Alkalise or Die? Not Quite…

Does your body want to be alkaline? Actually, no, not really. Your blood PH wants to be neutral and will do whatever it can to try to maintain that state. For example, calcium will be leached from the bones into the blood if there is too much acidity. But, alkalosis is as dangerous as acidosis.

It’s another silly doing the rounds, but taking bicarbonate of soda is unlikely to alkalise your blood – it may just neutralise your stomach acid. Will it stop you getting cancer? Well, how did all the working-poor medical researchers miss this one?

So….neutralising your stomach acid with a small amount of bicarb is probably OK in small doses if you are suffering from heartburn, reflux or indigestion. But if these conditions are on-going, the causes plus longer term solutions need to be addressed. Because, while heartburn is dangerous for the stomach and oesophagus, taking any type of medication for these types of ailments is also detrimental in the long term. Stomach acid exists for a reason – to break down food and to ward off dangerous microbes. People who take medications (or ingest bicarb long term because they think it’s healthy) for reflux are in danger of upsetting their stomach flora and the ability of the gut to ward off infection. This actually makes them prone to more serious illness.

When it comes to blood acidity, your body tends to be a little more acidic after an activity where the breathing has slowed (hypo-ventilation) because you are calm – such as yoga or meditation. To balance the PH, it is likely that in this state, a person will be drawn to lighter, more alkaline foods. Hence, most yogis tend to be thinner than average.

The opposite is true if you have been involved in an activity where the tendency is to breathe more (hyper-ventilate), such as running, uphill walking or swimming – or, even just something stressful! Hyper-ventilation causes the body to alkalise slightly and sometimes it can make us feel a bit agitated and/or light-headed. After participating in activities like this, many people find themselves incredibly hungry and often carbs and high-protein food are very difficult to resist! Again, this is the body’s way of balancing the PH.