The internal environment of our bodies is maintained at a pH of just about 7.0. This means our internal environment is alkaline. Maintenance of this state is a dynamic, not static, process mediated moment to moment by numerous reactions that produce acid products. Our internal chemical equilibrium is primarily controlled by our lungs, kidneys, intestines, and skin. For necessary reactions and functions to occur, our body must maintain a proper pH. Adequate alkaline reserves are necessary for optimal pH adjustment. The body needs oxygen, water, and acid-buffering minerals to accomplish the pH buffering, while also briskly eliminating waste products.
When an alkaline environment is maintained in the body, metabolic, enzymatic, immunologic, and repair mechanisms function at their best. The acid-forming metabolics of stress and inflammation and of high fat and high protein foods are adequately and effectively neutralized only when sufficient mineral-buffering reserves are present. Mineral-buffering reserves are the gift that alkaline-forming foods give to our body. A diet that is predominantly alkaline-forming is essential to the maintenance of sustained health.
Most vegetables and fruits contain higher proportions of alkaline-forming elements than other foods. These foods promote a more alkaline environment in the body. For example, commercial corn, barley, soybeans, and legumes are acid forming. This may reflect breeding selection in the last fifty years that favored higher carbohydrate and fat content. Traditional organically or biodynamically grown forms of these grains and grasses may well be much less acid forming. Surprisingly, despite their pronounced acid flavor, citrus fruit and rhubarb form alkaline residues. This is because their distinctive organic acids like citric, succinic, fumaric, and malic (Krebs' DCA or dicarboxylic acid) metabolize to water and alkalinizing bicarbonate, while producing energy (ATP) inside the cell.
Body balance, in terms of acid-alkaline state, is a pH of 7.450 for blood in the arteries, and 7.350 for blood in the veins. Acid-alkaline equivalence is a pH of 7.000. Thus, a healthy body means a pH that is slightly alkaline. This means there are more buffering mineral receptors for electrons than acid-forming electron donors.
In foods containing large amounts of protein and fat, the acid-forming elements predominate over the alkaline-forming elements. Thus, cow's milk and related dairy products are acid-forming, although goat and sheep milk/cheeses (with less fat and protein) produce less acid. The one diary product exception is clarified butter (known as "ghee" in Indian cookery), which has alkalinizing short chain fats known as butyrates and caprylates. The butyrates and caprylates present in ghee are also thought to promote healthy bacterial growth in the intestines, promote repair of the intestine wall, and suppress pathogen growth of some yeasts and parasites if they are present.
Whole grains give an acid reaction disproportionate to their protein content due to the extra phosphorus present in the phytates. The phosphate content of commercial grains may be higher than traditional, organic, or biodynamic sources in part because of fertilizer differences and plant strain selection. Although most fruits have an alkaline effect, some such as prunes, plums, and cranberries make a net contribution of acid to the body since they contain organic acids that are not metabolized by the body. Nuts such as coconuts, Almonds, and chestnuts are alkaline forming, while others like peanuts (a legume) and walnuts yield net acid. Highly refined and processed foods consisting chiefly of fats, sugars, and simple starches, along with protein-rich foods are metabolically acidifying.
Acid- and Alkaline-Forming Foods
That fact that a food or food product is acidic or alkaline in and of itself doesn't mean it creates acid or alkalinity in the body. It depends on how it is chemically metabolized in the body. The lists below illustrate which common foods are acid-forming and which are alkaline-forming.
(Sourced from "Alternatives - For the Health Conscious Individual", Vol 9, No. 11, May 2002)
By William Wolcott,
Founder, The Healthexcel System of Metabolic Typing
For many years, so-called nutritional experts advocated a low protein, low fat, high carbohydrate diet as the perfect diet for all of us. They promised that we’d lose weight and lower our cholesterol while simultaneously improving our health and fitness.
Well, they turned out to be wrong, dead wrong for some and seriously wrong for millions of others. Instead of fulfilling its promise, this latest "right diet for all people" to come down the pike produced a rise in obesity like this country has never seen, along with the "bonus" side-effect of an ever-growing epidemic in diabetes.
Today we find ourselves on the cusp of the pendulum poised to swing the other way.
Recent scientific studies have "discovered" that just maybe the high carb, low protein/fat diet is not so good after all, and that what really is the best "right diet for all people" is a high protein, low carb diet. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that reality once again will prove to be different than expected. In a few years, there will be a fallout of just as many people suffering in the wake of this "new" pendulum swing as from the last one.
The problems will be different, but the "casualty rate" will be about the same. Metabolic Typing, the science of individualized nutrition, reveals why this will be the case.
Through Metabolic Typing, it has been learned that the answer to the question of the right diet lies with your genes -- not whim, fancy or philosophical belief, or even in scientific research, at least not in the way it is being performed today.
Previous studies have shown benefit to the low protein/fat, high carb diet as well as the opposite diet of high protein/fat, low carb diet.
But basic premises of Metabolic Typing such as the idea of biochemical individuality, or that the same nutrient can have different effects in different Metabolic Types, or that the same disease can arise in different Metabolic Types for totally opposite biochemical reasons, have far-reaching effects and shatter many current en vogue myths of nutrition.
Here are some examples that not only offer some valuable, practical information, but also reveal greater insight into the exciting new world of Metabolic Typing:
MYTH: A vegetarian diet or a diet high in fruits and vegetables and low in protein and fat is good for you.
REALITY: If it's wrong for your Metabolic Type, meaning, if it is not in line with your ancestral diet, your genetically-based nutritional requirements, this diet can make you sicker or create new health problems for you. There are no "good" foods and there are no "bad" foods, except in terms of the requirements of your unique Metabolic Type.
MYTH: The Healthy Diet
REALITY: There's no such thing as a diet that is universally healthy for everyone. This applies to any diet that is purportedly right for all people -- whether it’s the Atkins Diet, MacDougall Diet, Ornish Diet, (or pick any diet you can think of!). The only diet that is healthy for you is the diet that is right for your Metabolic Type. Only that diet meets your inherited needs for nutrients.
MYTH: To lose weight you need to reduce calories and limit fat (or limit protein or limit carbs).
REALITY: Fat doesn't make you fat. Protein doesn't make you fat. Carbohydrates don't make you fat. And even calories per se don't make you fat. But what does make you fat is the inability to properly metabolize, or convert to energy, carbs, proteins, fats and calories.
If you're overweight, you're actually starving -- starving for the right balance of nutrients that will increase your metabolic rate and convert to energy the food you're eating instead of storing it as fat.
Eat the right foods for your Metabolic Type and eat the right ratios of macronutrients (proteins, fats, carbs) and you’ll be giving your body the right kind of fuel for your engines of metabolism. Science is beginning to awaken to the idea that much of what our bodies do with food is in our genes.
MYTH: To lose weight all you need to do is reduce calories and exercise more.
REALITY: Millions of people have done just that, but in most cases have not only failed to lose weight, but gained weight instead. Worse, for most people, reducing calories has led to food cravings, binge or yo-yo dieting, mood swings and energy fluctuations.
Only by giving your body food that it can efficiently convert to energy will you lose weight permanently. Only then can watching calories and exercising regularly make a real and lasting difference.
Best of all, when you eat right for your Metabolic Type, when your body fully converts to energy the food you eat, gone forever will be the gnawing hunger, food cravings, binges, mood swings and energy fluctuations that normally are associated with "dieting."
MYTH: If you take lots of supplements and "cover all your bases," your body will take what it needs and discard the rest.
REALITY: This is like saying that if you hold a flame under your outstretched hand, your body will take whatever heat it needs and throw off the rest. Such ideas ignore the reality of cause and effect. If you apply a flame to skin, the skin will burn. Fire has specific physical properties that apply wherever fire is present.
Similarly, nutrients have very precise effects on the body -- either stimulating or sedating, acidifying or alkalinizing. Every supplement you consume will either stimulate or sedate specific organs, systems and fundamental control mechanisms.
Take the wrong nutrients or the wrong formulations for your Metabolic Type and you will worsen your existing imbalances or create new imbalances and all of the problems that go with them. Nutrients indeed have the power to heal, but they also have the power to make you ill if they are wrong for your Metabolic Type.
MYTH: Everyone should take calcium (or vitamin C, or anti-oxidants, etc.).
REALITY: Nothing could be further from the truth. Through Metabolic Typing, we know that any nutrient can have opposite effects in different Metabolic Types. This is why a nutrient can help correct a condition in one person, have little or no effect on another person, or worsen the same condition in a different Metabolic Type.
Thus the old adage, "one’s food is another’s poison." This is why you should only take those supplements that are right for your Metabolic Type. Every nutrient raises or lowers up to 9 other nutrients in your body. So taking therapeutic doses of vitamin C can actually, for example, cause cancer (vitamin C lowers copper, so if you are already deficient in copper and take high therapeutic doses of vitamin C, you can seriously compromise your immune system).
Taking too much calcium can actually cause osteoporosis (in order for calcium to be utilized, it needs certain synergistic nutrients and if you are already low in those synergistic nutrients, taking more calcium will only further deplete the existing deficient levels, worsening any problems relating to calcium metabolism).
Eating a low-fat diet can actually raise cholesterol (if it further disturbs the body's cholesterol metabolism, e.g., certain metabolic types paradoxically need to eat a high-fat diet to promote efficient cholesterol metabolism). Of course, everyone needs all the nutrients in order to be healthy . . . but not in therapeutic doses. So before you start supplementing your diet, it’s best to know your Metabolic Type.
MYTH: Nutrients are nutrients. It doesn't matter what form they are in.
REALITY: The carriers of nutrients are just as powerful -- in some cases even more powerful -- in their effects on metabolism as the nutrients themselves. Depending on your Metabolic Type, any nutrient can be acidifying or alkalinizing.
For example, in a Parasympathetic (alkaline) Metabolic Type, calcium is acidifying, but in a Fast Oxidizer, calcium is alkalinizing. So, it is important that an acid form of calcium (e.g., calcium chloride) be used if you’re an alkaline Parasympathetic type metabolizer, but that an alkaline form of calcium (calcium citrate) be used if you’re an acidic Fast Oxidizer.
Otherwise, the nutritional supplement will at best have a neutral effect, and at worst, actually worsen your existing imbalances. You can take the best supplements money can buy, but if they are not right for your Metabolic Type -- the right nutrients and the right forms of the nutrients -- they won’t produce the result you’re looking for and can end up making you worse than before.
MYTH: Drink lots of orange juice to help get rid of a cold
REALITY: Colds and flu's are viruses and viruses thrive in an alkaline biochemical environment. Citrus juice, because it is such a highly alkalinizing food, is one of the worst things you can ingest to prevent and fight off a cold or flu virus. Interestingly, cold weather produces an alkaline shift in the body.
In addition, the most powerful alkalinizing substances in your diet are sugar, alcohol, caffeine, salt (and nicotine), the very substances that tend to increase in our diets during cold weather and the holidays. Beginning with Halloween, and going on through Thanksgiving, Christmas and the New Year's celebrations, the amounts of these highly alkalinizing substances dramatically increase in our diets.
When you consider the elevation of those alkaline foods in our diets in combination with the alkaline effect of the cold weather, is it any wonder that time of year has come to be known as "the cold & flu season?" At the first sign of a cold or flu, try to acidify your system by increasing protein and decreasing carbohydrates, particularly fruits (especially citrus) and the alkaline substances listed above.
When you buy a new car, one of the first things you learn is the kind of fuel it uses. You wouldn’t want to use the wrong kind of fuel for fear of damaging the engine, not to mention the fact that its performance would suffer dramatically.
You would do well to adopt the same attitude towards your own body. Remember that your body is designed to be healthy, but in order to run efficiently, it must be given the right fuel, the kind of fuel it is genetically programmed to utilize.
You can eat the best organic foods, take the finest supplements money can buy, drink plenty of pure water, get sufficient rest and exercise regularly, but if you do not meet the needs of your Metabolic Type, you’ll only be wasting your time and money.
Give your body what it needs and you’ll enjoy a lifetime of good health, energy and well-being.
Your ancestors’ place of origin may determine how your body burns calories, according to a recent study.
In the study, researchers analyzed gene sequences from the mitochondria of 104 people. Mitochondria, present in all cells, produce energy and play a role in regulating metabolism. The DNA in mitochondria, which is inherited maternally, varies greatly by geographic region.
People whose relatives came from cold, arctic climates have gene adaptations that allow their bodies to produce more heat while burning calories. On the contrary, those whose ancestors came from warmer climates tend to produce little extra heat and use calories more efficiently. Researchers say that these adaptations are evidence of natural selection in which genes evolved to account for environmental stresses.
Mitochondrial gene variants helped natives to survive in their original environment; however, these adaptations may not be beneficial when people relocate to different climates. For example, those with ancestors from arctic climates have gene variants that allow their bodies to put out less energy, therefore keeping them warm more efficiently. However, if they move to a warmer climate this variant is no longer necessary.
Researchers say that these variants, which were once beneficial, may now be contributing to present day disorders such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease and neurodegenerative diseases as people adopt different lifestyles than their ancestors.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 2002;10.1073/pnas.0136972100
Elderly individuals who indulge in chocolates and jelly beans at the expense of vegetables and fruits may be at risk for thinning bones and fractures.
The findings provide additional information on how people may be able to protect themselves from osteoporosis, the brittle-bone disease that affects many older people. While research has shown that calcium and vitamin D can help preserve bone, less is known about the effects of other nutrients.
Investigators interviewed more than 900 men and women aged 69 to 93 about their diets, and measured their bone mineral density at a number of different skeletal sites.
Diets were categorized into one of six groups according to the foods from which individuals derived the bulk of their calories: meat, dairy, and bread; meat and sweet baked products; sweet baked products; alcohol; candy; and fruit, vegetables, and cereal.
Men who consumed primarily fruit and vegetables had denser bones overall, compared with their peers who ate less healthy diets.
Women in the candy group had the lowest average bone mineral density at the majority of skeletal sites. Bone mineral density in one of the areas measured at the hip, for instance, was nearly 12% lower among women in the candy group than among women in the fruit and vegetables group. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition July 2002;76:245-252