As we age, it seems as though certain health issues begin to take up more-or-less permanent residence in our bodies. At first the symptoms alarm us, and we try a few remedies, but we usually end up feeling resigned to their inevitability. Perhaps you’ve experienced a few of them–chronic fatigue, weight gain, lack of motivation, joint pains, or difficulty sleeping–with little success in your attempts to combat them.
Surprisingly, there may be one common factor at the root of all these and other health conditions: they are all symptoms of an acidic body. Most diseases cannot survive in a body that has an alkaline pH balance, so understanding how to restore alkalinity to an acidic body is the first and most important step toward improved health.
How Does a Person Become Too Acidic?
Simply put, people become too acidic by what they choose to eat. By eating the typical Western diet, an estimated 90% of Americans now have a pH balance that is acidic rather than alkaline. This is the result of consuming too many acid-forming foods and beverages such as coffee, fast food, processed pasta, sugary sweets, cereals, processed frozen meals, dairy, alcohol, soda, artificial sweeteners, etc. This type of diet tends to be based on “convenience,” and so it does not include many fresh, whole foods and non-starchy vegetables.
Other factors, such as stress, lack of exercise, or dehydration can contribute to an acidic pH. Even eating too fast, or eating while emotionally upset, can increase the body’s acidity.
When any of the above conditions exist, acid levels in the body increase, and the body begins to set up defense mechanisms to protect itself. Each of the body’s cells begins to work harder at neutralizing and detoxifying the acids to prevent cellular damage. Since excess acid gets stored in fat cells, your body may even begin producing more fat cells to store harmful acids and keep them away from vital organs.
How Does Over-Acidity Cause Disease?
For your body to function ideally, it must maintain healthy, alkaline pH levels (with the exception of stomach acid, of course). Since the pH of our blood always regulates itself to remain at 7.4, you may wonder why over-acidity is really a problem. Here’s why: when we eat too many acid-forming foods, our body has to work much harder than usual to make sure the blood pH stays at 7.4. That means using its own resources to neutralize the acid, which includes pulling minerals out of saliva, bones, and muscles in order to protect the blood. This process alone lays the groundwork for conditions such as osteoporosis, since calcium has been robbed from teeth, bones and tissues.
Meanwhile, excess acid that cannot be neutralized is stored in fat cells, contributing to an acidic body fluid pH. This means the calcium carbonate that has been formed (when calcium ions bond with excess acid) does not have the alkaline body fluid it needs to move it on out of the body. So this calcium carbonate ends up being deposited around various joints in the body, contributing to joint pain or arthritis.
When our cells are constantly exposed to too much acid, the body’s oxygen level drops, and this causes fatigue. Also, a lower oxygen level is an invitation to parasites, fungus, bacteria, mold and viral infections to move in and start growing. Eventually, the harmful bacteria, fungi, and/or viruses can attach themselves to artery walls where they can attract white blood cells and begin forming arterial plaque. If enough plaque forms to restrict blood flow, a heart attack may occur.
Over-acidification can lead to many other diseases as well, but you’re probably starting to get the picture from the examples above. A body that is forced to deal with too much acid waste is going to develop problems.
What Are the Symptoms of an Acidic Body?
Acid overload can manifest itself in a number of ways. Below is an alphabetized list of symptoms commonly associated with acidic pH levels in the body tissues.
- Abnormal blood sugar levels
- Acid reflux
- Bone loss
- Brittle nails
- Cold sores
- Energy crashes after meals
- Eye irritation
- Eyelid and cornea inflammation
- Fading eyesight or hearing
- Fatigue and/or lethargy
- Food allergies
- Hair loss
- High blood pressure
- Inflamed gums
- Irregular heartbeat
- Irritable bowel syndrome
- Joint pain
- Lack of concentration
- Loose teeth
- Low sexual desire
- Memory problems
- Muscular pain
- Pain, numbness or tingling in extremities
- Shortness of breath
- Teeth sensitive to hot/cold
- Tendency to contract infections
- Throat infections
- Weight gain
If you are experiencing even a few of these symptoms, there’s a good chance you may be suffering from acid overload. A saliva test using litmus pH paper is a fairly accurate way to measure your pH, as long as you haven’t eaten or drank anything within 45 minutes prior to the test. If your saliva tests below 7.0, this indicates that your body’s cells and tissues are too acidic.
One word of caution here: some people use a pH test of their urine to try to determine whether or not their body is too acidic. This type of test should probably only be used under the guidance of a physician. Normally, the pH of urine should be slightly acidic, and when urine is too alkaline, this means that the body tissues are very acidic.
Can the Symptoms of an Acidic Body Be Reversed?
If you discover that your body pH is too acidic, there are many simple changes you can make immediately to start becoming more alkaline. In fact, you can start right now by taking a few deep breaths! Getting more oxygen to your cells is a great way to get rid of the most damaging acid in your body: carbon dioxide.
Another easy but effective step to take is to drink more water throughout the day. For faster results, add raw apple cider vinegar or fresh-squeezed lemon juice to your water.
To make serious headway, you will need to cut back as much as possible on the most harmful acids: caffeinated beverages, processed food, sugar, gluten, dairy, alcohol, soda, artificial sweeteners, and carbonated water. This might seem challenging at first, but most people find they are more than satisfied by replacing those acidic foods with alkaline-forming, nutrient-dense foods. Start including lots of fresh fruits, green vegetables, and healthy fats (like coconut oil or almond butter) with your meals.
There are many other small additions and changes you can make to your lifestyle to start giving your body the healing alkaline boost that it’s been missing. Exercise, green smoothies, and even nutritional supplements can help your body detoxify and heal itself from the excess acid it’s been struggling to deal with.
It’s Up to You: Acid or Alkaline?
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of how a toxic overload of acid waste in the body can send your health in a downward spiral. The good news is that your body wants to get back to its ideal state–it just needs the right alkaline “fuel.” Make sure your diet and lifestyle work with your body’s systems so that you can experience your optimum level of health and vitality.
DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site or blog is intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.