Wellness Pathway #253 The pH Balance

In last week’s Wellness Pathway on The Calcium Balance, I introduced the concept of the acid-base balance in our body as critical to calcium retention and the prevention of osteoporosis as well as other chronic diseases associated with calcium deficiency. This week we are going to explore this concept more fully, in order to understand both its mechanism and its importance.

When it comes to measuring acidity and alkalinity, scientists speak in terms of pH. This stands for “the potential of Hydrogen” to chemically bind to molecules and ions in a solution. A low pH is a strong acid. A high pH is a strong base or alkali. On a scale of 0 to 14, 7 represents the neutral point of pure water.

The human body is designed to maintain a normal pH of 7.35 to 7.45. In other words, the human body works best in a slightly alkaline, but almost neutral, condition. If the pH gets low (acidosis) or high (alkalosis) we end up with specific problems that can be life threatening. 

Fortunately, the human body does a pretty good job of maintaining its pH balance without any thought on our part. And it does so, in part, by releasing or not releasing calcium and phosphorus from the bones into the blood supply. If the pH dips low, the body releases more calcium and phosphorus in order to buffer the acid while the kidneys work harder to remove it from the system. As the pH rises, the body releases less and the kidneys relax.

That said, we impact this process by the foods we eat. Protein, for example, is hard to digest, so the body generates more stomach acid to help with the digestion, which eventually has to be neutralized either by other foods, supplements, or the body itself. Grains, cheeses, meat, fish, legumes, and salty foods all produce an acid load in the body that has to be dealt with.

And that is one reason why a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet can be harmful to the human body. Fruits and vegetables produce an alkaline load. In the absence of fruits and vegetables, or chemical buffers such as calcium carbonate, the body not only has to work harder to maintain its pH balance, but it depletes the bones and wears out the kidneys in the process. Over time, this contributes to the diseases of aging.

That’s part of why I have more or less eliminated certain food groups from my diet, such as grains and dairy, why I opt for low-salt foods, and why I pay attention to my consumption of both animal and vegetable protein. It’s easier on the body when we eat an abundance of fresh fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. Osteoporosis is only one condition which develops from a chronic pH imbalance; others include high blood pressure, stroke, kidney stones, asthma, and even insomnia.

Coaching Inquiries: So what about you? Do you eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables? Or do you eat more grains, cheeses, meat, fish, legumes, and salty foods? Are you making it harder or easier on your body to maintain its pH balance? How could your eating patterns become more healthy?

To reply to this Pathway, use our Feedback Form. To learn more about our Wellness Coaching programs and to arrange for a complimentary wellness coaching session, use our Contact Form or Email Bob.

May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.

Bob Tschannen-Moran

President, LifeTrek Coaching Internationalwww.LifeTrekCoaching.com
CEO & Co-Founder, Center for School Transformationwww.SchoolTransformation.com
2010-2011 President, International Association of Coachingwww.CertifiedCoach.org

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