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Natural Awakenings North Central New Jersey

pH Phooey

Mar 03, 2013 05:19PM ● By Dian Freeman, M.A.

Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about pH balance: It’s on radio, TV, the Web and wherever people congregate to discuss natural health. This obsession with de-acidifying the body has led to the elimination of foods that heal us. I say phooey to this obsession!  We must trust our own body's great design. 

When speaking of lowering acid to achieve pH balance, we are not speaking of the acidity of the stomach.  Stomach acid is necessary for the breakdown and assimilation of minerals and protein.  Acid pH refers to the accumulation of acid residue in body tissue and joints as a byproduct of metabolism. To measure the acidity or alkalinity of urine or saliva,  pH strips purchased in drugstores and health shops can be used.  A neutral pH measures as 7.0. The lower the number, the higher the body's acid accumulation.  

Humans have always had periods of over-acidity.  In the book Your Health . . . Your Choice: Your Complete Personal Guide to Wellness, Nutrition & Disease Prevention, Dr. M. Ted Morter, Jr.,  an early nutritional expert on pH balance, writes that the number-one cause of an over-acid pH reading is negative thoughts, which translates as stress. But humans have always been plagued with negative thoughts; we have managed thus far without artificially interfering with the body’s pH balance.  Why?  Because our body has is own way of managing it, and I don’t recommend interfering with that process. Modern medicine makes a practice of interfering with and "managing" natural processes within the body, while natural healing supports natural bodily processes whenever possible, with nourishment from food and supplements when that nourishment is lacking.

So the common idea that we must manage own pH balance is misguided.  The idea that it is ours to manage is wrong except in the most dire conditions or diseases.  Even then, overly de-acidifying can be counterproductive.  Biomedical gerontologist Dr. Aubrey de Grey explains that even with cancer, alkalizing is not helpful, since a cancer site produces its own high levels of lactic acid for it to thrive.  Most cancers partition themselves off from the rest of the body to maintain the acid environment they need to grow. Thus, de-acidifying the rest of the body to a great degree may not reach the cancer and leave the body lacking the nutrients that alkalizing brings about. 

Among pH ranges within which nutrients cannot be absorbed, iodine — a naturally occurring mineral that aids thyroid function — has the narrowest range. This may explain why thyroid medications top the list of prescriptions written today.  According to the Mineral Chart of Acceptance, iodine can only be absorbed by the body within a pH range of 6.3 to 6.6, which is moderately acidic. So if the body is alkalized even to the 7.0 neutral point, iodine will not be absorbed.  In fact this same chart shows that at a pH of 7.1, the body will also not absorb molybdenum, germanium, selenium, copper and zinc.  If alkalizing to 7.2 (slightly alkaline), the body will not absorb Vitamins A, B, E, F, and K.  It also will not absorb sulfur, chlorine, potassium, calcium, titanium and vanadium.  And so on. Therefore, the more alkaline the body, the fewer nutrients will be bioavailable for the body's use.

Those who preach the benefits of alkalizing tell us to avoid animal protein. These same people recommend eating pasta, breads and other grains, which are as acidic a food group as protein.  Logic seems to disappear in this debate.  The truth of the matter is that to maintain balance, we must eat what we are made of: protein. We could lose the grains, as they add nothing to us except stored fat, but food elimination for pH balancing is rarely necessary. 

If the main cause of over-acidity is stress, then we should practice de-stressing.  If that is not always possible, trust the body to behave as it should by producing the necessary amount of its own bicarbonate of soda to balance the body, not over-alkalize it.   Bicarbonate of soda is produced in the stomach lining when we consume enough salt. I never recommend avoiding salt unless someone has a heart condition. Salt is the number-one alkalizer of the body, and our own stores of salt will be used when needed by our body’s innate intelligence. If one is chronically over-acidic, measuring below 5.4 on the pH scale, I would bet that person has avoided salt.  Again, unless your diet is being supervised by a qualified natural healthcare provider, I do not recommend "playing" around with body functions by attempting a rewiring of a pretty impressive design. Trust our designer.

Dian Freeman has a private nutritional consultation practice in Morristown, NJ and is currently working on her doctorate at Drew University.  A health freedom advocate, Dian teaches a nutritional certification course, practices Ondamed biofeedback, teaches, lectures widely and may be reached at 973 267-4816 or

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