For several years, there has been discussion about the influence foods can have on the acid-alkaline balance (or pH level) of blood in the body and on health, especially bone health. The theory is that a diet consisting mostly of food metabolized to acids—such as protein, processed foods, and cereals—may increase the acidity of blood. To counteract this change in pH, alkaline calcium compounds may leach from bones making them weak and brittle.
Thus, the dietary advice would be to eat a diet high in alkaline-producing foods—such as fruits and vegetables, which are metabolized to alkaline bicarbonates—to maintain a healthy pH level and preserve bone mass and density.
To explore the ideas behind the alkaline-acid balance theory, let’s start by reviewing some science about bones: Bones are a dynamic type of dense connective tissue that is in a constant cycle of degradation and regeneration. There are many factors that stimulate the building and breakdown of bones including low intake of calcium and vitamin D, lack of physical activity, and some medications.
Another reason for bone breakdown is to regulate the acid-base balance of blood, which must be maintained within the narrow range of 7.35 and 7.45. Bones are the storage banks for calcium and the degradation of bone results in the release of calcium, which has alkaline, or acid-neutralizing, properties. In other words, when the pH of blood starts to decrease or become more acidic, calcium can assist in increasing the pH or making it more alkaline.
What the research says
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology found that subjects who received an alkaline compound (bicarbonate) in an amount equivalent to nine servings of fruits and vegetables daily experienced lower levels of calcium lost in urine as well as loss of N-telopeptide, a marker for bone resorption (1). This finding supports the notion that following the alkaline diet decreases calcium loss through urine, thus preserving bone.
Interestingly enough, other studies have shown that “acidic” high-protein diets, especially those comprised of dairy protein, actually have beneficial effects on bone mineral density (2-4). One study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism concluded that diets higher in dairy protein in premenopausal women favorably affected important bone health markers (4). Another goes on to say that milk and dairy products, although considered acidic, neither produce acid upon metabolism nor cause a change in the acid-base balance of the body (5).
What’s the take-home message? While the science may have some conflicts, it is important to note that a diet high in fruits and vegetables is a safe and easy way to support bone health as well as other aspects of health. Additionally, diets higher in protein, especially dairy protein, are beneficial for maintaining bone health.
Alkaline-acid balance with Isagenix
By including IsaLean Shake and a combination of fruits and vegetables into your diet, it is possible to follow an acid-base balanced diet with Isagenix. Additionally, Isagenix products contain minerals like calcium, phosphorous, and boron as well as vitamins D and K2, which are all important for bone health.
It is also important to clarify that the content of a food doesn’t determine whether it is acid- or alkaline- producing in the body. For example, some foods (such as eggs) are alkaline in nature, yet acid-producing. Likewise, some acidic foods (such as citrus) are alkaline-producing. This is the reason why foods containing citric acid—such as Ionix Supreme and Cleanse for Life—are actually characterized as alkaline-producing.
For total nutrition that targets all aspects of bone health, look no further than Isagenix.
1. Ceglia L, Harris SS, Abrams SA, Rasmussen HM, Dallal GE, Dawson-Hughes B. Potassium bicarbonate attenuates the urinary nitrogen excretion that accompanies an increase in dietary protein and may promote calcium absorption. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2009;94:645-53.
2. Darling AL, Millward DJ, Torgerson DJ, Hewitt CE, Lanham-New SA. Dietary protein and bone health: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Clin Nutr 2009;90:1674-92.
3. Fenton TR, Lyon AW, Eliasziw M, Tough SC, Hanley DA. Phosphate decreases urine calcium and increases calcium balance: a meta-analysis of the osteoporosis acid-ash diet hypothesis. Nutr J 2009;8:41.
4. Josse AR, Atkinson SA, Tarnopolsky MA, Phillips SM. Diets higher in dairy foods and dietary protein support bone health during diet- and exercise-induced weight loss in overweight and obese premenopausal women. J Clin Endocrinol Metab 2012;97:251-60.
5. Fenton TR, Lyon AW. Milk and acid-base balance: proposed hypothesis versus scientific evidence. J Am Coll Nutr 2011;30:471S-5S.