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An important medical test that costs 14 cents

By Staff | Aug 27, 2009

Fourteen cents? Who says that medical care has to be expensive? But 14 cents? As ridiculous as it sounds, one of the most important medical tests (you can do from home) costs about that much.

I am talking about a test for systemic (i.e., whole body) pH. Every once in a while, I get interested in acid/alkaline balance and start experimenting on myself. For example, this past week, I decided to purchase some pH strips and see where my numbers come in. To put it mildly, I was stunned. Over-acid. Big time.

Normal blood pH ranges from about 7.35 to 7.45 which is slightly alkaline. Normal stomach pH is about 1.0 2.0 which is extremely acidic (and importantly so). Oral pH is slightly alkaline, as is the environment in the small intestine. This is not by accident. Enzymes in those areas require specific pH values to function at their best. Low stomach acidity is critically important to ionize minerals to enhance absorption, digest protein, kill fungi and yeast, and so on. Your body goes to a great deal of trouble to maintain an optimum acid/alkaline range in each of these areas.

So what happens when this gets out of order? Generally, people tend toward over-acidity (even people with GERD who think they produce too much stomach acid). What are the implications of that?

Increased bone loss, for one thing. Men and women at risk for osteoporosis must check their pH carefully because their bodies leach minerals out of their bones and deposit them into the blood to alkaline the acidity.

Struggling with chronic pain for which there is no discernable explanation? Think over-acid. Over-acidity leads to chronic inflammation and chronic pain.

Just about any disorder, including cancer, can have a connection to high acidity.

It will not be surprising to you that diet and lifestyle plays a major role. Stress, for example, is a common culprit, as is lack of sleep and poor diet.

When someone tells me that their pH numbers are too low, my standard counsel is eight to 10 servings of fresh vegetables, a bowl of lentil or miso soup, and a baked sweet potato each day. That almost always does the trick. If it is doesn’t, however, (which is what happened to me) we go to the ascorbic acid flush which is amazingly effective. That is my next step. I’ll report on the flush next week (if it isn’t too embarrassing).

I suggest you purchase the pH strips and do your own test. It will be the best 14 cents you ever spent.

Carol is a certified lifestyle educator at the offices of Dr. Alan Gruning in Fort Myers. She owns the Island Nutrition Center on Sanibel. She can be reached at 472-4499.