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Teeccino Blog

Alkaline Balance: Myths and Reality


Written by: Caroline MacDougall

Frequently we’re asked, “What’s the pH of Teeccino?” People are confused because we know that Teeccino is alkaline for the body, but if brewed Teeccino is tested with a simple pH strip, you get varying results.

The difference starts with the pH of the water used to brew. Alkaline waters are very popular these days, but some are made artificially alkaline and others are naturally alkaline. What’s the difference? The same thing that makes Teeccino alkaline regardless of the water’s pH: the presence of alkaline minerals provided by nature.

The complexity of pH measurements

Pure, neutral water has a pH of 7.0. Mineral water made by nature, which naturally absorbs alkaline minerals when passing over rocks or filtered through the earth, can have a pH up to 9.5-10.0. Alkaline water, manufactured artificially using ionizer machines, doesn’t provide alkaline minerals although it has a pH of 9.5. On the other hand, water used in bottled beverages usually starts with a low pH of 4.0-4.5 in order to prevent microbes from growing in it. Thus mineral water has an alkaline pH but bottled teas, sodas, kombucha and juices must have an acidic pH below 4.6 as required by law.

Our body has a range of pH depending on whether you’re measuring pH in the stomach (pH 1.35-3.5), the blood (pH 7.35-7.45) or the vagina (pH<4,7). Our skin has an acid mantle of pH 4.6-6.5 in order to protect our body against microbial growth. Then there’s the pH of urine, the intracellular fluid (fluid inside our cells) and the interstitial fluids that surround our cells. They have a range of pH that can fluctuate rapidly depending on many things so trying to determine alkalinity versus acidity gets far more complex than a simple measurement using a pH strip!

How does the body correct acidity?

 If you’re worried about being too acidic, you can influence your alkalinity via diet and exercise, but rest assured, your body has its own systems to handle metabolic acidosis.

Producing energy in cells creates acids that are released into your bodily fluids all day long. The body has a natural buffering system that uses alkaline minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium to maintain the correct balance of acidity / alkalinity. It also excretes acids through the urine and via respiration by breathing out CO2.

However, if your body becomes too acidic and your diet isn’t providing enough minerals, your bones and teeth will become the source of the minerals the body needs to buffer acidity. Unfortunately, this can lead to osteoporosis, loss of teeth, and other chronic diseases. Thus eating mineral-rich foods and beverages are your protection against becoming too acidic.

Three Steps to keep you alkaline

Our modern diet is a challenge for the functioning of the body’s metabolic systems because it contains so many acid-forming foods and drinks. Refined sugar, grains stripped of their fiber and an excess of animal protein has taken our diet a long way from the days of hunting and gathering. Over millions of years, our bodies evolved to consume a high percentage of wild plants and meat from wild animals without much body fat. It’s only been in the last few centuries that we’ve radically changed the composition of what we eat and our bodies haven’t been able to change fast enough to cope.

Very simply, fruits and vegetables help keep you alkaline while most grains, fish and meat are acid-forming. Does that mean you shouldn’t eat grains or protein? No, of course not. It just points to the need for the right balance in our diets like everywhere else in our lives.

First, we eat too few fruits and vegetables so if this is true for you, start finding ways to add more into your meals. A daily salad of mixed greens and chopped fresh fruits and vegetables is a requirement in an alkaline diet.

Second, the soil in which our food is grown has been depleted of minerals through conventional agricultural practices. If you buy organic foods, the soil has been regenerated with inputs like seaweed, dolomite and compost that rebuild soil health and mineral content. Some farmers test their soil’s acidity too and correct it by adding ground rock to provide more minerals. Eating organically grown food protects your health in many ways including producing fruits and vegetable with higher mineral content.

Third, we are eating far more sodium than in the past and much less potassium, which is essential to the body’s buffering processes. Acidic waste can only be released from our cells if our sodium-potassium pump is working properly. That requires the right ratio of sodium to potassium in order to pump out waste for removal and pull in nutrients from the blood.

Back in our hunting and gathering days, it is estimated that the ratio of potassium to sodium in the foods we ate was 10 to 1. Now, the modern diet has reversed this ratio to 1 to 3. This new dominance of sodium is part of what is causing an increase in our body’s acidity. Our cells can’t function efficiently if we don’t provide them enough potassium.

In recognition of the need for potassium, the FDA has included it for the first time in the revised Nutrition Fact boxes due out next year. You’ll begin to see food and beverages list potassium content soon but we’ve been listing the potassium content of Teeccino since we first began in 1995!

Potassium and energy production

Those of us who drink Teeccino find that it gives us an energy boost despite it being caffeine free. In the early days of marketing Teeccino, I consulted a biochemist, Stephen Cherniske, author of Caffeine Blues and a number of other best selling health books, to figure out how Teeccino could be so energizing. He explained our need for more potassium and how our cells respond to the quickly absorbed potassium in brewed Teeccino. The sodium-potassium pump is activated and cellular energy is produced as a result.

When I tell people that Teeccino gives them energy that comes from their own body, I get these questioning looks. Really? Truly! It is obvious if you understand the source of true energy versus caffeine-stimulated stress hormones. The mitochondria in our cells are extraordinary energy producers if we just provide the right mix of nutrients for our cellular metabolism to function optimally.

Part of that energy production is having the right acid/alkaline balance. The long term goal of optimal health is supported by keeping all the body’s fluids in the right ratio in which they were designed to function. Will drinking alkaline water with a pH above 9.0 help? Should you stop drinking acidic beverages in favor of only high alkaline ones? It’s just not that simple. Our bodies are superbly designed to allow us to drink both as long as whatever we consume provides the alkaline minerals that are essential for optimal health!

 

Posted in Caroline's Musings, Health Buzz, Teeccino Buzz

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