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Do You Know your pH? You Should!
By Jennifer Morganti, ND, Director of Education for NEEDS

Fatigue, osteoporosis, muscle spasms, sinusitis, insomnia, nerve pains, eczema, poor circulation...could these seemingly unrelated symptoms and conditions possibly have a common thread? The surprising answer is—YES! These symptoms were selected from a much longer list of conditions that can originate from an acidic environment in the body. The good news is that with diligent effort, one can neutralize the acid through a healthy diet and supplementation, and these issues may be resolved without requiring prescription drugs.

The most extreme form of acidosis, recognized in the medical community as metabolic acidosis, is caused by serious disease states such as liver failure, kidney disease, or uncontrolled diabetes. The most severe stage of acidiosis can lead to shock or even death. But even mild, persistent systemic acidity can cause low grade, chronic issues such as inflammation, which is the root cause of many chronic diseases. Inflammation causes painful joints, irritated nerves, and inflamed intestines. The irritated tissues are also vulnerable to microbial infections, and to add insult to injury, acidity impairs the immune system so it cannot fight the infections. Acidity and inflammation don't impact everyone in the same way—symptoms tend to manifest in a person's weakest link. For some people, that might be the joints, so they experience joint pain, and some might incur urinary tract infections, yet both conditions can be a consequence of chronic acidity and inflammation.

Diet is the most significant cause of acidosis. The standard American diet is rich in acidifying foods and deficient in alkalizing foods, particularly vegetables. Stress and illness also impact the body's pH, but diet is the major source of acid. It is highly recommended to read a book like The Acid-Alkaline Diet for Optimum Health by Dr. Christopher Vasey, or the Acid Alkaline Food Guide by Dr. Susan Brown, to better understand the complexities of how foods affect pH and which foods have superior alkalizing activity. The general rule of thumb is that green leafy vegetables, followed by other colored vegetables and fruits, are alkalizing, and sugars, refined carbohydrates, and protein tend to be acidifying. It is helpful to have one of the food guides for reference, because some foods that have acidic qualities actually have an alkalizing effect on the body, such as lemons and vinegar. The books also provide guidelines on how to accurately test pH using pH test strips to track your progress.

Dietary changes are critical for alkalizing but to truly enhance the alkalization process, supplementation is highly recommended. Because vegetables are such an effective way to increase alkalinity, green drinks easily boost the daily veggie intake with just a few gulps. These are available in powdered form- just mix it with water or juice, or if you find the taste to be challenging, you can also take "green foods" in supplement form. Minerals are a good way to alkalinize. Coral calcium provides a broad range of minerals, along with calcium in the carbonate form, which is the most alkalizing form.

Lastly, be sure to use pH test strips to monitor your pH changes. The pH fluctuates throughout the day based on food and beverages that are consumed. It is wise to use alkalizing supplements several times throughout the day to maintain an alkaline environment.