Alkalinity refers to a solution’s ability to neutralize acids in the body. When discussing “Alkalinity”, the terminology is confusing, and it is necessary to understand the difference between pH, Alkaline, and Alkalinity. PH is about hydrogen concentration, alkaline refers to any solution with a pH above 7, and alkalinity is the body’s ability to buffer acids. It doesn’t matter whether or not a solution has a high pH to begin with, if it does not have buffers/minerals, it cannot neutralize the acids in the body.
Potential of hydrogen, or “pH”, is a chemical rating system, that measures how acidic or basic (alkaline) substances are using the pH scale. (It does NOT measure the capacity to neutralize acid). The pH scale goes from 1 to 14, and is relative to pure water, which has a perfectly neutral pH of 7. The scale is logarithmic, which means each whole number on the 1-14 pH scale is 10 times more or less than the numbers around it. For example, something with a pH of 6 is 10 times more acidic than pure water. Something with a pH of 5 is 10 times more acidic than 6, which means it’s 100 times more acidic than pure water (10×10=100).
Alkalinity refers to a solution’s quantitative ability to neutralize or “buffer” acids without changing the concentration of H+ ions (i.e., without changing the pH or potential hydrogen).
Buffering capacity is all about the minerals. Buffers are the sum of bicarbonates, and include: Calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Sodium, Manganese, and Iron.
ALKALINITY = MINERALS = NEUTRALIZING ACIDS:
Buffered natural water (i.e., minerals added) has a high alkalinity, and the addition of a small amount of acid will not cause a change in the pH.
NO ALKALINITY = NO MINERALS = NO NEUTRALIZING ACIDS
Pure distilled water (i.e., no minerals) has zero alkalinity, and the addition of even a small amount of an acid or base will cause a change in the pH.
IN THE BODY:
In the body, water splits into Hydrogen, or “H+” and Hydroxide or “OH- ions”. If there is an excess of H+, the body become acidic; if there is an excess of OH- ions, then it becomes alkaline.
The body has a natural buffering system to ensure that it maintains the necessary pH of 7.365. The body uses minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, manganese, and iron to neutralize excess acids keeping the pH in check. However, poor diet, stress, pollution, chemicals and toxins overwork the body’s natural ability to neutralize acids, causing the body to become highly acidic and toxic.
Alkalizing the body, doesn’t mean increasing our saliva pH or urine pH over the 7.365 required for good body balance; it means increasing the “bicarbonates” in our blood. The blood pH does not change, but the ability of our blood to neutralize acid in the body increases. Supplementing with buffers such as sodium bicarbonate, allow the body to work optimally, resulting in a net gain of alkalinity.
BENEFITS OF ALKALINITY
- Better Gastrointestinal Health: Overeating, alcohol consumption, spicy foods, excessive amounts of protein in the diet, and stress overstimulate the stomach glands, and cause acidity. The hydrochloric acid secreted by the stomach glands is essential for the digestion of proteins in the food but its passage back into the esophagus, known as acid reflux, causes heartburn. Stomach acids mixed with the food that passes into the intestine normally gets neutralized by the sodium bicarbonate secreted by the pancreas in the first part of the intestine called duodenum. If the neutralization is not effective, it may inflame the intestinal walls and cause discomfort.
- Weight Loss Benefits: Reducing the acidity of the body can prevent the storage of toxins in the fat tissue. Acid is produced all the time as part of normal metabolic processes, however, when there’s too much acid, or if the acid cannot be easily processed and excreted, weight gain becomes an adaptive mechanism to handle the excess acidity.
- Energy Boost: When the body’s pH shifts out of its ideal range of 7.35-7.45, the body must take remedial measures which come at a great energy loss to the body. The body uses a great deal of energy while trying to neutralize acids, causing a deficit in the body’s total available energy. For instance, when lactic acid builds up in the muscles, blood carries it to the liver where it is converted to pyruvate, and then into glucose that can be used for energy. This cycle precipitates a further deficit in the total available energy in the body. Additionally, the body often cannibalizes is own tissues and muscles to source the minerals necessary to neutralize acids. That’s why acidosis often precipitates fatigue and lethargy. Alkalizing the body helps combat acidosis at the tissue level and makes extra energy and chemical substances available for the normal activities.
- Improved Immunity: The immune system combats disease-causing organisms and toxic substances via the work of white blood cells. These white blood cells work best in an environment of alkalinity. White blood cells produce several antibodies specially tailored to inactivate antigens or foreign proteins of the invading microbes. Chemical messengers called cytokines are released to mount a consolidated attack on the offending organism or material. Phagocytosis is a process of engulfing the foreign particles, thereby taking them out of circulation. Too much acidity can interfere with the actions of the white blood cells and make us more susceptible to pathogenic bacteria, viruses, and fungi.
- Fewer Colds: An acidic environment promotes the growth of bad bacteria, yeast and fungi. An imbalance of your body’s good bacteria makes you prone to getting infections. You will be less likely to suffer from the common cold when your body is in a state of alkalinity.
- Anti-Aging: Acidosis accelerates the natural aging process. But keeping the body in a state of alkalinity can prevent premature aging.
- Relief from Arthritic Symptoms: Our body considers acidosis as an emergency and quickly streamlines measures to counteract it. Minerals such as calcium are often sourced from the skeletal tissue to convert the acid into mineral salts so that they can be easily flushed out. This leaching of minerals from the bones make them porous and brittle, a condition referred to as osteoporosis. Additionally, people with acidic constitution seem to be predisposed to arthritis, a common joint problem caused by the degeneration of bone and cartilage. The pain, swelling, and reduced range of motion associated with this condition make it extremely debilitating.
- Increased Mental Clarity and Focus: Acidosis reduces the production and functioning of neurotransmitters. Decline in neurotransmitters decreases mental capacity and focus.
- Better Skin, Hair and Nails: Dry skin and dull hair are common symptoms of increased acidity of the body. Another one is thin nails that break off easily. These conditions result from the inadequate formation of the connective tissue protein keratin. Hair, nails and the outer layer of skin are all different versions of the same protein. What makes them strong is proper mineralization. Acidosis and consequent mineral leaching affect the skin, hair, and nail health. Increasing alkalinity helps improve their condition.
- Improved Dental Health: Increased body acidity is linked to sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and acidic foods, mouth ulcers, brittle teeth, painful and bleeding gums, frequent infections, including tonsillitis and pharyngitis.
Sodium bicarbonate, NaHCO3, or baking soda, is a salt with both acidic and basic properties. Sodium bicarbonate is an important part of your blood chemistry, because it occurs naturally in the blood, acting as a chemical buffer to stabilize the blood pH.