T Nation

Alkaline Diet


#1

My mom met some natural health people who have sold her on the whole alkaline/acid balance as being the key to good health. These people also told her to tell me that my allergies can be cured by getting my body in an alkaline state. I'm wondering what are some good critiques of this idea out there. I don't want to dismiss this idea out of hand, though I admit I'm skeptical, these same people said that I probably have a good digestive system*thud*.

What is this new diet idea? Is there any validity to it?


#2

Crazy freaking coincidence as I am looking to adjust my acid-alkaline balance right now. A couple of years ago, I started having TERRIBLE digestive problems that no doctor and no over-the-counter product can seem to fix. I seem to have intolerances/allergies to just about everything.

I am consulting with a traditional M.D. who, like me and some of the other M.D.s I'd seen, believe that my symptoms (which have been loosely dubbed "IBS") is related to an immune dysfunction. This doctor's position was that I need to do things to lower the immune response in my gut. This means:

1) Eating foods that are less likely to trigger an immune response (i.e., avoiding dairy and wheat, focusing more on rice and fish, etc.)

2) Taking fats that reduce inflammation, which should in turn reduce intestinal permeability (i.e., leaky gut).

3) Focusing on an alkaline diet.

The last one surprised me as I never heard of a relationship between acid-alkaline balance and immune response. But he was very insistent on it and said that when the body is in a state of acidosis (meaning the tissues and serum are too acidic), the body is in a form of low-grade stress that causes the immune system to be on alert.

Just yesterday I read an article by Berardi, http://www.T-Nation.com/findArticle.do?article=269cov2, in which he cited studies that show that acidosis causes a chronic hypercortisol state and lowers thyroid function: these are both things that your body does during an infection/illness (secrets more cortisol and slows down thyroid function).

All of this was a big connect-the-dot moment for me because I am slightly hypothyroid and have elevated cortisol levels. Especially when I consider the type of diet I was eating when everything went to hell: Lots of red meat and dairy (both acid forming foods), some grains (more acid), and little fruit or veg (alkaline). Everything starting to make sense.

So yesterday I went to the store and got pH strips to test my urine. I believe it is supposed to be a little above 7.0 (alkaline). It was no higher than 5.5. That is pretty damn acidic for urine.

Strategies include eating more fruit, eating more veggies, and reducing grain and protein consumption (esp. grain). Unfortunately, I also appear to have issues with fructose and fiber, so eating a lot of fruit will be hard for me. This is possibly where Superfood might come in as it appears to be a concentrated source of alkalizing elements. I believe spinach and raisins are some of the more alkaline-forming foods you can get your hands on.


#3

adding lemons/limes to your water will help as well. Acidic going in, yes, but they will raise your pH during digestion.


#4

Hmmmmm, let me know how this works out for you bro. But how do you know that your digestive problems are not being caused because of food sensitivities?

I'm just wondering whether or not pH levels really matter. Just asking, because I switched to a predominately meat based diet about 6 months ago because of my allergies, and bro, I'm LOVING IT. Seriously, I spent four years in misery, would get random dark rings around my eyes and get extremely fatigued, and just have all of the symptoms of an allergic reaction, and I had that for FOUR years. I'm 20, and from 16 to just recently my health has kind of sucked, even though I've trained like a madman. And now this new alkaline thing is telling me to stop eating so much meat*rages*.

Really though, just since food sensitivities have been the root of my problems(as well as eating too much I think), I'm inclined to think that a lot of the results people get from doing the alkaline diet is just because they drastically reduce the two foods that most people can't handle--grains and dairy.

I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to these things, but what evidence is there that pH levels really matter?


#5

How can they possibly make these conclusions without even a blood test?

I think you're wise not to automatically dismiss it, but seriously, the fact that they're trying to pass this off as a cureall for you even though they've never met you or performed any sort of medical examination of your symptoms makes for a pretty big blip on my bullshit meter.


#6

Here is a great page on alkalinity. About half way down it has a well constructed chart showing the best alkaline foods for different categories, go to town on it.

www.trans4mind.com/nutrition/pH.html


#7

Exactly. :slight_smile:


#8

Yeah, will do for sure. I think the sensitivities is a big part of it, but that's kind of my point: Having food sensitivities is not normal and may be the result of acidosis. That said, I'm not saying you should drop the meat, especially if that is working for you. I would just do things to focus on balancing your pH. As another poster suggested, drinking lemon-lime water is a really good way to do this. So, too, is eating beets or drinking beet juice. Eating greens is another good option. Taking Superfood might be another. Supplementing glutamine may also help.

In any event, can you describe your diet right now? What sort of things are you eating? What health problems did you have before? What changes did you notice?