Assessing the status of your body’s acid/base balance gives us a clear picture of your ability to heal. There are a number of different chemical processes within your body that produce acids as waste. Overproduction of, or inefficiently excreting acids will result in an acid/base imbalance.
Why is this important?
Your blood NEEDS to maintain a certain pH level. If your blood pH fluctuates by even 0.01 you will die so it is ESSENTIAL for your body to keep this in balance at ALL TIMES. Thankfully your body does this very effectively by giving your blood priority access to bicarbonate. Bicarbonate acts as an alkaline buffering system to maintain healthy pH levels throughout the body.
If your blood requires higher amounts of bicarbonate (due to the increase in acid production from illness, chronic inflammation, stress, etc.) to maintain acid/base balance then there will be less available to the rest of your body. This will create an acidic environment in your extracellular matrix because there is not enough of the buffer (bicarbonate) to bring the pH level up to an alkaline state.
The extracellular matrix is like the scaffolding between the cells in your tissues. When your extracellular matrix is in an acidic state, it becomes quite rigid and inflexible.
This acidity will affect how effectively the cells:
- Stay hydrated
- Eliminate metabolic wastes
- Absorb nutrients
- Defend against bacterial or viral infection(s)
- Produce energy (ATP)
- Respond to hormonal signals
Acid/base balance is such an important process that without healthy pH levels you will struggle to maintain optimal health. pH levels outside the healthy range (i.e. too low OR too high) will have a negative impact on your health.
The following are just some of the symptoms you may experience if you have an acid/base imbalance:
- Dehydration or feeling thirsty all the time (despite drinking a lot of water)
- Feeling tired or sluggish (even after lots of sleep)
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Frequent illnesses (i.e. colds, flus, infections)
- Hormonal imbalances
- Blood sugar imbalances
- Insulin resistance
- Difficulty losing weight
- Joint pain or swelling
- Water retention
- Muscle stiffness or soreness
- Food cravings
- Allergies (food or environment)
- Digestive problems/food sensitivities
How does your body get out of acid/base balance?
None of us are strangers to this. We lead busy lives nowadays often eating on the go or skipping meals, not always getting adequate sleep, or time to just “be”. And then not to mention when something big actually happens and you are faced with grief, fear, or extra responsibilities. This creates a tension on your biochemistry that results in many of your biochemical processes and cycles becoming imbalanced, throwing everything off.
This is a big one that often gets overlooked. How you manage your emotions can either shut you down or keep you in the flow. If you are someone that stifles emotions or tends to “just keep going” through situations that trigger you, then you are placing stress on your body.
The typical North American diet tends to be quite beige (i.e. not a lot of color to it). It is in the varied colors of fruits and vegetables that we receive a variety of essential nutrients. How many colors are you eating every day?
It is quite common to be burning the candle at both ends, either by choice or an inability to sleep. Quality sleep is our time to restore. Melatonin, the sleep hormone, is elevated when you go to bed and slowly drops throughout the night. It is a powerful “house cleaner”. While you sleep this hormone is rejuvenating your system. It is essential to give it time to the work.
Under-recovery from excessive exercise
I love HIIT workouts but they are intensive so you need to consider how much recovery you are giving your body after high intensity exercise. Exercising in this way increases your production of acid, that’s okay as long as you support your body in the correct ways to ensure it is able to maintain acid/base balance (i.e. getting enough protein at the right times, drinking lots of water, ensuring adequate electrolytes, etc.)
How can you start alkalinizing right now?
Lemon or apple cider vinegar in water
Starting your day with a glass of water and fresh lemon or apple cider vinegar can do wonders for alkalinizing the body. More is NOT better in this case so don’t overdo it. A slice of organic lemon or 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar is plenty for most.
Eating a variety of colors
As was previously mentioned, this is one of the contributors to being more acidic so to counteract that make sure to eat a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your day. Dark leafy greens are loaded with minerals that will help act as an alkalinizing buffer.
Green powders or shakes
If you struggle to get enough servings of green vegetables into your day, a green powder can be really beneficial. They are super easy to have on the run and make a great afternoon pick me up at that time of day when many of us get hit with an energy slump.
Training your body to recognize a truly relaxed state is what a daily breath practice can for you. Most of us don’t even know that we spend a lot of our day not really breathing deeply. I love to recommend Dr. Weil’s 4-7-8 breathing as it’s simple and quick. Who doesn’t have 3 minutes per day?!
Epsom salt baths
These are beneficial for so many reasons. If you like to take baths they are extremely relaxing so this helps release the tension that can create imbalance. It’s also beneficial because of the magnesium content of the salts. Minerals, in general, are very alkalinizing so soaking in a hot tub of this can improve your acid/base balance.
Would you like to know where on the spectrum of acid/base balance you are sitting? Schedule a FREE discovery session with me now so we can chat about it.
Dr. Kim Gowetor
Naturopath Sherwood Park
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