Friday, September 23, 2011

Acid/Alkaline Foods - The Debate Continues...

First, let's look at how our digestive system works.

Organs that make up the digestive tract are the mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, large intestine—also called the colon—rectum, and anus. Inside these hollow organs is a lining called the mucosa. In the mouth, stomach, and small intestine, the mucosa contains tiny glands that produce juices to help digest food. The digestive tract also contains a layer of smooth muscle that helps break down food and move it along the tract.

Two “solid” digestive organs, the liver and the pancreas, produce digestive juices that reach the intestine through small tubes called ducts. The gallbladder stores the liver's digestive juices until they are needed in the intestine. Parts of the nervous and circulatory systems also play major roles in the digestive system.

Swallowed food is pushed into the esophagus, which connects the throat above with the stomach below. At the junction of the esophagus and stomach, there is a ringlike muscle, called the lower esophageal sphincter, closing the passage between the two organs. As food approaches the closed sphincter, the sphincter relaxes and allows the food to pass through to the stomach.

The stomach has three mechanical tasks. First, it stores the swallowed food and liquid. To do this, the muscle of the upper part of the stomach relaxes to accept large volumes of swallowed material. The second job is to mix up the food, liquid, and digestive juice produced by the stomach. The lower part of the stomach mixes these materials by its muscle action. The third task of the stomach is to empty its contents slowly into the small intestine.

Several factors affect emptying of the stomach, including the kind of food and the degree of muscle action of the emptying stomach and the small intestine. Carbohydrates, for example, spend the least amount of time in the stomach, while protein stays in the stomach longer, and fats the longest. As the food dissolves into the juices from the pancreas, liver, and intestine, the contents of the intestine are mixed and pushed forward to allow further digestion.

Finally, the digested nutrients are absorbed through the intestinal walls and transported throughout the body. The waste products of this process include undigested parts of the food, known as fiber, and older cells that have been shed from the mucosa. These materials are pushed into the colon, where they remain until the feces are expelled by a bowel movement.

Now, let's see what happens when the digested nutrients are absorbed into the blood.

All cells in the body continually exchange chemicals (e.g.,nutrients, waste products, and ions) with the external fluid surrounding them. This external fluid, in turn, exchanges chemicals with the blood being pumped throughout the body. A dominant mode of exchange between these fluids (cellular fluid, external fluid, and blood) is diffusion through membrane channels, due to a concentration gradient associated with the contents of the fluids. Hence, the chemical composition of the blood (and therefore of the external fluid) is extremely important for the cell. If, for instance, the pH of the blood and external fluid is too low (too many H+ ions), then an excess of H+ ions will enter the cell. As mentioned above, maintaining the proper pH is critical for the chemical reactions that occur in the body. In order to maintain the proper chemical composition inside the cells, the chemical composition of the fluids outside the cells must be kept relatively constant. This constancy is known in biology as homeostasis.

The body has a wide array of mechanisms to maintain homeostasis in the blood and extracellular fluid. The most important way that the pH of the blood is kept relatively constant is by buffers dissolved in the blood. Other organs help enhance the homeostatic function of the buffers. The kidneys help remove excess chemicals from the blood. It is the kidneys that ultimately remove (from the body) H+ ions and other components of the pH buffers that build up in excess. Acidosis that results from failure of the kidneys to perform this excretory function is known as metabolic acidosis. However, excretion by the kidneys is a relatively slow process, and may take too long to prevent acute acidosis resulting from a sudden decrease in pH (e.g., during exercise). The lungs provide a faster way to help control the pH of the blood. The increased-breathing response to exercise helps to counteract the pH-lowering effects of exercise by removing CO2, a component of the principal pH buffer in the blood. Acidosis that results from failure of the lungs to eliminate CO2 as fast as it is produced is known as respiratory acidosis.

Somethings about pH
  • The human body is SLIGHTLY acidic when it is in a state of health.
  • The Ideal range for the human BODY is suggested, by some sources, as between 6.1 and 7.0. Others indicate a preference for 6.5 to 7.5, taking into account variances during the day in accord with metabolic cycles.
  • North American blood levels often fall between 7.25 and 7.45, which is slightly alkaline. When blood pH falls between towards 6.35 (too acidic) hemoglobin in the blood deteriorates and the red blood cells cannot carry adequate oxygen to the tissues. When muscles, and connective tissues are too acidic, acidosis is experienced.  
  • A healthy vagina produces a normal discharge which acts as a natural cleanser and when maintaining an acidic pH level of 3.5 to 4.5 (very acidic), it keeps a balance between healthy and unhealthy bacteria, fungi and viruses in that area.
  • The pH level of one's breath will be a combination of the pH level of the air being exhausted from the lungs plus the influence of pH levels in the sinuses and the mouth.
  • The ideal pH for the human body will vary from individual to individual and compensate for a variety of factors including these:
      • Basic Personality;
      • Energy blocks;
      • Imprinting;
      • Blood Type;
      • Education;
      • Culture;
      • Food.
  • The manner in which one interacts with their environment and themselves will influence their pH level.
  • To reach the Optimum pH, the factors above, would act on the ideal pH of a particular person's body so as to influence it up, or down, to the optimum pH.  
  • Persons who are intense and/or passionate will tend to exert more influence on their pH balance from day to day than someone less so. Negative emotions increases acidity.
Some observations.
So all digested foods from the stomach is acidic. It enters the small intestines and depends on the pancreas to neutralizes the stomach acids. For people with chronic diseases like cancer, the pancreas does not function optimally and hence unable to neutralize the stomach acids fully allowing an acidic environment to exist. It also does not produce enough pancreatic enzymes. Dr William Kelley (in his book One Answer To Cancer) says "Malignancy indicates an active pancreatic enzyme deficiency." At least 86% of all cancer conditions could be adequately treated and/or prevented by diet and pancreatic enzymes. You can read Dr Kelley's book here.
So, how does taking in alkaline foods which becomes acidic in the stomach due to the stomach acids make our body more alkaline? Is it a unsustainable claim? It looks like Dr Gabe Mirkin, M.D.  is right.

My personal experience is this. I have been on the alkaline diet for more than two years now. I don't think my body is much more alkaline than when I started the diet. There is one way to forced the body to become more alkaline. Please see Dr. Waltraut Fryda's Dextrorotatory Lactic Acid.

Please share your views.


  1. Hi C.T.,

    Thanks for the above article, I think most of the readers like me had found it very interesting. Personally, I believe some contents are highly hypothetical at this moment but I hope it can be proven in the near future.
    Thank you brother for your sharing.

  2. Thank you for your comments.

    I would like you to know the information pertaining to the "Digestive system" and also "How chemicals are exchanged in the body" are not hypothetical. They are taken from credible and authoritative sources.

    The "Digestive system" is taken from the US Department of Health and Human Services ( while the source of "How chemicals are exchanged in the body" was taken from Washington University in St. Louis (

    The rest of the information was taken from various sources.

    What I hope to archive with these articles are that when you next read any article about how alkaline foods make your body more alkaline, asked the question "How is it actually done by the body?" Most authors don't explain and rely on reasoning or as you put it, hypothetical.

  3. Hi C.T.,
    My apologies, what I meant by hypothetical was relating to the part about alkaline and acidic foods. I can't visualise in what context does it refer to. But one thing I am certain, you have proven that it make sense eventhough people from the medical fraternity find it difficult to accept. In short, indeed we are humble by your experience.

  4. Dear Richard,

    I hope this would help, I quote a part of the article (no intention to discredit the author):

    "... But while the body can achieve a more balanced pH level with the consumption of alkaline foods,..." (taken from

    The stomach is already so acidic, how is the body’s going to achieve a balanced pH? If the alkaline foods which is now acidic get neutralised of its acidity in the small intestines, then credit should go to the pancreas and not the alkaline foods.

    I read so many books about alkaline foods and have accepted the author's reasoning but without asking how? But now after reading these articles, I am having a different view.

    Anyway, it is the alternative medical world that many of us find hope.

  5. BT, I will like to comment on how alkaline water helps in maintaining body pH.

    As you mentioned in your writeup one of the way to maintain body pH or homeostasis is using buffers in the blood. When our body (cells, tissues) is acidic the body will use the alkaline buffers (mainly bicarbonates) to neutralize the excess acidic waste.

    What happens when we consume alkaline water. As the alkaline water enters the stomach, it will increase the pH of the gastric juices(mainly hydrochloric acid) making it less acidic. Our stomach cells are specialized cells which will automatically produce more acid to maintain the pH of gastric juices back to its original state (around pH 3.5). To do that it will need to produce bicarbonate (alkaline buffers) which enters the blood. The chemical reaction is as flws:-
    NaCl2 +CO2 + H2O --> 2HCL + NaHCO3

    Basically the act of drinking alkaline water is to help top up the alkaline buffers in our blood, something like a battery charger. Most people who suffers from degenerative diseases have very low alkaline buffers in the blood. This is how alkaline water benefits health as it helps maintain homeostasis. Of coz alkaline water has other benefits as explained in your section on "Alkaline Water"

    The reason why i write this comment is because most people do not understand the body physiology on how our stomach cells work. Most simply said tht becoz of stomach acidity, consuming alkaline water is useless as expoused by Mirkin.

    1. Acidity and Alkalinity in the body CANNOT be taken with a flavour that it is about standard 'laboratory chemicals' in action. No, it is far more complex than laboratory chemistry. It is made more complex by the dearth on institutionalised knowledge on this subject; the dearth being due to a deliberate or indeliberate avoidance of this central topic which revolves around the basic concept of OH- and H+ ions.

      Acidity means the equilibrium tipped to a proliferation of H+ ions; and conversely Alkalinity means the equilibrium tipped to a proliferatio of OH- ions.

      Unless one comes back to this simple basic understanding, there will be misjudgments and misunderstandings on why Alkalization is the way to go.

      Alkalization is NOT about alkaline products outside of the body; Acidity is NOT about acidic products outside of the body.

      Alkalization is about the way some foods interact with the various 'chemical soup' in the body to create OH- ions. Some foods are acidic outside of the body, but once ingested it goes through complex chemical processes to create OH- ions.

      That's why I say 'Acidity / Alkalinity' in body biochemical terms HAS NOT BEEN FULLY STUDIED as yet. That's the real sad story.

  6. Sorry it shd be CT, not BT, my apology..slip of the finger....

  7. Dear Wong,

    Thanks for your clarification.

  8. Another point worth mentioning is that conventional treatment of cancer that use radiation and chemo kills both good and cancer cells. These sudden surge in dead cells makes the body acidic and will adversely affect the body immune system. Hence drinking alkaline water during such treatment helps to ease the body acidity

  9. ha! finally you have given this a thought Chang! am glad.. I dont have much time to post.. but I hope you remember when I vehemently opposed your baking soda theraphy.. my reasoning is aligned to what this article says about "how our body reacts with the food we eat or liquid we drink"..

    all the best to you Chang!

  10. What the acid alkaline diet does is teach people about how different foods break down in the body and the effects these foods have on the bloodstream and overall system. People learn which foods produce acid and which foods produce alkaline. As people eat these foods in a balanced way, their pH levels also become balanced and they enjoy many health benefits.