When you look at just how much scientific evidence there is for all of the most alkaline foods out there, it’s still hard to understand why some choose to still try and dismiss the alkaline diet.
Kale, spinach, cucumber, lettuce, bell pepper, turmeric, ginger, coconuts, omega oils, nuts, seeds, carrots, celery, quinoa, chia, cilantro, basil, mint, arugula, romaine, artichoke, asparagus, eggplant, garlic, cumin…all alkaline foods…
And all proven to be highly beneficial to our health and prevent so many diseases and conditions…
Sugar, trans-fats, shortenings, gluten, sweets, pastries, fried food, processed food, takeaways, packaged foods, refined foods (fake frankenfoods), pizza, chips…
All proven to be hugely detrimental to our health and contributory to sickness and disease…
But still some choose to try and ridicule the alkaline diet.
You CAN’T Change Your pH – YES, THAT’S THE WHOLE POINT!
As I go through in my article here – the main criticism of the alkaline diet is that you can’t change your body pH – your body does everything it can to maintain it very strictly at pH 7.365.
This is the entire point…
The aim of the alkaline diet is NOT to try and raise the pH of the blood. Yes, that’s right. The aim of the alkaline diet is NOT to try and raise the pH of the blood.
The whole purpose of the alkaline diet is to prevent the body from having to do the regulating!
The body will ALWAYS keep this pH of 7.365 and our aim is not to change it! Our aim is to give the body the tools it needs so that maintaining this pH is as easy as possible. Putting lots and lots of acid-forming foods puts the body into a huge tailspin and the damage snowballs – creating greater and greater pressure until sickness appears.
You can read more about this here – but it’s an important thing to make clear – we’re not trying to change our pH – we’re trying to support the body in maintaining it!
Dr Emerson’s List of Alkaline Research
Bear in mind Dr Emerson posted this in 2009 – I have got a bunch of more up to date research here – but this is a great reminder of the sheer VOLUME of research out there that proves the efficacy of the alkaline approach to health:
Documented below is the medical and scientific evidence that I believe supports my belief that maintaining the alkaline design of the body is the key to health and vitality. I believe basing our nutrition primarily on plant foods and alkaline water (full of alkalising bicarbonate salts) is much more consistent with what our ancestors were exposed to during millions of years of evolution than what most people have been eating and drinking since the agricultural revolution 10,000 years ago or industrialisation 200 years ago.
A paper from the University of California published in the October 2001 European Journal of Nutrition suggests that most of todays health problems stem from the deficiency of potassium alkali (bicarbonate) salts in todays food compared to food of our ancestors. They feel there is substantial evidence that most contemporary human suffering comes from the “consequences of a diet induced low grade systemic metabolic acidosis.” The researchers proved that modern nutrition produce a low grade metabolic acidosis in otherwise healthy people. They found that this acidosis increases with age. They also found that neutralisation of this acid load with bicarbonate salts improved calcium and phosphorous balances, reduced bone loss, reduced muscle loss and prevented the age related decline in human growth hormone levels. They conclude that a “low grade metabolic alkalosis may be the optimal acid-base state for humans.”
A study published in the December 2002 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that modern diets contain much more acidic foods and less bicarbonate alkaline salts than our ancestral preagricultural diets. They found that this resulted in a lifelong progressive metabolic acidosis. They found this imbalance between acid and alkaline foods was due to “the displacement of high-bicarbonate-yielding plant foods (green leafy vegetables, fruits, roots and tubers) in the ancestral diet by cereal grains and energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods in the contemporary diet.”
A study published in the January 1992 edition of the journal Calcified Tissue International found that hip fracture incidence in older women correlated to the acid intake from animal protein. Plant food intake tended to be protective against hip fracture.
A study published in the October 2000 edition of the journal Gerontology, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences found that the higher the acid in the diet, the higher the risk factor for hip fractures. They also found that countries with the lowest ratio of vegetable-to-animal protein intake have the highest incidence of hip fracture and vice versa. They concluded that “dietary bicarbonate deficiency relative to acid load is a factor in the pathogenesis of the decline in bone mass that occurs with age.” Similar results were published in the January 2001 edition of the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
A study published in the 2001 edition of the journal Bone found that when dietary acid consumption was calculated, the highest levels corresponded to the weakest bones and highest loss of bone markers in the urine.
A study published in the January 1999 edition of the journal Hypertension found that men supplementing with potassium bicarbonate had a 50% reduction in urinary calcium loss (losing calcium in the urine means that more is pulled from the bone to keep the blood calcium normal). They also prevented any increases in blood pressure from salt intake in any of the “salt sensitive” men.
A study published in the September 2002 edition of the journal Diabetes Care found that children who drank water with a pH between 6.2 and 6.9 were 3.7 times more likely to develop type 1 diabetes compared to children drinking more alkaline water.
A study published in the July 1990 Journal of Hypertension found that supplementing with sodium bicarbonate lowered blood pressure in hypertensive people.
A paper published in the October 2001 European Journal of Nutrition suggests that that the modern diet lacks bicarbonate salts that make alkaline buffers. This mean that the net acid load (metabolic and dietary acids minus dietary and metabolic alkaline buffers) is higher than it should be. This therefore produces the latent tissue acidosis that clinicians at the Emerson Health and Wellness Centre believe is the root cause of most chronic degenerative disease and aging. The same article states that animal products and cereal grains contain very little or no alkaline salts.
A study published in the December 1996 edition of the American Journal of Physiology found that adding bicarbonate to the diet reduced acid in the urine to zero and increased plasma bicarbonate. Plasma bicarbonate is one of the bodies main buffers of metabolic acids. The researchers also found that age was a significant determinant of blood acid:alkaline balance. As age increases there is a “progressive increase in blood acidity and decrease in plasma bicarbonate, indicative of an increasingly worsening low-grade metabolic acidosis.” Further they state that “increasing age substantially amplifies the chronic low-grade metabolic acidosis induced by diet” and that “long term increases in acid loads have been shown to affect multiple systems.”
A study by Frassetto published in the January 1996 edition of the Journal of Gerontology, Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences found that with increasing age there is a progressive increase in acidity and a progressive decrease in serum bicarbonate levels – indicative of a “progressively worsening low-level metabolic acidosis.”
A paper by Morris RC published in the September 1999 edition of the journal Seminars in Nephrology states that compared to our traditional diet, the modern diet is deficient in potassium bicarbonate, giving rise to a progressive metabolic acidosis which increases with age. Vegetables and fruits are the main source of potassium bicarbonate. Supplementing with potassium bicarbonate can prevent and treat high blood pressure, prevent kidney stones, prevent osteoporosis and prevent stroke.
Studies in the October 1995 edition of the Journal of Bone Mineral Research and the November 1986 edition of the journal Kidney International showed that metabolic acidosis causes loss of bone substance. This is because bone is a large reservoir of alkaline buffers (calcium phosphate and carbonate) and they are released into the blood to buffer acidity (Journal of Clinical Investigations April 1965, October 1966, February 1967 and American Journal of Physiology November 1999). These studies also showed that the calcium released from bone to buffer metabolic acids is lost in the urine without a compensatory increase in gastrointestinal absorption.
This process ultimately results in osteoporosis (Clinical Science June 1969, Journal of Nutrition 1975).
A study published in the June 1994 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine showed that the administration of potassium bicarbonate “at a dose sufficient to neutralise endogenous acid improves calcium and phosphorus balance, reduces bone resorption, and increases the rate of bone formation.” Similar findings were published in the February 1989 edition of the journal Kidney International. Simply stated, this study proves that metabolic acids cause osteoporosis and the use of alkaline bicarbonate salts reverses the osteoporosis.
The corresponding reduction in calcium excretion in the urine by the use of alkaline bicarbonate salts to buffer acidity has been shown to reduce the formation of kidney stones (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism February 1991).
The chronic, progressive metabolic acidosis of aging has been shown to cause muscle breakdown and then loss of protein in the urine (Mineral and Electrolyte Metabolism 1996, Journal of Clinical Investigations February 1986 and _Clinical Science May 1991).
The loss of muscle mass caused by acidosis is reversible by the administration of alkaline bicarbonate salts (American Journal of Clinical Nutrition September 1984, American Journal of Medical Science August 1991). The body breaks down the muscle in an attempt to help it excrete acid from the kidney (Journal of Clinical Investigations February 1986, Clinical Science May 1991 and American Journal of Physiology June 1986).
A study published in the January 1997 edition of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that “low grade chronic metabolic acidosis exists normally in humans eating ordinary diets and that the degree of acidosis increases with age.” They gave oral potassium bicarbonate to 14 healthy postmenopausal women which corrected the acidosis and normalised their bicarbonate levels. They found that by doing so, they prevented the loss of urinary nitrogen (from the breakdown of muscle), prevented further muscle loss and restored any previous loss of muscle.
Chronic acidosis has been shown to induce resistance to growth hormone (Kidney International January 1997). It also worsens thyroid functionand induces thyroxine resistance (an increase in reverse T3 levels) (American Journal of Physiology May 1997).
A study published in the January 1997 edition of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that postmenopausal women who corrected their net acid load with potassium bicarbonate had an increase in their 24 hour urine growth hormone levels.
The body must maintain the pH of the blood within a narrow range at all times otherwise death will quickly ensue. It will sacrifice the mineral and pH balance of the tissues in order to do this. This is why the negative effects on calcium, phosphorous, bone and muscle can occur with a normal dietary acid load and a normal blood pH. These imbalances can be improved by the use of bicarbonate salts (New England Journal of Medicine June 1994, and Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism January 1997).
Dr Alpern from the Department of Internal Medicine in Dallas in the February 1997 edition of the American Journal of Kidney Diseases wrote that excessive meat ingestion is a common cause of chronic metabolic acidosis and that accelerated aging is the result. He states that the acidosis can occur despite normal blood pH and bicarbonate levels (termed eubicarbonatemic metabolic acidosis). He emphasised that it was still important to treat the acidosis despite these normal levels because of the deleterious effects of the acidosis on bone, muscle and kidneys. This is why I always suggest monitoring the pH of the urine which is a better guide to the pH of the tissues than the blood pH.
Frassetto in the October 2001 European Journal of Nutrition paper writes that “the stability of the blood acid-alkaline equilibrium is de facto evidence of the existence of an internal reservoir of base that continually delivers alkaline buffers into the systemic circulation in an amount equal to the fraction of the net acid load that the body fails to excrete. Bone is the major such internal reservoir of alkaline buffers known to exist.”
There are therefore 2 factors that prove a chronic low level diet induced acidosis decreases bone strength- 1) the stability of the blood pH in the face of increasing dietary acid load and 2) stimulation of bone formation with supplementation with bicarbonate salts.
It is crucial to supplement with minerals because deficits, particularly magnesium are a major contributor to cellular acidosis (International Journal of Integrative Medicine, 2001;4(6):7-18). Note that an alkaline diet is recommended in the position paper on toxic metals by the American Board of Clinical Metal Toxicology, the American Association of Environmental Medicine and the International College of Integrative Medicine: “an alkalising diet is recommended as to correct cellular acidosis, thereby enhancing toxic mineral mobilisation. A high fiber diet with 80% of food intake that is alkaline forming when metabolised is important. Check first morning urine pH to assess net acid excess and clinically evaluate metabolic acidosis.”
Cancers have been found to be significantly more acidic than normal tissues (Raghunand N et al, Novartis Foundation Symposium 2001) and that manipulation of pH with intravenous bicarbonate enhances some chemotherapy (Raghunand N, British Journal of Cancer, June 1999).
Reference: Dr Emerson Research