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Name: Jay
Status: Other
Age: 40s
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: N/A 


Question:
A quickie on the proper use of Baking Soda as a means to helping the body maintain safe level of alkalinity... would half a teaspoon in half glass of water be safe to take, and if so, would it help to keep the body in a balanced acid/alkaline state?

How many times a week should this be taken?



Replies:
I do not think taking baking soda would have any effect on the body pH. It would have to pass the stomach first, where an acid pH (as low as 2) is normal and healthy. Your 'wunderdrank' would quickly be neurtralized.

Before discussing the needs of controling it, let us look at the role of pH in our body first. There are 3 important effects as far as I know. One is already mentioned: acidity of the stomach. That is needed to kill bacteria and other germs that are inevitably eaten, and it is an important protection against infectious diseases. A second important effect is maintenance of physiological pH in all our body cells. That requires energy (active proton transport) and the fact that all our body cells 'waste' energy keeping their pH in balance illustrates the importance of it. In fact, distortion of the pH in a cell will quickly result in death of that cell. A third important effect of pH is that of blood. Since carbon dioxide will influence the pH when it goes into solution, the level of carbon dioxide over oxygen in our blood is carefully balanced in our lungs. People who suffocate die not because they lack oxygen, but because they have too much carbon dioxide in their blood, and the blood pH reaches life-threatening levels.

So, in conclusion, pH is of crucial importance to our body. Should we worry about it, then? Not at all, because we can not control it. Biology has worked out an infinitive sensitive and effective way to do control the pH, and we can't overrule it even if we tried. The only exception is the pH in the stomach, which can be turned to less acidic (taking anti-acids) during stomach complaints. Even so, the 'signal' sent by such complaints should not be overlooked: when a 'healthy' stomach pH is suddenly causing trouble one should look for the underlying reason and not just treat the symptoms.

Hope to have given you some insight.

Dr. Trudy Wassenaar


In the absence of some medical condition such as gasteroesophogeal reflux disorder(GERD), or overeating at a big meal, I don't think that the body needs any help maintaining the proper pH in the various parts the digestive system. The pH of the esophagus is greater than about 4.4; the stomach is about 2-4; the small intestine around 4 again. The body is self regulating to maintain these ranges and really does not need any assistance in the absence of some medical condition.

Chronic use of sodium bicarbonate could raise the Na+ ion concentration in the body, which in some people raises their blood pressure, and so is not healthy.

Vince Calder



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