Is An Alkaline Diet Beneficial? - Dr. Connie Jeon

Hi, I’m Dr. Connie.

We are having great weather here in Georgia. It is finally feeling like spring is in the air.  This is great, except the pollen has gotten me in a funk lately.  

My younger son is extremely allergic to pollen.

Recently I purchased the Navage, which is a netty pot that provides a gentle, battery powered suction meant to cleanse your nasal passage to treat allergic symptoms, like nasal congestion.  

I’ll provide you with an update on how it’s working for my son and I in a few weeks.

On a different note, I’ve been getting lots of questions lately about health and alkalinity.  From alkalizing water to alkaline diet, I felt it’s worth a mention on my blog today.

Just a bit of my story: as many of you know, I’ve struggled with my health at times due to Lupus flare ups. Because I’ve been on a mission to heal my body, I’ve researched and applied everything that may help my body get stronger so that it can defeat Lupus.  

I’ve personally applied the alkaline concepts to my life, including the use of an alkaline water filtration for my home and eating alkaline promoting foods and supplements.

I’ve seen many assumptive writings by various bloggers on this topic without proper regard to research.

So for today, I wanted to balance scientific evidence with health relevance on this topic.


All life depends on optimal pH levels within and around living organisms and cells.

Human life requires a narrow pH range, in our serum, of about 7.35-7.45 to survive.  This is a slightly alkaline range on the pH scale of 0-14.  [1]

Unfortunately the pH of our oceans have dropped from 8.2 to 8.1 due to industrialization and increasing CO2 deposits.  [1,2]  This is bad news for our ocean life and can lead to deaths of coral reefs.  [3]

Ultimately, a trickle down effect causes this event to affect the soil where our vegetables are grown, depleting the mineral content of the foods that we eat.  This is important because these minerals are used in the body as a buffer and help maintain that narrow, optimal pH range.

The ideal pH of our soil is a range between 6-7.  Acidic soils below 6 may have reduced calcium and magnesium. On the other hand, soil with a pH above 7 may result in a depletion of iron, manganese, copper, and zinc.  [4]

When we observe the pH and net acidic load in our diet, there has been a significant change from the hunter- gatherer civilizations to the present.  [5]

With the Agricultural Revolution occurring within the last 10,000 years, and more recently the Industrial Revolution occurring within the last 200 years, we’ve seen a decrease in potassium (K) as compared to sodium (Na), and an increase in chloride as compared to bicarbonate in our diet.

Potassium and bicarbonate are two alkalizing minerals that are used in the pH buffering system.

This change means that the ratio of potassium to sodium has reversed. The K:Na ratio was previously 10:1, and now with our current diet, the ratio is 1:3.  [7]

It is proven that our diets today contain poor amounts of magnesium, potassium, and fiber, and high amounts of saturated fat, simple sugars, sodium, and chloride. This is in comparison to the Paleolithic Age.

What does this mean? It places us at risk for metabolic acidosis. [8]

You see, with aging, our kidneys gradually lose the ability to regulate acid-alkaline balance.  There’s very little change in our blood chemistry, however, significant changes in our urine can be noted.  

Our urinary levels of magnesium tend to decrease, while calcium, uric acid, and phosphate levels increase.  This results in increased risk for kidney stones.  [10]

The Role of pH in Our Cells and Organs

pH levels widely vary throughout the body.  For example, stomach acid has a pH of 1.35- 3.5 to aid in digestion and protect against microbial organisms.

But just outside the stomach, the pH is quite alkaline to prevent injury to our stomach lining.

Our skin is also very acidic, with a pH of 4-6.5, to provide a protective barrier against bacteria.  

Our urine has a variable pH that can go from acidic to alkaline, depending on the balance of the internal environment.

Chronic Acidosis and Bone Disease

It’s important to note that an alkaline diet releases calcium in the form of phosphates and carbonates, which allows our body to maintain a healthy pH range.  [7]

So when you eat an acidic diet, our bodies balance the pH by pulling calcium from our bones to neutralize our blood.  This calcium loss over time is what causes bone loss, ultimately leading to osteoporosis.  

You can lose up to 480 grams of calcium in over 20 years, which is almost half of the skeletal mass.  [21]

If the bone minerals wasted in the urine are not supplemented back into our diet, osteoporosis can result.

You also need vitamin D to allow for proper calcium, magnesium, and phosphate absorption.  [24]

Unfortunately, most populations are generally deficient in vitamin D.  [25]

Protein rich diets can cause bone loss, due to high acidity, if not buffered by proper alkalizing vitamins and minerals.  [37]  It’s also important to remember that adequate protein is necessary for prevention of osteoporosis and muscle loss.  

Eat a diet high in vegetables and some fruits to alkalize your body, rather than decreasing your protein intake.  [38]

Alkaline Diet and Muscle

As we age, we lose muscle.  A three year study which looked at diets rich in potassium, fruits and veggies, and a reduced amount of acidic foods, including processed foods, sugar, and carbonated beverages, resulted in improved muscle mass in older men and women.  [39]

Alkaline Diet and Back Pain

I’m happy to note that chronic low back pain can be improved with alkalizing foods and supplementation of such vitamins and minerals [47].  

Supplementation increases magnesium found inside the cells and allows for proper enzyme function, which activates vitamin D.

This process indirectly has an anti-inflammatory effect in the body, which ultimately leads to decreased back pain. [49]


Our bodies have an inherent ability to balance the pH of blood.  We have both acidic and alkaline substances in our bodies that help to keep a fine balance.  Research does validate the benefits of an alkaline diet:

  1. A good K:Na ratio, in which potassium is greater than sodium, helps to maintain bone health, reduce muscle loss, and mitigate other chronic diseases, such as hypertension and strokes. Increase your fruit and vegetable intake to improve your K:Na ratio.
  2. An increase in intracellular magnesium, which is required for the function of many enzyme systems, is another added benefit of the alkaline diet.

When considering an alkaline diet, please make sure that all your vegetables and fruits are organic, to minimize toxicity.  


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