the body’s primary antioxidants.

In some cases there is a uric acid overload. This has various causes though not related to acidity including hemolytic anemia, hypothyroidism and dehydration.

Ironically, in their list of alkalizing foods they list milk, which actually forms acids and contributes to uric acid load due to the high sugar and protein content. Lactose in milk is converted in to lactic acid by the intestinal flora. Uric acid is a metabolic byproduct of the breakdown of proteins including those in milk. Proteins are based with ammonia, which is highly alkaline and highly toxic. To prevent ammonia toxicity the body converts the ammonia in to urea and uric acid, which are then primarily eliminated through the urine.

Next they claim that an acidic environment creates a favorable environment for the growth of bacteria, fungi, viruses and even cancer. Again this is a commonly repeated MYTH! For example the reason people get yeast overgrowth after antibiotic use is from the shift of certain tissues going from an slightly acid state to a more alkaline state, which favors yeast growth. Since women experience this most often let's consider vaginal Candida overgrowth after taking antibiotics. The pH of the vagina is normally slightly acidic. This acid environment is generated by the Lactobacillus bacteria and Bifidobacterium in the vagina which produce lactic acid, benzoic acid, acetic acid and other beneficial acids. These acids help control not only yeast overgrowth, but also the overgrowth of many pathogenic bacteria. When the Lactobacillus bacteria are killed the pH shifts from a slightly acidic environment to an alkaline environment letting the Candida yeast to run amok. The alkalinity actually turns on the Candida growth gene and converts the Candida in to its highly pathogenic fungal form.

We actually see the same problem as we age and stomach acidity declines. Stomach acid is actually one of the first lines of defense of our immune systems. The acidity of the stomach helps to prevent pathogens from surviving and infecting us. As stomach acid naturally declines with age we tend to get yeast overgrowth in the stomach and subsequent acid reflux from the fermentation.

The lack of stomach acid also makes the elderly and others with low stomach acid more prone to bacterial infections, such as those associated with food poisoning.

Also consider infection by the Helicobacter pylori bacteria that causes stomach ulcers and stomach cancer. It secretes highly alkalizing ammonia to help it survive since it cannot tolerate the normally acidic environment of the stomach.

It should also be noted that acetic acid (vinegar) is used to kill bacteria even in mainstream medicine.

As for cancer lactic acid is not produced by cancer or any other human cells. Cancer cells do produce non-acidic lactate, which is often confused with acidic lactic acid. During energy production by cancer cells acid forming hydrogen protons are formed. Cancer cells are alkaline though and are harmed or killed by excess acidity. Therefore, the cancer cells export the protons outside of the cells creating the increased acidity outside the cells. Therefore, the acidity is a byproduct of the cancer, not the cause as is commonly claimed.

Next they claimed that the long term acidity will lead to osteoporosis. They have left a super large hole in this one. First of all the loss of bone minerals is not osteoporosis. The loss of minerals from bone constitutes osteomalacia and osteopenia. Osteoporosis is a loss of collagen matrix, not a loss of minerals.

Osteoporosis is most often caused by a lack of silica in the tissues, not acidity. Osteoporosis can also result from a lack of ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which is also essential for the production of bone’s collagen matrix.

The second most common reason for mineral loss from bone is excess parathyroid hormone (PTH) release. This can occur for several reasons. One is the over consumption of foods high in the mineral phosphorus, found in foods such as milk. This is one of the reasons milk is the leading cause of diet induced mineral loss from bone. The other common reason is a condition known as hyperparathyroidism, which results from a lack of vitamin D. And as mentioned earlier, cholesterol that they refer to as an “acidic waste product” is essential for the production of vitamin D by the body.

The body actually has numerous buffering systems to prevent acidosis. Respiration is the primary means of buffering acids. The use of bone minerals to buffer acidity is very rare since it is a last resort for acidity buffering and true acidosis is extremely rare.

Next they claim that these acids are solidified in the body and deposited in the tissues. The only acids that I can think of that are "solidified' in the body are uric acid, amino acids and essential fatty acids. The uric acid is dangerous if not hydrolyzed as it is sharp and can cause damage to joints and the kidneys. This is not very common though since it is normally avoided by drinking enough water. Amino acids and fatty acids are essential building blocks of our bodies and we would not exist without them.

They also claim that these acids reduce oxygen levels. Again this statement shows their lack of knowledge of how the body works. When we breathe for example there is an exchange of carbon dioxide and oxygen. If the carbon dioxide is not removed it forms carbonic acid, which is essential to help maintain vascular tone. If we hyperventilate for example we remove so much carbon dioxide from our blood that we will go in to a very alkaline state. But the loss of carbon dioxide will also result in the constriction of blood vessels leading to blood being shunted away from the brain and we pass out. Thus in a healthy person as carbon dioxide builds up our brain tells us to breathe and oxygen levels are brought up and carbon dioxide, and thus carbonic acid are brought down.

As another example, when we run there is a buildup of acidic hydrogen protons. We breathe heavier when we run to not only provide oxygen for energy production for muscles, but also for the removal of the protons. When we stop running we no longer require the oxygen for muscle energy production, yet we continue to breathe heavy for a period of time. The reason is that once again the body is removing the build up of protons. As the proton levels drop so does our respiration. Therefore, the body uses breathing as a means to control acidity. As acidity increases so will our respiration to compensate by reducing carbonic acid and protons.

Next is their claim that heart disease and circulatory diseases, blood sugar problems, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and cancer are all related to acidic conditions. This is really misleading. Heart disease and circulatory problems can stem from a number of reasons from high homocysteine levels, blood clots; which can result from injury, estrogens, etc., diabetes, high blood pressure, naturally narrow arteries, varicose veins, etc. Blood sugar problems could mean hypoglycemia or diabetes. Acute hypoglycemia results from a chromium deficiency. Chronic hypoglycemia results from adrenal dysfunction, which generally result from a lack of the acids ascorbic acid (vitamin C) and pantothenic acid, a B vitamin. There can be other rare causes such as taking too much insulin, oral hypoglycemics or certain herbs. Some rare metabolic disturbances can also lead to hypoglycemia. Type one diabetes is autoimmune and involves the destruction of beta cells through chemicals (bovine insulin, anesthesias, alloxan), by pancreatic infection or trauma or by viral induced autoimmunity. Type 2 diabetes results from a lack of chromium and/or magnesium leading to a closing of insulin receptors. In later stages the insulin producing beta cells can be destroyed by glucose or diabetes medications. Gestational diabetes is a hormone imbalance induced form of diabetes. Fibromyalgia has been linked to low serotonin levels, low magnesium levels and low levels of malic acid, which is essential for the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) that fuels our cells and helps them to function properly. The acids pyruvic acid and citric acid are also essential for the formation of ATP. Chronic fatigue does not have a specific known cause, but is believed to be autoimmune in some cases. Autoimmune disorders are microbial triggered and involve adrenal dysfunction, which can result from a lack of essential acids. And as I already explained acid is a byproduct of cancer, not a cause. So none of the listed conditions are caused from hyper acidity as the sales hype claims.

The aging process has nothing to do with a thickening of cells as they claim. The process of aging involves deterioration of the ends of the chromosomes, called telomeres. Each time the cell divides the telomeres deteriorate slightly leading to aging. Again nothing to do with trapped toxins. As for the chicken heart experiment if I did not remove the highly toxic and alkaline ammonia from my aquarium my fish would die as well. So their analogy is ridiculous.

Their phosphoric acid claim is also totally ridiculous. First of all phosphoric acid does not cause stones. It can combine with alkaline materials like calcium to form calcium phosphate stones. Here is the kicker though. In order to form kidney stones the urinary pH has to be alkaline with a pH of at least 7.2.

They call these salts acidic salts and claim they build up in cell "walls" causing them to stiffen. First of all the acidic phosphorus is neutralized by the alkaline calcium yielding a neutral, not acidic salt. Secondly, we are not plant so we do not have cell walls. As with all animals we have cell membranes. The flexibility and nutrient transfer are highly dependent on the level of fatty acids in the cell membranes. These membranes can harden, but this occurs from oxidation not acidity.

And as we have seen in order to form these salts the pH must be highly alkaline. So highly alkaline water is not going to remove these salts since there are no cell walls for them to form in. If we had cell walls though then the highly alkaline water could promote the formation of calcium phosphate. So again their claims are false.

Their claims about why the Hunzas do not suffer from osteoporosis are misleading. As mentioned earlier osteoporosis is a loss of collagen matrix, not a loss of minerals. The Hunzas may not have the rates of osteoporosis, osteomalacia and osteopenia that other parts of the world experience, but there are reasons for this. First of all they are a lot more active than most Americans. Bone formation is highly dependent on exercise which stimulates bone formation through the piezoelectric effect. This is why people lose bone density when they do not exercise or cannot put physical stress on the bones. Also the Hunzas get more vitamin D3 through both sun exposure and through diet as well as other nutrients required for bone through diet including amino acids, fatty acids and ascorbic acid.

As for their claims on cardiovascular disease, acid have very little to do with it. Arterial plaque forms in part from damage to the arterial lining, which brings cholesterol to the area to help heal the injury. When the source of injury is not removed the cholesterol continues to flood the area. The most common cause of injury is from high homocysteine levels, which can occur from high homocysteine levels and lack of methylation. High blood pressure and diabetes are a few other common causes. The omega 6 fatty acid arachidonic acid can promote heart disease by increasing inflammation. But omega 3 fatty acids have the opposite effect since they reduce inflammation. As for the hardening of the cholesterol they mention, this is from calcification, not acidity. In other words the interaction of alkaline calcium with the cholesterol. In fact, calcium has to be in an alkaline environment to precipitate out to cause calcifications.

As for arthritis there are over 120 forms of arthritis. Gouty arthritis is relatively rare and can occur for various reasons such as medications, dehydration, hemolytic anemia, cancers and hypothyroidism. Other forms of arthritis have nothing to do with acids. The most common forms are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a wear and tear disease. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder triggered off by a bacteria and involves adrenal dysfunction. Acidity does not play a role in either form of arthritis.

As for immune function. Our immune system is highly dependent on a number of acids including lactic, acetic, benzoic and hydrochloric acids. We also need malic, pyruvic and citric acids so these cells can perform properly. And the white blood cells require ascorbic acid (vitamin C) for activation. Then there are the amino acids needed to form the antibodies and white blood cells.

Speaking of white blood cells, what about the slightly acidic nucleic acids in white blood cells that contain phosphorus. According to all the propaganda white blood cells should be non-functional, hard as a rock and unable to absorb nutrients.

Then there is pantothenic acid and again ascorbic acid to support the adrenals and thymus glands. This list can go on and on.

It should also be noted that the pathogenic and non-pathogenic microbes that live inside the human body are adapted to living in the human body and are also killed by extremes in pH.

The role of oxygen in controlling acidity has already been explained. There claim though that energy production simply boils down to oxygen burning hydrogen is incorrect. Energy is dependent on ATP formation and breakdown. As ATP is broken down phosphorus atoms, which are acidic and they are so against, lead to energy formation in cells. Then phosphorus atoms are added to form new ATP and the cycle continues. When oxygen and hydrogen combine water is formed.

Their next claim is that acids "literally turn off enzymes". If this were the case then how do they explain pepsin, which cannot work without sufficient hydrochloric acid? Not to mention that enzymes are formed from amino acids. And again I wonder how they think white blood cells function since they contain acidic phosphorus and nucleic acids?

Finally, I am not going to address everything they list in the diet, but will rather point out a few mistakes. Potatoes are not alkalizing, but rather acidic due to the high level of starch (sugar). The skins are alkaline due to the high mineral content, but the question remains what is the ratio of acidic starch to alkalizing minerals? Milk is full of protein, phosphorus and sugar (lactose), which are all acidic. They are not alkaline as claimed. Milk consumption is the leading cause of bone loss primarily due to high protein content that blocks calcium absorption and the high phosphorus content, which leads to excessive parathyroid hormone release. This results in a condition known as pseudohyperparathyroidism that results in bone loss.

In excess, milk can also increase the acidity of blood due to the high content of phosphorus, milk sugar as well as its protein content. Acids are readily buffered or removed though by various means. Therefore, acidity rarely reaches the point of bone demineralization.

Anything high in protein, including cow's and goat's milk, eggs, grains, nuts, and gelatin are all going to form acids. Again the question is will these products provide enough buffering minerals to counter the acidity.

In the case of milks and gelatin I would say no since the calcium from milks are not readily absorbed but the acidic phosphorus is. And gelatin is made from demineralized hides, hooves and bones. Sugars, including honey and raw sugar are in the same boat. The sugars are acidic and generally do not contain enough minerals to balance the acid formation.

Many teas are high in tannic acid, which is antioxidant. Tannic acid though can block the absorption of many nutrients and other herbs.

Finally, not all green leafy vegetables are good. Some are rich in oxalic acid, which binds to calcium and can lead to calcium oxalate formation. Spinach, kale, beet leaves, and purslane are some of the worst offenders, especially if cooked. Rhubarb is also a rich source of oxalic acid.
(This post was last modified: 03-06-2013 02:59 AM by James.)
07-03-2012 07:18 AM
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