Tom: Doctor, a concern of many people today is acidity. You can see there are many products on the market for what people believe to be excess acid. Are there ways that ayurveda looks at that and might provide something to support a healthy pH level?
Dr. Mark Vinick: Absolutely, and pH is really crucial. You know the blood has this specific level it has to operate in. The blood pH has to be between 7.35 and 7.45...
Tom: Quite alkaline...
Vinick: yes, yes. Or else it's incompatible with life and the body will do anything it can to maintain that. If the blood pH falls towards the acid side, the body pulls calcium out of the bone to buffer the acid in the blood. And if that's done repeatedly, over years, due to acid diet we lose bone mass, predisposing towards osteoporosis. There are some soft drinks, everything in them causes the body to pull calcium out of the bone creating osteoporosis. The pH varies in the body, typically between 7.2 and 7.7. Of course the stomach is going to have a very acid pH, because you need an acid pH to digest the food, but then it gets buffered in the duodenum to become more alkaline. So pH is essential.
Tom: So how would we address trying to balance the pH to maintain a healthy level of pH within the blood through the practice of ayurveda.
Vinick: Coral calcium is a product that's used here in the United States and they extract the root and the branches from it and it has an alkalinizing effect. Also, like oyster shells and things of that nature. Very alkalinizing. The difficulty is in being able to assimilate those. And ayurveda as a long, rich tradition of processing these substances, coral calcium and sea shells, in such a way to make them bioavailable.
One such process using coral calcium is, they process it for many days before and after the full moon when there's more soma, cooling, nurturing energy, coming from the moon, that helps the body move more alkaline. This coral calcium is processed with rose water that also facilitates that same alkaline response. And they do it over the full moon to allow no sunlight, which is heating, which is going to be more acidifying. And that's taken and it's assimilated extremely well by the body, and has a wonderful alkalinizing effect.
There's another product, laghu sutshekhar, which is basically a type of ayurvedic prepared ginger. It's dried ginger and its processed with cinnamon, black pepper and long pepper. And this also helps with the assimilation with these mineral rich shells from the ocean.
One of the most used over the counter medications are antacids. So in the traditional Western perspective, if someone has heartburn, you know you go to the drugstore and you take a calcium supplement. Which decreases the acid in the stomach, and alkalinizes it and reduces heartburn. Unfortunately from about the age of 40 on, most individuals have diminished hydrochloric acid, and they're not digesting their food, which is creating gas and bloating, pushing the contents up, creating heartburn. So you actually need things to improve the digestive acids, so you don't want to take anything that's alkalinizing to the stomach acids when there's food in the stomach. You want to allow.. you want to enhance that process with specific spices to enable the digestive system to process that food. And then later, a couple hours after eating or even before going to bed on an empty stomach, which would be ideal, take these alkalinizing substances, which go through the entire system and help the body become more alkaline.
Dr. Mark Vinick discusses the pH balance in the blood and throughout the body. Find out what the body does to keep in balance and what you can do to help in terms of supplements and diet.
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