Wednesday, 12 August 2009 14:38

The Plain Facts About Alkalinity

Written by  Shelley Jaffe
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Peter Gillham's Nutrition Center in Clearwater, FloridaThere are literally hundreds of books, blogs and information out there on alkalinity in the body. This has led to numerous supplements to help handle alkalinity and litmus paper manufacturers making a mint on strips to see how acid or alkaline your saliva is. But are these readings right and are you actually shutting down your digestive system by trying to handle acidity?

First, it is important to understand that it is NOT the acidity of your digestive tract that determines how acid or alkaline your body is. It is the acidity of your blood and that can ONLY be tested with a blood test. If you suspect your body to be acidic then ask your doctor to order a blood test. There are also labs in this area where you can go and request one of these tests without a doctor’s prescription. If you should choose to do this, I would recommend working with a competent medical professional like a nutrition consultant to help you should your show that you’re acidic. You should understand more about acidity in the body so you have a better idea of how a professional should be handling the situation with you.

Your digestive tract is supposed to be acidic. Digestion starts in your mouth which, if your body is healthy, the pH of your mouth will be 6.0 to 7.5. You don’t want alkaline saliva or it won’t start the breakdown of your food. You also don’t want acidic saliva or it eats at your enamel.

Your stomach should be acidic because it is filled with hydrochloric acid and pepsin which break down your food. You do not want to put things in there that neutralize the acid or your food won’t break down.
And if you are having a problem with “acid reflux” there is a much greater chance that there is too LITTLE stomach acid rather than too much. In the very rare case of someone who actually does have too much acid, I would adjust your diet. In cases of not enough acidity, there are different products like Digestion Essential that a person can take short term which will bring the acid back into balance.

Then we come to the urine, which should have a pH of between 5.0 and 7.0. Ever have a doctor recommend cranberry juice for a bladder infection? It makes the urine more acidic, which makes it impossible for the bacteria to survive.

And that brings us to the foods you eat. You need the right balance of fats (see my previous article on Omega fats online at ). You need to make sure you are eating a good balance of low-fat meats and wild caught (not farmed) fish like salmon and cod. It is also important to eat plenty of vegetables and make sure that you don’t eat refined grains. Sprouted whole grains are the best. Avoid white breads and those soft “whole wheat” breads. Sugars and artificial sweeteners, as well as black tea, milk chocolate and caffeine also form acid in your body and should be avoided or at least eaten sparingly.

If you are eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, chances are your bloodstream is healthy.
If you’re not, then it may be acidic to some degree. If you think it is, get the blood test done and see. If you don’t have someone to work with, call the store at 727-462-5770 and tell them you want a consult with me and they will schedule you. It is easily handled with the right diet.

Shelley Jaffe is a Certified Nutritional Consultant and the Executive Director of Peter Gillham’s Nutrition Center in Downtown Clearwater. You can read more about nutrition and health on her blog at

Read 2479 times Last modified on Tuesday, 29 September 2009 13:34