Why you need an acid gut and an alkaline body

Why you need an acid gut and an alkaline body
For optimum health you need a body that is slightly alkaline but a gut that is slightly acidic; the solution to both is the Rainbow diet and this article explains exactly why.
All over the Internet, you can read articles telling you that you need an alkaline body for good health and that some foods make your body alkaline while others make it acid. Many of these articles sadly get their basic science facts wrong. What then comes as a great surprise to people is that, for optimum health, their gut needs to be acidic.
In truth you need an acid gut, while you need alkaline cells, and especially the power stations, or mitochondria within them. This article explains you achieve this simultaneously?

   1. An acid gut is dependent on the strains of bacteria you have in it and how you help them thrive.
   2. Alkaline cells are largely dependent on the balance between potassium and sodium in the cells - which is dependent on how much potassium-rich and magnesium-rich foods you consume (instead of sodium-rich foods).
What do we mean by acidity and alkalinity?
First, pH is a measurement of acidity or alkalinity. A pH 7 is neutral - water.  Any number above 7 is alkaline; any number below is acid.  
You will hear that, to work efficiently, your body needs to be alkaline and your immune syatem needs to be alkaline. But when it become acidic, that's the start of trouble. The centre of a cancer tumour the pH is about 6.2. It is acid. It is acid because of the way it is metabolising energy. It wants to be acid because this increases blood supplies, helps it grow and then spread.
1.  You need an ’alkaline body’
The cells of your body work best when they are slightly alkaline, about pH 7.32-7.36. 
What helps your cells become more alkaline is a diet rich in potassium and magnesium, and low in sodium.  Why?
Your cells’ power stations, the mitochondria, have evolved over millions of years to use potassium in a multi-step energy production system.  They could use sodium because sodium and potassium are similar elements.  But that is not their preference.
Most human bodies in the West have a great excess of sodium over potassium and magnesium.  It is the plague of a modern diet.  And, if left to simple osmosis, your cells would fill with sodium rather than potassium.  Sodium can be used by the power stations, but if sodium is used the chemical reactions don’t work quite as efficiently as they do with potassium AND the waste products are sodium salts rather than potassium salts. As any school kid knows, sodium salts are more acid than potassium salts. 

This extra-acidity in the power stations damages the chemical reactions, drawing in less oxygen and less carbohydrate.  This inefficiency produces less energy; but yet more sodium salts.  This makes the mitochondria even more acid, so the cell energy production system becomes less and less efficient – and now we are in a downward spiral.  When the energy falls below a certain point (think of cells as little batteries) the p53 gene switches off.  Bad news.  It regulates the normal speed of cell division.  But the ras gene runs on less power and it causes division to be rapid and uncontrolled.  Result:  A cell that is acid, using little oxygen, making little energy and dividing too fast.  Yup, it’s a cancer cell.

There is a natural ‘defence mechanism’ against all this.  On the cell membrane there’s a pump, which pushes in potassium and kicks sodium out of the cell. This pump needs magnesium to work properly.  Unfortunately, 40 per cent of adults just do not eat enough magnesium-rich foods.  So they are deficient in magnesium, the pump doesn’t work properly and thus their cells will ultimately become more acid.
There are other factors at work, and your body works in a small range of pH, constantly correcting via levels of exhaled carbon dioxide or urine, so you don't become too acid or too alkaline. Other factors? For example, estrogen - like human oestradiol and/or chemical xenoestrogens – can block the magnesium pump; Stress can be a factor and so on.
2. You need an acid gut

So a cancer tumour has a pH of 6.2 and is deemed acidic. That's nothing! When you were breast-fed as a baby, your faeces had a pH of 5.5. Extremely acidic. Why? Because an acid gut in baby allowed it to pick up certain beneficial bacteria whilst keeping the bad ones, pathogens, at bay.

An acid gut is your first line of defence. Pathogens are bad bacteria and bad news to a baby that was almost sterile before it was born.  A new baby is protected for its first 6 months by having an acid gut; the acidity kills the pathogens or, at minimum, keeps them in check. When baby moves on to cows’ milk and solids, its faeces alter to a pH of ajust under 7; just a little acidic.

By this time, hopefully, it has generated a large number of friendly bacteria in its gut. Bacteria that can provide an immune system. Bacteria that can defend baby against new attacks by pathogens.

The ones most people have heard of are Lactobacillus acidophillus.  Lactobacillus is the species; acidophilus the strain.  There are lots of strains of Lactobacillus.  All of them make lactic acid, which defends you by increasing the acidity in the gut.  If you get a stomach bug on holiday, taking a probiotic with Lactobacillus strains can be good news. The natural ’food’, Kefir, is a provider of Lactic Acid Bacteria (LABs).

LAB’s also keep yeasts in check. One strain, L. rhamnosus, actually corrects leaky gut, helping to heal the holes made by the yeasts.

As we age past 50, our good gut bacteria decline, our gut acidity falls.  That’s why we have more attacks from pathogens and yeasts and more illness as we age. You can stimulate the growth and multiplication of LABs in the gut by eating more pectins - apples, carrots, pears, gooseberries, quince, citrus fruits and their peel.

The other well-known good bacterium species, in dominance just after a natural birth, is Bifidobacterium.  Strains of Bifido do a number of really important jobs – they help you degrade non-digestible carbohydrates, protect against pathogens, MAKE vitamin B and K, antioxidants, and conjugated linoleic acids, and stimulate the immune system.  And they work best at a certain acid gut pH.
One, B. infantis, has been shown capable of healing IBS. It is an important commensal bacterium (a good guy!).
While Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium dominated after birth, by the time we are 60, combined they are less than 5% of the total microbiome members, and as we age futher our gut has difficulty maintaining any acid edge.

What alters gut pH for the worse? Too much sugar, salt, pickles, smoking, binge drinking, drugs and stress.  And these stop good bacteria growing and multiplying properly.  Strains of both are also very vulnerable to drugs, especially antibiotis and PPIs like omeprazole.

The way to stimulate their numbers is simple. Lactobacillus love pectins (carrots, apples, plums, cherries, grapes and apricots) and ellagitannins (berries like raspberries and blueberries). Bifidobacteria love inulins (chicory, onions, asparagus, artichoke, garlic, bananas etc.) and cocoa (85% dark chocolate).
Since your immune system is made in response to the bacteria in your gut, it is no surprise to find that people who eat the highest levels of soluble fibre (oats, psyllium, pulses, vegetables, nuts and seeds) have the highest immune systems.
Taking a good quality probiotic that contains both LABs and Bifido strains daily will help, as will lemon juice in water first thing in the morning, even adding a teaspoon of spoonful of raw apple cider vinegar (which also provides probiotics). 
Go to: Probio8 Max
Finally, beware of the tosh! Lemon juice in water or a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar do not leave 'alkalike ash' in the body to make your cells more alkaline. The help you, by making your gut more acid.
There’s far more in Chris Woollams’ best-selling book –
So how do we boost gut acidity AND help our cells alkalise simultaneously?
The answer to this conundrum is simple: DIET. To achieve optimum health and develop the ideal conditions for both your cells and your gut bacteria, the answer is to eat the right foods:
     * For alkaline cells - potassium-rich, magnesium-rich foods, but not sodium-rich ones. So green vegetables, nuts and seeds, avocado, bananas, pomegranate, apricots, dark chocolate, fish.
     * For more acid-producing bacteria - vegetables, fruits, And add bacteria - raw vinegars like apple cider vinegar, fresh sauerkraut, even a little unpasteurised cheese, and kefir.
     * For the strongest immune system - Soluble fibre - nuts, seeds, pulses, oats, vegetables.
It sounds like a Rainbow Diet to me!
There’s far more on this in Chris Woollams’ best-selling book.
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