Acid Alkaline Balance with Diet not Bicarbonate Supplements

Acid-alkaline balance in the body is fundamental to health. In fact it is the ‘soil’ in which optimal health grows or disease flourishes.

Our cells and the amazing biochemical reactions that take place in our bodies work best in a slightly alkaline environment. The body tightly regulates blood pH (the measurement of acid-alkaline) between 7.35-7.45 to ensure our biochemistry runs smoothly.

Work hard to clear those dietary acids

If we eat a diet that is dominated by acid foods we make the body work so much harder at maintaining blood pH. The acids have to be ‘buffered’ using our alkaline mineral stores such as calcium, magnesium, potassium and bicarbonate (made by the body) in order for the body to release the acid via the kidneys and lungs.

The kidneys and our bones take the brunt of our poor dietary choices, so much so to the point of that by the time you are in your 70’s it is expected that your kidney function has decreased by half! This is far from acceptable in my book, ageing should not equate to ill health.

Say no to bicarbonate supplements

There is a false notion that supplementing with bicarbonate soda will alkalise your body but this is not ideal.  Bicarbonates only alkalise for a very short time, but cause troubles for your body.  Bicarbonates such as sodium bicarbonate will alkalise the acid in the stomach used to chemically breakdown our foods.  Without adequate hydrochloric acid (HCl) levels, vitamins and minerals from food and supplements are poorly digested and thus absorbed.  This is especially problematic with populations who already have low HCl such as the elderly and in autoimmune conditions.

Side effects of bicarbonate supplementation

The alkalising of the stomach further causes imbalances in the gut microflora and can lead to bacterial and fungal overgrowth such as SIBO and candida.

There can also be some serious side effects with sodium bicarbonate therapy including but not limited to intracellular acidosis, increases in sodium levels, reductions in potassium levels, heart irregularities, potential progression of vascular calcifications.

Go for the green

Diet is ideal for alkalising the body and citrates bound to minerals found in vegetables, fruits and supplement are the best way to balance acid levels without causing digestive and systemic side effects.

A diet that is made up of about 80% alkaline foods and 20% acid foods is a good start; it might look like:

  • 80% alkaline – 6-8 parts vegetables with 0-2 parts fruit
  • 20% acid – 1 part protein with 1 part nuts, seeds or cereals / grain