Understanding pH of the body – why you should alkalize it
There are many discussions in the later years about balancing your diet and making your body more alkaline. Naturopaths believe that it is the only way to stay cancer-free. But what does it really mean? What pH balance do we actually need and how is it calculated? In the video above, Dr. Patrick Quillin, the creator of the web portal BeatingCancerWithNutrition clears up any confusion about pH balance in the body. Specifically, he discusses pH in the blood versus pH in the stomach.
First of all, we need to understand what pH means. Ph stands for “potential hydrogen”. In chemistry, you think you can pour substance A and substance B together with enzyme and you would expect that there will be a reaction. But there wouldn’t be a reaction unless there is the right pH. Dr. Quillin explains that pH is on a logarithmic scale. He compares it with the Richter scale for earthquakes, it is a logarithmic scale too.
For example, when we hear that there is a 6 or 7 magnitude earthquake, it is 10 to the 6th power or 10 to the 7th power. So, when the earthquake power is 7, it’s not 16% higher than 6, but it’s 10 times higher or a 1000 percent higher. With the pH in the body, it is the same. In the human body, when doctors measure your arterial pH, a healthy norm is 7.42. If you are unhealthy, it would be 7.35. Below that, you are dead. So there is a very narrow window in which the body can tolerate the pH changes.
Dr. Quillin says that there are mechanisms in the body, the buffering systems, which try to introduce the bicarbonates. Typically, the body is tipping over to be more acidic but the protective systems try to make it sufficiently alkaline. 7 is neutral, 2 is very acidic, 14 is very basic. The body wants to be slightly alkaline in the blood but the stomach has to be very acidic. All digestive enzymes begin to work only in pH 2. Now if you compare the blood acidity and stomach acidity, remember, they are calculated as 10 to the 7th power and 10 to the 2nd power. It means that the body has to work on it and make chemical reactions 1000 times to make a very acidic substance in an otherwise very alkaline environment.
The process is very complex and requires a lot of energy. So when we are sick or stressed, our stomach cannot make enough acid. Then we cannot activate our enzymes that make the nutrients we consume metabolized and used by our bodies properly. To help our bodies, Dr. Quillin recommends adding acids to our meal. For example, squeeze a lemon into the water and drink it before a meal. He claims that he had problems with digestion for a long time but with this simple method, he doesn’t need any pills. Doctor recommends, in general, eating more vegetables, fruits, and plant foods in general. It will keep your acid level balanced while animal products will make your body more acidic.
People usually get confused, how can they consume acidic fruits and make their body alkalized. Dr. Quillin says that when you consume acidic fruits, you make your stomach acidic and help digestion but the body, in general, receives a signal that it has acid in it so it will secrete a bicarbonate buffer into the bloodstream to make sure your blood stream is more alkaline. When you consume protein, for example, meat, your body will create a more acid environment in the blood which is not good. Cancer and fungus are acidic substances, they generate lactic acid as their by-product and that acid compromises the immune system that cannot work at an abnormal pH.
(Updated at Oct 3 / 2023)