Acid and Alkaline Balance

Nutrition expert and author of the book Beating Cancer with Nutrition, Patrick Quillin, Ph.D, says that the average person will manifest a cancerous situation about six times over their lifetime, yet only one person in three will go on to develop a detectable tumor. This is because a healthy immune system is able to identify and destroy these cells before they can grow further. It is only when the immune system becomes overwhelmed and fails at this most basic function that cancerous cells are allowed to grow and spread.

Acidic vs alkaline cellular environment

Healthy cells burn oxygen with a small amount of glucose in order to produce their energy.  By contrast, cancerous cells acquire their energy by breaking down large amounts of glucose through a process known as fermentation.

Cellular toxicity has damaged the mitochondria of cancerous cells and this creates dysfunction with their respiration mechanism. When this happens, the cells must switch over to fermenting glucose for their energy instead.  Fermentation of glucose is a much more primitive, much less efficient form of energy production, and this process creates a lactic acid by-product that further acidifies the surrounding tissues creating an ideal internal environment for cancer to grow and spread.

Acidic cells are a precursor for disease-  the Standard American Diet (SAD) is high in meats, dairy, soda, coffee, alcohol, grains, processed foods, fast foods, poor quality fats, sugars, chemical additives, sodium, and is generally very low in the essential vitamins and minerals that your body requires to stay healthy.  When we consume the SAD diet, we are setting ourselves up for disease by creating a low-oxygen, acidic cellular environment where cancer cells, virus and fungus can thrive, this is known as chronic metabolic acidosis.  Some signs of excess acidity include general fatigue, having shortness of breath with minimal exertion, and having general muscular and joint pains. Acidosis is especially problematic because it interferes with nerve function and can also be damaging to the cells. An example of this can be found in white blood cells which are essential for a strong immune system. Poor functioning white blood cells are produced in acidic environments, thus making it easy for infection and diseases to take hold.

pH refers to “potential of hydrogen.The pH scale runs from 1 – 14, with 7 being in the middle (or neutral).  Any number lower than 7 is in the acidic range and any number above 7 is in the alkaline range.   The pH of the different bodily fluids will vary for many reasons. For example, the digestive fluids are highly acidic in order to break down the foods that you eat; urine and vaginal fluids will also measure in the acidic range because this help to keep unfriendly bacteria from colonizing in these areas; the saliva of a healthy individual measures slightly alkaline as this helps prevent tooth decay; and the blood measures slightly alkaline at 7.35-7.45, with your body’s buffering systems working very hard to keep it within that tight range.

How your body maintains a balanced pH:  your kidneys and lungs are continually working to maintain the proper pH, but when this system fails, it will need to draw upon the calcium reserves that are stored in the the skeletal system (since calcium is alkaline).  This creates further health issues as it may lead calcium deposits where they should not be, such as in the breast tissue, the joints (in the form of arthritis or gout), the development of kidney or gallstones, bone spurs, and arterial plaque.

When this secondary buffering system becomes overtaxed, the excess acids are released into the tissues and the cells. Over time, as the cellular acidity continues to increase, many of these cells will become toxic and die as the are programmed to do when something goes wrong, however some of these acidified cells are able to adapt to this harsher environment.  These cells can now function independently from the rest. These cells are abnormal (or malignant).

Acid and Alkaline Ash

The most common method to test whether a food is acidic or alkaline is to incinerate a sample of it and then analyze the mineral content of the ash afterwards. If the ash is high in alkaline minerals, then the food is said to have an alkalizing effect on the body after it has been digested, and conversely, if the ash is low in alkaline minerals, it will leave behind an acidic ash and this will have an acidifying effect on the body.   So whenever you ingest any food or beverage, the end result after the digestion and assimilation of the nutrients should result in either an acid or alkaline-forming effect.  When we eat, we are either providing the body with the abundance of nutrients that it needs in order to maintain optimal health or we are leaving our body in a state of continually drawing upon its mineral reserves until this delicate system can no longer sustain health.

pH scaleMaking changes– unfortunately most of the foods that people are eating today fall into the acid-forming category.

One way to begin to normalize your pH is by stopping your consumption of the Standard American Diet and to begin eating a diet that is rich in fresh organic vegetables. Some of the most alkaline foods are lemons, limes, dark leafy greens, wheatgrass, broccoli, carrots, celery,sprouts, asparagus, and cucumber. 

How many servings of vegetables/fruits should you have per day?  An adult should aim for 15-20 servings of nutrient dense vegetables and at least 3 serving of fresh fruits daily.  Juicing vegetables and making green smoothies are both excellent ways to increase your daily servings.

Use the food chart below to help guide your choices.   To maintain a healthy pH your goal is to eat 70 -80% alkaline foods, with only 20-30% from the acidic side.  The list below gives a general idea of how foods fall into the alkaline/acidic categories, though it should be noted that many of the foods listed as acidic forming would not be appropriate for someone on an anticancer diet.

acid / alkaline food list

  1. Those who are dealing with candida infection should avoid high sugar fruits until this has been remedied as the natural sugars in the fruit will continue to feed the yeasts and they will create a highly acidic waste by-product which will continue to cause acidity issues. Fruits that are okay to eat on an anti-candida diet include granny smith apples, lemons and other citrus, and some berries. You can read more about candida with this post
  2.  Those who are sensitive to nightshades (white potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, cayenne pepper, and paprika) must remove them as they will continue to promote inflammation and acidity.

How to test your pH

You can test your pH level using pH testing strips that are made for saliva and urine. They can be purchased from health food stores or online and can be used as a measurement of what is going on inside of the body. The proper strip to purchase is a narrow or short range, which will measure from 5.0 to 9.5 or so.

To test the saliva:  The first test of the day is immediately upon waking before eating or drinking anything, otherwise you must wait at least two hours after eating or drinking to ensure that the food that you have  consumed does not alter your test results.  First cleanse the mouth by filling it with saliva and then swallowing or spitting it out. Fill the mouth again with saliva and spit onto a spoon, then place the test strip into the saliva for 10-15 seconds. The strip will change colors based on the results.  Use the insert from the package to determine your results.  You can perform this test 4 times per day to get a clearer picture of what is going on inside of your body.  You will find that your pH fluctuates throughout the day, this is normal. It is also normal for the readings to start out acidic and to become more alkaline as the day progresses due to the food and beverages that you are consuming throughout the day. Your goal is to register slightly more alkaline than acidic, around 7.2 to 7.4 for saliva, as it is at this level that oxygen is plentiful.

To test the urine: urine pH can be more difficult to read as your body is always eliminating toxins.  This is especially true if have recently adopted a healthier routine and these toxins will have an effect on your readings. Additionally, the body will release many more of these toxins with the morning urine, therefore it is normal for the urine pH to start out in the acidic range with the body becoming more alkaline as the day progresses due to the foods and supplements that you are consuming throughout the day.  The balance point for urine is lower than for saliva. So with that in mind, your urine pH readings will average around 6.0- 6.4 in the AM hours and between 6.5 -7.0 later in the day. 

How to test urine and saliva with pH test strips


pH food chart

If you have cancer -those with cancer are generally overly-acidic, often registering around a 5.5 or lower with the saliva pH test.  If you are extremely acidic, you may not even be registering on the tape at all using the saliva method (depending on how low the calibration of the strip is compared to your level of acidity).  Additionally, it takes time to raise the pH from an acidic state to an alkaline range, sometimes even taking several weeks before you even begin to register on the tape, and then taking up to 12 weeks before you can reach your goal of 7.2- 7.4 with saliva.   It is at this pH that oxygen is plentiful and cancerous cells become inactive and begin to die.

Once this level is reached, you must hold yourself there until you have confirmation that the cancer is completely gone.  Also, please be aware that you cannot return to your old dietary habits after having cancer.  Make the necessary changes to your diet and lifestyle and plan on sticking with them for the long term. Please read the testimonials at the bottom of the page for more information on using this diet.

Over-alkalizing-  people with a balanced pH are able to resist illness and disease because their body is naturally able to fight them off while those who have an overly acidic or overly alkaline pH will be more prone to illness. It is important not to go overboard and over-alkalize your body, which can happen if someone is using a highly alkaline therapy.  Just as an overly acidic body is harmful to health, having an overly alkalized body would be equally harmful as well.  Just work on your goal of reaching 7.2 with the saliva pH testing method and maintain that lever until all cancer is gone.

Those with immune system cancers such as leukemia, myeloma lymphoma and soft tissue sarcomas, these can actually be the result of an overly alkaline imbalance. Please read this post for more information.

Alkalinity = cellular oxygenation. How to oxygenate the body

Exercise- will help to improve your circulation as well as oxygenate the cells and remove excess acidity.  Walking, stretching, yoga, swimming, biking, hiking, jumping on a mini trampoline, etc. Read more about this.

Deep breathing and fresh air– most people are shallow breathers.   Here is an exercise to help you become more conscious of your breath and this will assist your body in becoming better oxygenated, as well as relieve stress, and has the added benefit of releasing toxins through the lungs. Take a full breath, in through the nose and then expand the chest fully. When you think your lungs are full, then try sucking in just a little more air. Hold this for a few seconds and then breathe out through pursed lips to expel the air out slowly. Repeat this exercise for 5 minutes at a time, and do this multiple times per day or when you need a boost of energy.

Stop drinking soda and coffee  sodas have a very low pH, with nothing scoring below 3 on the pH scale. They contain phosphoric acid, which is not only bad for your teeth, but also terrible for bone health by promoting a chronic deterioration of the skeletal system.  Try drinking water with fresh lemon juice to help you break this habit.  Coffee is another acidic beverage. Chicory root coffee, green tea or herbal teas would be a better alternative.

Sleep – a lack of sleep can contribute to excess acidity so working to resolve sleep issues or developing good sleep patterns would be another important aspect of dealing with acidity.

Anger, jealousy, and bitterness all have the ability to create a stressful and toxic internal environment. You can address this with meditation, visualization, forgiveness exercises, and EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique).

Vitamins and Minerals- make sure you are getting adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals. These can be difficult to obtain from the diet alone, so taking a quality multivitamin and mineral supplement can help to cover any nutritional shortfalls.

Supporting your kidneys- the kidneys are also responsible for removing the excess acids from the body.   Because of this, one should work on cleansing and strengthening the kidneys.  Uva Ursi tea, chanca peidra, horsetail, aloe vera juice, dandelion tea, and drinking fresh juice made from beets, celery, and including more raw fruits into your diet plan are all helpful ways to cleanse the kidneys.

Filtering your drinking water – “Buy a filter or be a filter!”  Your body needs a minimum of 50 ounces of water per 100 pounds of body weight per day in order to flush toxins out of the body and to stay well hydrated. Consider purchasing a water filtration system that will remove fluoride, chlorine, and other chemicals and metals that are found in municipal water supplies. A simple carbon filtration system will only remove chlorine so don’t assume that any filter will do the job. You can find products online that will remove the harmful elements and leave the beneficial minerals intact, such as a Water Filter System.

Recipes to make your filtered water more alkaline:  drink plenty of spring water with fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice which although acidic before digestion, will leave behind an alkaline ash following digestion and will help to balance the pH.

Recipe #1 – mix one gallon of water with 1/2 tsp pink Himalayan sea salt, the juice of 4 organic lemons or limes (and toss in the skins too), 1 tbsp of raw, organic honey, and a pinch of organic stevia (if needed) and drink this throughout the day. Sea salt contains 82 trace minerals which will enhance this water.  Lemons and limes will create an alkaline ash following digestion.

Recipe #2- wash 3 organic lemons or limes and quarter them. Blend them up with the skins in 3 cups of filtered water.  Strain/squeeze the mixture through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth and then store it in a mason jar in the fridge.  To use, add 1/4 cup of this mixture into a glass of 8 oz filtered water. Drink this mixture 3 times per day.  This will help with alkalinity and elimination of toxins.

Recipe #3- adding barley grass or wheat grass powder to your drinking water

“Acid Alkaline Balance” by Barbara O’Neill


Testimonials of using the alkaline diet for cancer:

Josie Nunez heals brain cancer with an alkaline diet

Ginger Rollins heals brain cancer with an alkaline diet

Megan Sherow heals from brain cancer with a raw vegan (alkaline diet)

Jessica Biscardi heals stage 4 breast cancer with an alkaline diet

Allan Taylor used an alkaline diet and supplements to heal stage 4 colon cancer

Jessica Richards heals breast cancer with an alkaline diet and IV Vitamin C

 Nurse Hatty® – 200ct. pH Strips

The Acid-Alkaline Food Guide: A Quick Reference to Foods & Their Effect on pH Levels

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Cancer is a wake up call which needs to be addressed on multiple fronts.  It is the result of an overly toxic body with an overwhelmed and collapsed immune system due to eating nutritionally depleted diets, exposure to toxins, and having poor lifestyle habits. Research an anticancer diet, adding supplements, detoxing the body, and making lifestyle changes so you can address a cancerous situation with a multifaceted approach.
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