Acid and Alkaline

When you eat too many acidic foods, your body has to find alkalising materials to neutralise its pH levels. If you eat a highly acidic diet and not enough foods that create alkalinity, your body will use the calcium and protein in your bones to buffer the effects of acidity. The result is weak bones and accelerated aging of the body and the skin. Your health depends on the balanced pH of your blood. Chances are, if you wake feeling sluggish and tired, you are more acid than alkaline.

Our blood should be a pH of 7.35 to keep us healthy, so a diet high in minerals should be considered – lots of fresh fruit and vegetables. A ratio of approximately 70:30 (alkaline:acid) should be consumed as we still need a small amount of acidic forming foods to allow for absorption of certain minerals, e.g Calcium and the breaking down of animal proteins.

The following is an excerpt from a study on the benefits of an alkaline diet: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3195546/pdf/JEPH2012-727630.pdf

“The pH in our body may vary considerably from one area to another with the highest acidity in the stomach (pH of 1.35 to 3.5) to aid in digestion and protect against opportunistic microbial organisms. But even in the stomach, the layer just outside the epithelium is quite basic to prevent mucosal injury. It has been suggested that decreased gastric lining secretion of bicarbonates and a decrease in the alkaline/acid secretion in duodenal ulcer patients may play a significant role in duodenal ulcers. The skin is quite acidic (pH 4–6.5) to provide an acid mantle as a protective barrier to the environment against microbial overgrowth. There is a gradient from the outer horny layer (pH 4) to the basal layer (pH 6.9). This is also seen in the vagina where a pH of less than 4.7 protects against microbial overgrowth.”

Our skin shows accelerated aging if our blood is an acidic pH, and we see the signs as premature deep lines and wrinkles and a ‘cross-linking’ effect which we call Glycation (I’ll be doing an article on this in the near future). Our skin functions best at a healthy acidic pH, the opposite of our blood so please don’t get confused. Our skin must retain its healthy acidic pH to protect its underlying structures and negate microbial invasion. Interestingly as we age, our skin starts to alkalise and this is when we see the signs of thickening and dead skin cell build up. Our skins natural desquamation processes work best at an acidic pH level and if the skin retains an alkaline state, the enzymes responsible for this process are unable to perform. The end result is a thickening of the Stratum Corneum, the outermost layer of skin, the layer we see and touch.

The topical use of AHA’s in skin care products work well at re-acidifying the upper layers of the skin and the desquamation process is then optimised. Many people believe that these popular cosmetic acids force the skin to ‘peel’ however, when used in low dosages and higher, mild pH, they work best and do not cause sensitivity as they would at higher concentrations and lower pH.  Something to consider as we age, I would say.

I have seen many skins that have been sensitised when using very strong acids long term, and I don’t believe this is necessary for great results. A young, healthy skin does not require daily doses of acids, their skins pH is more than likely balanced and I would concentrate with a preventative program for long term skin health. For aging skins, then look for products that contain a mixture of AHA’s: Glycolic, Lacitc, Malic, Citric, etc and ensure they are a mild and gentle pH. I prefer to use a product more regularly at a pH of 4.0-4.2. Use at night only and please, please, please, protect your skin with sun protection.

For a copy of an alkaline food chart, please take a look at: www.acidalkalinediet.com/AlkalineFoods-Chart.htm

For an alkaline water filter, please take a look at my previous post “AlkaStream Water Filter” or : http://alkaway.com.au

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