By Josh Redd, DC on October 13, 2016
The average American diet, which is high in junk foods and low in vegetables, makes your body overly acidic. Body pH is important, you must maintain an optimal pH for proper cellular function. If you are too acidic, you are more prone to disease and inflammation.
Being overly acidic makes you more prone to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, chronic pain, inflammation, autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto's hypothyroidism, and other chronic diseases and problems.
The good news is you can nudge your body toward a more alkaline state through changes to your diet.
How to know you are too acidic
Most people don't know they are too acidic. Below are common symptoms of excess acidity:
- Swelling and bloating
- Frequent urination
- Poor brain function
- Brain fog
- Salt cravings
- Muscle cramps
- Muscle twitches
- Reduced endurance for exercise
- Difficulty holding breath
- Rapid, shallow breathing
- Poor sleep
How to test whether you are too acid
You can test pH levels through several different methods, but don't be fooled into thinking they're all the same. For instance, the salivary pH test is the most popular, it does not scientific support.
Blood pH testing is also not accurate. The body tightly regulates blood pH and it only fluctuates with acute events such as as poisoning, kidney disease, or lung disease. However, a blood test can be useful in other ways. If you look at blood ranges from a functional medicine perspective, the markers of CO2 and anion gap can identify patterns of over acidity.
Testing your pH through urine, however, can accurately reflect how acidic you are. You can also use it during your dietary changes to help you assess whether eating more leafy green veggies and less sugar are helping you become more alkaline.
Urinary pH should be between 7.2–7.8. However, infections, bacterial overgrowth, dehydration, incontinence, and other issues can make your results inaccurate.
How to shift your body to become more alkaline?
The standard American diet (SAD) causes the body to become too acidic. The following dietary habits promote excess acidity:
- Processed starches
- Industrialized oils
- Junk foods
- Excess caffeine
- Too much meat
- Lack of ample vegetables and fruits
You don't have to be a vegan or vegetarian to attain good alkalinity. But your diet should revolve around leafy green and colorful vegetables and fruits.
An alkaline diet is high in magnesium, potassium, calcium, and other minerals.
A diet that is plant-rich also maintains healthy gut bacteria so that you healthier immune function.
Your stomach should be acidic
Your need a strongly acidic stomach to digest proteins and fight pathogens. Insufficient stomach acidity paradoxically causes symptoms of acid reflux. Taking supplemental hydrochloric acid (as long as you don’t have ulcers) can promote a healthy pH. Avoid bicarbonate-based antacid medications.
Some health conditions promote over acidity
Being overly acidic promotes poor health, but certain health conditions can promote acidity. They include anemia, asthma, low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), or high blood sugar (insulin resistance or diabetes).
If acidity is severe it becomes life threatening. Diseases that cause severe acidity that includes diabetes, kidney disease, and lung disease.
Contact my office for ideas on how diet and nutritional therapy can help improve alkalinity and health.
About Dr. Josh Redd, Chiropractic Physician — Utah, Arizona, New Mexico functional medicine
Dr. Joshua J. Redd, DC, MS, DABFM, DAAIM, author of The Truth About Low Thyroid: Stories of Hope and Healing for Those Suffering With Hashimoto's Low Thyroid Disease
, is a chiropractic physician and the founder of RedRiver Health and Wellness Center
with practices in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. He sees patients from around the world who suffer from challenging thyroid disorders, Hashimoto's disease, and other autoimmune conditions. In addition to his chiropractic degree, Dr. Redd has a BS in Health and Wellness, a BS in Anatomy, and a MS in Human Nutrition and Functional Medicine. He speaks across the nation, teaching physicians about functional blood chemistry, low thyroid, Hashimoto's, and autoimmunity. You can join his Facebook page here