Why you need an acidic gut, but an alkaline body

Why you need an acidic gut, but 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 plus a healthy microbiome; 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 (1) and that some foods make your body alkaline while others make it acid. Many of these articles sadly get their basic science facts wrong. So-called 'Health experts' tell us that Apple Cider Vinegar cannot make our body alkaline; or that lemon juice does; or that we need expensive water filtration systems making super-alkaline water. It's all complete tosh.
In truth you need an acidic gut, while you need slightly alkaline cells, and especially the power stations, or mitochondria within them. This article explains you achieve this simultaneously?

   1. An acidic gut is dependent on the strains of bacteria you have in it and how you help them thrive.
   2. Alkaline cells depend upon the foods you eat - you need foods that help the bacteria that make anti-inflammatory molecules, rather than foods that help those that make inflammatory molecules; and research shows that these tend to be potassium- and magnesium rich  and the polyphenols of the colourful Mediterranean diet. 
First - what do we mean by acidity and alkalinity?
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 read that, to work efficiently, your body needs to be alkaline - your cells and your immune system need to be alkaline. But when it all becomes acidic, that's the start of trouble.
This is true - EXCEPT FOR THE GUT!
You need an ’alkaline body’
The cells of your body work best when they are slightly alkaline, about pH 7.32-7.36. The maximum your blood can go up to and still be healthy is 7.45.  The body has strong regulatory mechanisms to prevent figures outside these levels (2). Some people think that drinking Sodium Bicarbonate will make the body more alkaline. Sadly, this is completely untrue. The kidneys regulate bicarbonate levels every second of the day.
What can help 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.  
Most human bodies in the West have a great excess of sodium over potassium.  It is the plague of a modern diet. The power stations can use sodium because sodium and potassium are similar elements.  But that is not their natural preference.
If sodium is used by the power stations, the chemical reactions don’t work quite as efficiently as they do with potassium AND the waste products are sodium salts, which are more acidic than potassium salts. 

This extra-acidity builds up in the power stations - and  it damages the chemical reactions, producing less energy and more sodium salts.  It's a downward spiral. The pH of a cancer tumour is 6.2. Worse, this acidity helps the tumour defend itself and even pick up blood supplies.

As the energy production system becomes less and less efficient it draws in less oxygen. It's another mistake 'experts' make. Acidic cells have less oxygen in them, but lowered oxygen is the result of problems, not the prime cause. When the energy falls below a certain point (think of cells as little batteries) the p53 gene switches off.  Bad news.  It regulates the mitochondrial and nuclear genomes including 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 acidic, making little energy and dividing too fast.  Yup, it’s a cancer cell. Gerson told us - eat less sodium-rich foods and more potassium-rich ones.

But there's another factor - 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 gain too much sodiem and ultimately they will become more acidic. 
Fortunately, potassium-rich foods, tend also to be magnesium rich. The colourful Rainbow diet to the rescue!
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.
 * Exercise is therefore an important factor
 * Iodine can help control cellular metabolism and oxygenate the cell.  
 * Oestrogen - like human oestradiol and/or chemical xenoestrogens – can block the magnesium pump;
 * Stress can be a factor in changing the cellular acidity.
* Inflammation can also be crucial factor.  And we know from Dutch research (3) that certain foods and alcohol stimulate the growth of bacteria that make inflammatory bacteria, while other foods and one alcohol, increase levels of bacteria that make more anti-inflammatory molecules. The good alcohol is red wine and the good foods are exactly those in the Rainbow Diet. 
But also, you need an acidic gut

So a cancer tumour has a pH of 6.2 and is deemed acidic. That's nothing! A healthy baby, has faeces with a pH of 5.5. Extremely acidic. Why?

When you were a baby, the bacteria you picked up from your healthy Mum’s birth canal, and breast milk she produced gave you an early microbiome that was 96-98% Lactic Acid Bacteria (LABs).  This acidity helped your digestion improve and kept the bad guys away. Note the word 'acid'.

Unfortunately, by the age of 50 most humans are down to just 4% in total of these LABs.

We also have three groups of ‘good bacteria’ that each make a super molecule - these three are called short chain fatty acids and each control a number of metabolic processes in our bodies. These three molecules have a huge effect on our health - Butyrate, Propionate and Acetate. Acetate does a number of jobs, one of which is to make our gut more acidic. If we lose the bacteria that make acetate, we fail to keep our gut acidic and we fall ill as a result.  

So, an acidic gut functions better and keeps the pathogens away. Every day of my life I take a combination of fresh lime juice (we grow limes - lemon will do), the same again of ACV, and I double the volume by adding water. Most days I take my own probiotic which contains the two LAB families Lactobacillus and Bifidobacteria, (we know they work synergistically) and some days I eat a little unpasteurised goat’s or sheep’s cheese. Mummy goat is giving baby these same two families plus a production kit for a gut lining.

The ones most people have heard of are Lactobacillus acidophillus.  Lactobacillus is the species; acidophilus the strain. There are around 250 strains of the family 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 a quick fix. Lactobacillus is also known to be able to correct 'mastitis' within 24 hours. Mpst women with breast cancer are known to be devoid of the family Lactobacillus. The colourful Mediterranean diet, on its own, is known to increase levels of Lactobacillus. Consuming more pectins - apples, carrots, pears, gooseberries, quince, citrus fruits and their peel increases Lactobacillus numbers as do ellagitannins - berries like raspberries and blueberries and walnuts.

Lemons and Limes make your gut more acidic.

Consuming protein makes your gut more acidic.

Apple Cider Vinegar gives you Acetic Acid and acetic acid Bacteria.

The natural ’food’, Kefir, is a provider of LABs.

Raw, unpasteurised cheese gives you 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.
The other well-known LAB species is Bifidobacterium.  Strains of Bifido do a number of really important jobs – they help you degrade non-digestible carbohydrates, protect against pathogens, They make vitamin B and K, antioxidants, and conjugated linoleic acids, and stimulate the immune system.  

One, B. infantis, has been shown capable of healing IBS. It is an important commensal bacterium (a good guy!).
Bifidobacteria love inulins (chicory, onions, asparagus, artichoke, garlic, bananas) and cocoa (85% dark chocolate) and a glass of good red wine!.

What alters gut pH for the worse? Sodium Bicarbonate! And these new, expensive highly alkaline water filters! (They cannot increase body pH above 7.4 safely; and they destroy gut acidity). And too much sugar, salt, pickles, smoking, binge drinking, drugs and stress.  And drugs, especially antibiotis and PPIs like omeprazole. 

Since your Adaptive Immune System is made in response to the diversity of bacteria in your gut, it is no surprise to find that people who eat the highest levels of soluble fibre (their favourite food) - oats, psyllium, pulses, vegetables, nuts and seeds - have strong immune systems.
Finally, beware of the tosh! Lemon juice in water or a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar do not leave 'alkalike ash' in the gut to make your cells more alkaline. They help you, by making your gut more acidic.
In summary: how do we boost gut acidity AND help our cells alkalise simultaneously?
The answer to this conundrum is simple:
i) Increase your Lactic Acid Bacteria through probiotics, ACV, Kefir, raw cheese and
ii) 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!
1. Importance of pH Homeostasis in Metabolic Health and Diseases: Crucial Role of Membrane Proton Transport; Wataru Aoi and Yoshinori Marunaka; Biomed Res Int. 2014; 2014: 598986. Published online 2014 Sep 11. 



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