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Body acidity

This is not about the burning feeling in the stomach and œsopagus. It's about acids that build up inside your body tissues and that can lead to severe problems and pain:

The acids involved would be things like phosphoric acid, sulfuric acid, uric acid...

I understand there are two ways by which those acids can build up:

How can this be diagnosed?

It would seem that body acidity is a very frequent problem amongst Westerners. Some of the recommendations in this text are mainstream and should be followed even in the absence of an obvious problem of body acidity.

If you have some of the problems mentioned in the beginning of the text, there is a fair possibility that they are caused or aggravated by body acidity. I have been sick half of the time for 30 years. I had continuous anginas in wintertime and hayfever in summertime. Simply, there was always at least one part of my body with an ache. Since I learned to control my body acidity, I haven't been sick. It's really amazing. I even make fun of giving a kiss to people who warn that they have the flu or something. I simply cannot manage to get sick...

If you often awake in the middle of the night, that can be a sign.

Diabetes can lead to high body acidity. This would be due to the fact that the body uses almost solely fat as a source for energy. Bone loss can be severe for persons with diabetes. (If you have diabetes, check with you dentist to help protect your teeth.)

Test the pH of your urine. Some hours after a meal, the urine will show if many acid came into the bloodstream. Also, during the night the body will try to eliminate the acids that piled up inside the cells. Hence the first urine in the morning will show if the body had to eliminate acids. Some herbalists sell dedicated paper tests for urine pH but common test paper should do (about $10 in lots of pharmacies). Neutral urine would be a pH of 7. It seems that a slightly acidic urine is normal; a pH of 6.5. I start worrying when the pH is 6 or lower. The worst I measured is 4.5 and I really was not in a good shape. If I'm feeling unwell, I know there is a high chance that my urine will show up to be very acidic.

What can be done?

If the problem is mild, then probably you can just opt for better eating habits:
During a few years, I had to implement a more drastic approach. I had to add a few grams of sodium citrate to each meal. I made that sodium citrate myself by mixing one volume of sodium bicarbonate with a little more than one volumes of citric acid, in half a glass of water. It does not taste bad, provided there was enough water. Herbalists sell citrates that contain sodium and other useful metals, which would be better than my receipt. Don't play with this! Too much sodium can cause severe problems. When my urine shows to be too alkalized, I don't feel much better than when it is too acidic. You have to continuously monitor your urine pH and tune the dose of sodium citrate accordingly. By now I know exactly the quantity I need with every meal but I go on testing my urine pH almost everytime. A slight increase in acidity does not bother me, I know it will be regulated in a matter of hours or days. But if I'm suddenly far too alkaline, I have to stop taking sodium citrate for a day.

The best way to take my sodium citrate is together with each meal. About an hour after the meal is fine. If I took too much the previous meal, it will protect me for the next meal (in which case I will take none with that next meal). If I forgot to take some and the meal was very acidifying yet it has been digested hours ago, it will help if I take some sodium citrate anyway but I must not take a lot of it on an empty stomach. Best for me is to take a dose with each meal, even with meals that do not make it mandatory. Best is to have a continuous intake of mild doses. Strong doses are bad. Do not try to compensate if you forgot during several meals; just take your regular dose with the next meal, twice that dose if things are realy bad.

If you have only sodium bicarbonate at hand (and no sodium citrate, no citric acid nor even simply lemon juice...) it can do the job but this is more difficult. The content of your stomach *must* be acidic. The advantage of sodium citrate is that it is neutral. It does lower the acidity of the stomach but it cannot make it alkaline. The stomach acidity is necessary to start the digestion process and also to activate the enzymes from the liver and from the pancreas that flow into the duodenum. If you are in pain because your stomach is far too acidic, a gram or two of sodium bicarbonate will make wonders, with no side effect. But if the acidity of your stomach is about normal and you take sodium bicarbonate to mend your body acidity problem, this is more tricky. Just a gram of bicarbonate will tremendously lower the stomach acidity. If the content of the stomach is still a little bit acidic, your digestion may be less efficient but it will still be a normal digestion. But if you take too much bicarbonate and the content of the stomach becomes alkaline... this will be a catastrophe and a waste of food. (If the food contains a lot of fats or oils, you will probably vomit. Anyhow you will not benefit from the food.) (Reciprocally, If one day you ate too much fat and you feel some nausea and may vomit, drink a gram of citric acid in a glass of water or a lemon juice.)

If you start taking a salt of sodium, you should ask your physician for advice. A diet with a high intake of sodium can have severe side effects.

(Just to avoid some misunderstanding: common table salt is "sodium chloride". Like "sodium citrate", it is not poisonous in quantities around a gram. But pure sodium is a very dangerous substance in any quantity above an atom. As is chloride. Do not infer from this text that you would need "tablets of pure sodium". What you need is a *salt* of sodium, where the sodium is neutralized by another atom or molecule.)

I suppose that sodium citrate has the following effects:
I now have switched to another approach: I tend to replace sources of starch with fruit. Instead of eating rice, pasta, quinoa, bread, pizza, fried chips and any such sources of starch, I will eat fruit. Most meals will contain about 4 fruits, like 2 big pears, an apple and a banana...

I mostly avoid fruit like oranges or kiwi, that tend to irritate the intestines and void the digestion. Yet if I drink fruit juice far away from any meal, I will gladly drink organic orange juice.

Fruit works so well that I sometimes get too alkaline and I *have* to eat some rice or such.

Switching to fruit can cause problems, if your intestines are not accustomed. Maybe try to increase the quantity of fruit over a few weeks. What worked for me is to use those pills with "good" bacteria that are sold in pharmacies, for people who travel in exotic countries or who take antibiotics. Once the intestines are used to the fruit, you will enjoy much healthier digestions.

I still eat meat but far less than years ago. I prefer white meal and well-cooked. With not too much fat. I don't know why, but fruit also had the effect that I now need far less mayonnaise and such. But I never could diagnose, in my case, that red meat and fat were the culprit of my acidity problem.

I don't know why but vegetables give me problems. I do, and must, eat some vegetables every day but I cannot base my nutrition on huge quantities of vegetables like I was able to base it on fruit.

Cucumbers are fruit.

On the long run, I went on eating sources of starch. So the compromise became that I eat more fruit and take less sodium citrate, together with the starch.
This is still experimental but a tablet of 500 milligrams of aspirin together with a meal seams to decrease or even avoid the acidity problem, even if that meal contained too few fruit. Maybe that, at least in my case, the irritation of the intestines plays a role in acidity problem and the anti-inflammatory action of the aspirin would help.

What's the link with metal poisoning?

Trying to eliminate the acids is a heavy task for the body. It will use "healthy" metals like magnesium to neutralize the acids. Hence it can get depleted in those metals, that are vital for numerous body functions, like the operation and constitution of enzymes. In the absence of the adequate metals, the body will start using toxic metals like mercury, cadmium, lead... For example: people who lack zinc can typically get intoxicated with lead, because the body will confuse lead for zinc, once zinc is depleted. This happens even if the quantities of toxic metals in the food and in the environment are below the acceptable thresholds.

Metals like copper, that are considered to be useful for the body and "healthy", become toxic if their amount is too high or if the body lacks another key metal.

If a metal intoxication built up over a long time, it will not be visible in simple blood or urine tests, because the metals stick in cells with a low turnover. If mercury is involved, it can be very difficult to cure the problem. See for example

Signs of metal intoxication are a bad temper, irritability and the inability to cope with menaces and challenges.

Is that citric "acid" in the citrates not a problem?

It is an organic acid that is very useful to the body (especially the liver) and above all it can be easily eliminated. It is not poisonous and difficult to eliminate like the acids mentioned in the beginning of the text. You should not swallow huge quantities of it... but up to a gram is healthy. A few grams can be disturbing because of the acidity...

In a general way, while fruit are "acidic" they will not add to the problem of body acidity. On the contrary. I heard about two examples of fruits used to cure:
If I eat wheat products, I'll add about 2 grams of citric acid in my glass, to make the content of the stomach acidic from the start on. This lowers the opioid effect of the digestion of wheat, which is a real problem in my case.

If you ate a fat meal and feel some nausea, take about a gram of citric acid dissolved in a glass of water.

My thanks to:

The present text is not an authoritative work. It condenses my experience and what seems to be the likely explanations, in the hope of being useful to others.

Eric Brasseur  -  June 26 2008  till  October 19 2011