For many years, health professionals have debated whether being in an alkaline state is the optimum condition for people with chronic health issues such as adrenal fatigue. What does it mean to be “too acidic”? Is creating an alkaline environment really a good thing (or even possible) for vibrant health?
You may already be familiar with terms such as “acidosis” and “alkaline foods” but what does this actually mean for a person with adrenal exhaustion? Is it really important to pay attention to how acidic we are, or is this just another problem to get stressed about?
How Do Foods Change Your Body’s pH?
The acidity of your blood is measured on the pH scale, which is an indicator of the concentration of hydrogen ions (H+) contained within it. The pH scale runs from 0 to 14. Normal blood pH is around 7.35 to 7.45. Anything lower than this means that the blood is too acidic, anything higher means it’s too alkaline.
The body can regulate your blood pH, and in fact it’s quite rare for it to vary outside of that tight range. However, a diet high in acid forming foods can put pressure on your internal organs as they strain to maintain your blood pH inside those healthy parameters. Meanwhile, the pH of other body tissues can vary much more dramatically.
Alkaline foods are high in calcium, magnesium and potassium, whereas acid-forming foods contain more phosphate and sulphur. In general, animal products and grains are acid-forming, while fruits and vegetables are alkaline. Foods such as pure fats and starches are neutral as they don’t contain protein, sulphur, or minerals.
Why Is Excess Acidity A Problem?
The breakdown of food (partiularly protein) produces hydrogen (H+) ions. In order to maintain the delicate pH levels of the blood, these ions must be managed by the kidneys and adrenals.
Eating a diet high in acid forming foods puts a strain on these eliminatory organs, meaning they must work even harder to maintain homeostasis. Over time, your body tissues can become too acidic leading to inflammation and chronic illness. This situation needs to be avoided at all costs by people with adrenal fatigue.
Here is a brief list of some of the most acid-forming foods that you might find in your existing diet.
|Meats & Fish||Bacon|
|Nuts & Beans||Hazelnuts|
Aldosterone And Adrenal Fatigue
To help the kidneys eliminate an acid load, the adrenal glands must secrete the hormone aldosterone. Aldosterone is important because it affects the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure by sending a message to the kidneys to increase the amount of sodium being released into the bloodstream. Indirectly, it plays an important role in maintaining the blood’s pH and electrolyte levels.
When an organ is under constant pressure to maintain balance, it soon becomes overworked and depleted. People with adrenal exhaustion and HPA Axis Dysfunction are already in a vulnerable state . The wrong diet can put even more pressure on the adrenals and other organs.
Acidosis And The Acid / Alkaline Theory
If you look up ‘acidosis’, you will find many people saying that the pH of blood can vary outside of its small 7.35-7.45 range. This is true, but it is far less frequent than is often claimed. In fact, real acidosis, where the blood pH dips below 7.35, can result in some very serious symptoms. The reality is that your body will regulate your blood pH under all but the most extreme circumstances. This is caused by serious kidney impairment and not influenced by whether you choose to eat a burger or a salad.
However, this doesn’t take into account the huge pressure placed on organs such as the kidneys and adrenals, which lead to depletion and compromised function over time. By continually eating acid-forming foods, you may be putting them under a great deal of strain. It is also entirely true that the food you eat can change the pH of your urine and body tissues.
Regardless of whether or not food is alkaline or acid forming, (or if it’s even possible to become too acidic,) common sense always wins the day when it comes to limiting stress and choosing the right foods for your adrenal health.
Maintaining a healthy diet full of fruits and vegetables, and providing the best nutritional environment for your body, is crucial if you want to set yourself up for success when it comes to following an adrenal health plan. Remember – you are the expert when it comes to your adrenal fatigue, not a urine pH strip or a diet guru. Pay attention to your symptoms and learn what works for you.
For more information and advice about managing adrenal exhaustion – see our bestselling book: The Adrenal Fatigue Solution.