Alkaline Diet Scientific Proof
The alkaline diet works. That is a fact. An irrefutable, scientific fact, as I am about to prove to you.
Even without the science I know it works. I’ve seen way too many results in my life, in my family’s life, in my friends lives, and in the lives of the thousands of people I’ve coached, taught or had random emails from after they’ve actioned what I teach on this site.
BUT, I know it’s important for people to see the science, read the facts and see the proof before they commit.
And with more and more celebrities seemingly adopting this approach to health, there is the risk it’s going to be chewed and spat out by Hollywood and the media.
So today I’m going to share my updated ‘Alkaline Diet Proof‘ catalogue with you. This is just a handful of the articles I’ve collected over the past 9 years (I’m a research geek from my academic days).
But before we start – some context and a very important distinction [Note: This is IMPORTANT]
Before I go into the specific research papers, I want to point out a few very important distinctions to make. A misunderstanding of these points (most critics of the alkaline diet make these mistakes and have these misunderstandings) leads to a complete misunderstanding of the alkaline diet, and worse, an impossible mountain to climb if you want to start living alkaline.
You’re Not Trying to Alkalise Your Body: confused now? Let me explain.
The purpose of the alkaline diet is not to try and increase the alkalinity of your blood, cells or any other part of your body. This is the chief ‘told you so’ point of the detractors of the alkaline diet. They say ‘there’s no point doing the alkaline diet because the body has mechanisms to ensure you NEVER deviate from pH 7.365′. I agree – that’s exactly the point.
The purpose of the alkaline diet is to celebrate that fact and provide the body with all the tools it needs to effortlessly maintain that pH 7.365. The Standard American (Western) Diet and modern life in general bombards our body with acids all day long. The damage that these acidic substances (such as sugar) cause is only beaten by the damage caused by the body doing whatever it takes to buffer these acids and maintain the pH 7.365.
The alkaline diet is designed to limit these acidic substances and fuel your body with an abundance of nutrient-dense, life-giving foods that make your thrive. It’s NOT designed to try and increase the alkalinity of your body, rather to support the body’s own delicate balance.
I have explained this in more detail in my Alkaline Diet Myths article here.
This is the second important point: the alkaline diet JUST MAKES SENSE! Try not to get too caught up in the science of it all. The scientific proof and scientific background of the alkaline diet is there, that’s without question – but don’t fall into the trap of not seeing the wood for the trees!
The alkaline diet is really simple and common sense. When people (friends, family, doctors, other websites, troublemakers(!) and the like) try to question the alkaline approach, they usually go headfirst into a bunch of psudoscience, fuzzy logic and chemistry (largely based upon the incorrect assumption outlined above).
But let’s take a step back for a minute and not call it the alkaline diet. Let’s just call it your new healthy living idea.
This new healthy living idea includes getting lots of:
- Fresh foods
- Low sugar fruits
- Nuts, seeds and pulses
- Foods that are as close to nature (unrefined) as possible
- Filtered/purified water
- Fresh air
- Plus things like oily fish, dairy, a little lean meat and treats in moderation
While cutting back on, or getting rid of:
- Fast foods
- Junk foods and refined foods
- Excessive animal protein & dairy
- Crap like sweets, confectionary, chocolate, trans-fats, chips, pizzas etc.
- White foods (white bread, white pasta etc)
- Soft drinks, alcohol
- Stress & negative emotions
This is pretty much the alkaline diet in a nutshell – but find me a doctor who would not agree that this is a great, healthy way to live? They’d be crazy to say that this was unhealthy.
The final point to make is this: conducting human health studies is very expensive and incredibly difficult. I doubt that there will ever be a long-term, human study specifically focused on the alkaline diet in general as an approach to health. However, many smaller but more specific studies have been undertaken to relate the alkaline diet to specific outcomes, conditions and benefits, and this is what you’ll see below.
Alkaline Diet Proof: The Scientific Proof of the Alkaline Approach to Health
Alkalinity Reduces Arthritis Pain
Alkaline foods and supplementation of alkaline minerals can help with improved function and decreased pain in arthritis sufferers
Article Title: Alkaline Mineral Supplementation Decreases Pain in Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients: A Pilot Study
Article Published: The Open Nutrition Journal, 2008, 2, 100-105
Authors: Regina Maria Cseuz, Istvan Barna, Tamas Bender and Jürgen Vormann
Link to Original Article
“The aim of this pilot study was to investigate the efficacy of an alkaline mineral supplement as a means of suppressing disease activity in rheumatoid arthritis (RA) patients…This study suggests that an alkaline supplement may improve function and pain in rheumatoid arthritis and may represent an easy and safe addition to the usual treatment of RA patients.”
Alkaline Diet Supports Kidney Health
Chronic acidosis is common among those with kidney disease and studies show that alkaline supplementation and diet can slow the progression of the disease
Article Title: Does correction of metabolic acidosis slow chronic kidney disease progression?
Article Published: Current Opinion in Nephrology & Hypertension: March 2013 – Volume 22 – Issue 2 – p 193–197
Authors: Goraya, Nimrit; Wesson, Donald E
“Recent studies support that dietary acid reduction with oral sodium based alkali or base-inducing food types add kidney protection to that provided by current kidney-protective interventions. Recent studies suggest that metabolic acidosis mediates nephropathy progression, and its treatment with the comparatively inexpensive and well tolerated intervention of dietary acid reduction holds promise to be an additional kidney-protective strategy in CKD management.
Alkaline Diet Reduces Chronic Acidosis
Acidosis is Prevalent in those with kidney problems, and an alkaline diet can help improve this by reducing the acidosis
Article Title:Dietary Acid Load and Metabolic Acidosis in Renal Transplant Recipients
Article Published:Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology November 07, 2012 vol. 7 no. 11 1811-1818
Authors: Else van den Berg
“Acidosis is prevalent among renal transplant recipients (RTRs) and adversely affects cardiometabolic processes.In addition to conventional factors contributing to acidosis, diet might influence acid-base homeostasis in RTRs. Higher intake of fruits and vegetables and lower animal protein intake is associated with less acidosis in RTRs (renal transplant recipients).
An Acidic Diet Leads to Increased Risk of Obesity, Cardiovascular Disease, Diabetes, Hypertension and Chronic Kidney Failure:
Modern diet is devoid of alkalinity and the compounding effect of chronic acidosis leads to a host of problems in the body.
Article Title: Diet-induced metabolic acidosis
Article Published:Clinical Nutrition, Volume 30, Issue 4, August 2011, Pages 416–421
Authors: María M. Adeva, Gema Souto
“The modern Western-type diet is deficient in fruits and vegetables and contains excessive animal products, generating the accumulation of non-metabolizable anions and a lifespan state of overlooked metabolic acidosis, whose magnitude increases progressively with aging due to the physiological decline in kidney function.
In response to this state of diet-derived metabolic acidosis, the kidney implements compensating mechanisms aimed to restore the acid-base balance, such as the removal of the non-metabolizable anions, the conservation of citrate, and the enhancement of kidney ammoniagenesis and urinary excretion of ammonium ions. These adaptive processes lower the urine pH and induce an extensive change in urine composition, including hypocitraturia, hypercalciuria, and nitrogen and phosphate wasting.
Even a very mild degree of metabolic acidosis induces skeletal muscle resistance…and dietary acid load may be an important variable in predicting the metabolic abnormalities and the cardiovascular risk of the general population, the overweight and obese persons, and other patient populations including diabetes and chronic kidney failure.
High dietary acid load is more likely to result in diabetes and systemic hypertension and may increase the cardiovascular risk. Results of recent observational studies confirm an association between insulin resistance and metabolic acidosis markers, including low serum bicarbonate, high serum anion gap, hypocitraturia, and low urine pH.
Alkaline Diet Can Prevent and Stop Progression of Type 2 Diabetes:
An adoption of the “HFV” diet that replicates the alkaline diet (lots of vegetables, fresh foods and no red meat, processed foods, sugar etc) has been proven to slow and turn around type-2 diabetes.
Article Title: Prevention of Type 2 Diabetes by Dietary Patterns: A Systematic Review of Prospective Studies and Meta-Analysis
Article Published: Metabolic Syndrome and Related Disorders. December 2010, 8(6): 471-476. doi:10.1089/met.2010.0009
Authors: Katherine Esposito, Christina-Maria Kastorini, Demosthenes B. Panagiotakos, and Dario Giugliano.
“Dietary patterns characterized by high consumption of fruit and vegetables, whole grains, fish, and poultry, and by decreased consumption of red meat, processed foods, sugar-sweetened beverages, and starchy foods may retard the progression of type 2 diabetes. Healthy diets can help people to live more years without type 2 diabetes.”
Low Alkaline, High Acidic Diet Leads to High Risk of Obesity and Type 2 Diabetes
High acidic, low alkaline diet leads to cortisol production, known to dramatically increase the risk of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Article Title: Acid–base balance may influence risk for insulin resistance syndrome by modulating cortisol output
Article Published: Medical Hypotheses Volume 64, Issue 2, 2005, Pages 380–384
Authors: Mark F. McCarty
“Recent evidence suggests that the moderate metabolic acidosis associated with a protein-rich diet low in organic potassium salts – quantifiable by net acid output in daily urine – can likewise evoke a modest increase in cortisol production. Since cortisol promotes development of visceral obesity, and has a direct negative impact on insulin function throughout the body, even a modest sustained up-regulation of cortisol production may have the potential to increase risk for insulin resistance syndrome and type 2 diabetes. This thesis appears to be consistent with previous epidemiological reports correlating high potassium consumption, or a high intake of fruits and vegetables, with reduced risk for diabetes and coronary disease.”
Alkaline Diet Helps with Kidney Issues:
An acidic diet can be a contributor to renal (kidney) problems, and dietetic intervention with alkaline foods and substances can be advantageous.
Article Title: ACID-BASE IN RENAL FAILURE: Influence of Diet on Acid-Base Balance
Article Published: Seminars in Dialysis Volume 13, Issue 4, pages 221–226, July–August 2000
Authors: Thomas Remer
“It is well established that diet and certain food components have a clear impact on acid-base balance. Because urine pH is a relevant risk factor in most types of urinary stone disease, a dietetic manipulation of renal hydrogen ion excretion would be advantageous for a number of individuals at risk. Also patients with poorly functioning kidneys – in whom metabolic acidosis is a common manifestation of an impaired renal capacity to excrete the daily acid produced – could benefit from specific dietetic means that reduce daily acid load.”
Alkaline Water Reduces Acid Reflux
Alkaline Water helps to relieve and remove acid reflux and provides good acid-buffering capacity.
Article Title: Potential Benefits of pH 8.8 Alkaline Drinking Water as an Adjunct in the Treatment of Reflux Disease
Article Published: Ann Otol Rhinol Laryngol. 2012 Jul;121(7):431-4.
Authors: Jamie A. Koufman, MD; Nikki Johnston, PhD
“In addition, human pepsin remains stable at pH 7.4 and may be reactivated by hydrogen ions from any source. Thus, most tap and bottled waters (typically pH 6.7 to 7.4) would not be expected to affect pepsin stability. The purposes of these in vitro studies were to investigate whether artesian well water containing natural bicarbonate (pH 8.8) might irreversibly denature (inactivate) human pepsin, and to establish its potential acid-buffering capacity.
The pH 8.8 alkaline water irreversibly inactivated human pepsin (in vitro), and its hydrochloric acid-buffering capacity far exceeded that of the conventional-pH waters. Unlike conventional drinking water, pH 8.8 alkaline water instantly denatures pepsin, rendering it permanently inactive. In addition, it has good acid-buffering capacity. Thus, the consumption of alkaline water may have therapeutic benefits for patients with reflux disease.
Alkaline Diet Helps with Gout/Hyperuricemia
An alkaline diet leads to a higher alkaline urine, providing an effective treatment of Hyperuricemia / Gout – alkalising helps remove uric acid from the body.
Article Title: Effect of urine pH changed by dietary intervention on uric acid clearance mechanism of pH-dependent excretion of urinary uric acid
Article Published: Nutrition Journal 2012, 11:39
Authors: Aya Kanbara, Yoshisuke Miura, Hideyuki Hyogo, Kazuaki Chayama and Issei Seyama
“Within the framework of the Japanese government’s health promotion program, we made recipes which consisted of protein-rich and less vegetable-fruit food materials for H+ load (acidic diet) and others composed of less protein and more vegetable-fruit rich food materials (alkaline diet). Among the five factors which are associated with calculating clearances for both uric acid and creatinine, we identified a conspicuous difference between acidic and alkaline diets in the uric acid concentration in serum as well as in urine; uric acid in the serum was higher in the acidic group than in the alkaline group, while uric acid in the urine in the acidic group was lower than that in the alkaline group. These changes of uric acid in acidic urine and in serum were reflected in the reduction of its clearance. From these observations, it is considered that uric acid may be reabsorbed more actively in acidic urine than in alkaline urine.
We conclude that alkalization of urine by eating nutritionally well-designed alkaline prone food is effective for removing uric acid from the body.”
Alkaline Foods Support Bone Health
A diet rich in alkaline forming foods supports bone health and has been proven by numerous human studies.
Article Title: The Acid-Base Hypothesis: Diet and Bone in the Framingham Osteoporosis Study
Article Published: European Journal of Nutrition October 2001, Volume 40, Issue 5, pp 231-237
Authors: Katherine L. Tucker, Marian T. Hannan, Douglas P. Kiel
“There continues to be considerable debate about the role of acid vs. basic components of the diet on the long-term status of bone mineral density. The theory that an acidic environment leads to progressive bone loss has long been proposed, and has been supported by numerous short-term human studies. We examined the effect of components in the diet thought to have basic (alkaline) effects and acid effects on bone mineral density…(and) these results support the role of base-forming foods and nutrients in bone health.”
Alkaline Diet Supports Bone Health
An overly acidic diet leads to the constant requirement for buffering of these acids in the body, which leads to the weakening of the bones as bone resorption takes place, with the calcium being lost from the bones to help buffer these acids. Even a slight decrease in metabolic acidosis leads to bone loss and risk of fracture
Article Title: Acid-base imbalance and the skeleton
Article Published: European Journal of Nutrition. 2001 Oct;40(5):238-44.
Authors: Bushinsky DA.
“Humans generally consume a diet that generates metabolic acids leading to a reduction in the concentration of systemic bicarbonate and a fall in pH. In vitro experiments indicate that this metabolic acidosis causes a release of calcium from bone that initially is simply due to physicochemical dissolution of the mineral. On a more chronic basis metabolic acidosis alters bone cell function; there is an increase in osteoclastic bone resorption and a decrease in osteoblastic bone formation…As we age we are less able to excrete these metabolic acids due to the normal decline in renal function. We hypothesize that a slight, but significant, metabolic acidosis leads to greater loss of bone mineral and increase potential to fracture.”
Alkaline Water Prevents Bone Loss, Supports Bone Strength
Alkaline water supports bone strength by eliminating bone resorption (weakening) and is especially more powerful than acidic water, even if the acidic water contains calcium. Thus supporting the hypothesis that acidic substances don’t necessarily promote bone health even if they contain calcium (i.e. milk).
Article Title: Alkaline mineral water lowers bone resorption even in calcium sufficiency: alkaline mineral water and bone metabolism
Article Published: Bone. 2009 Jan;44(1):120-4. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2008.09.007. Epub 2008 Sep 26.
Authors: Wynn E, Krieg MA, Aeschlimann JM, Burckhardt P.
“Dietary acid charge enhances bone loss. Bicarbonate or alkali diet decreases bone resorption in humans. We compared the effect of an alkaline mineral water, rich in bicarbonate, with that of an acid one, rich in calcium only, on bone markers, in young women with a normal calcium intake….In calcium sufficiency, the acid calcium-rich water had no effect on bone resorption, while the alkaline water rich in bicarbonate led to a significant decrease of PTH and of S-CTX.”
Alkaline Water Prevents Bone Loss, Supports Bone Strength
Alkaline water and diet inhibit bone resporption (bone weakening). Alkaline water is specifically show in this research to outperform acidic water.
Article Title: The Effect of the Alkali Load of Mineral Water on Bone Metabolism: Interventional Studies
Article Published: Journal of Nutrition. February 2008 vol. 138 no. 2 435S-437S
Authors: Peter Burckhardt
“Alkali supplements decrease bone resorption and increase bone mineral density. Alkali diets also lower bone resorption. Mineral waters alone could have such an effect. In several subsequent studies in humans, bicarbonate-rich alkali mineral waters with low potential renal acid load values were shown to decrease bone resorption markers and even parathyroid hormone levels. This effect seems to be stronger than that of acidic calcium-rich mineral waters.
These studies have shown that alkali, bicarbonate-rich mineral waters, especially waters with a strongly negative PRAL value, decrease bone resorption, even when compared with mineral waters with a higher calcium content.”
Alkaline Foods, Minerals DO Effect Our Acid/Alkaline Balance
Proof that consuming alkaline minerals DOES have an effect on acid-base chemistry – the alkaline diet DOES have an impact on our health!
Article Title: Effect of a supplement rich in alkaline minerals on acid-base balance in humans
Article Published: Nutrition Journal 2009, 8:23
Authors: Daniel König, Klaus Muser, Hans-Hermann Dickhuth, Aloys Berg and Peter Deibert
“Western diets are considered acidogenic due to the high dietary acid load and a low intake of base-forming dietary minerals such as potassium, magnesium or calcium. In the present study we investigated the effect of a multimineral supplement (MMS) rich in alkaline minerals on acute and chronic regulation of acid-base balance with the pH of blood, urine and saliva as potential
Our results suggest that the ingestion of a multimineral supplement is associated with both a significant increase in blood and urinary pH.”
Alkaline Diet Reduces Pain
An acidic diet can increase the liklihood and intensity of pain, but a more alkaline diet can reduce this pain, specifically chronic back pain in this case.
Article Title: Supplementation with alkaline minerals reduces symptoms in patients with chronic low back pain
Article Published: Volume 15, Issues 2–3, 2001, Pages 179–183
Authors: Jürgen Vormann, Michael Worlitschek, Thomas Goedecke, Burton Silver
“It was tested whether a supplementation with alkaline minerals would influence symptoms in patients with low back pain symptoms. In 76 out of 82 patients a reduction in ARS (Arhus low back pain rating scale) was achieved by the supplementation. Total blood buffering capacity was significantly increased … and also blood pH rose … The results show that a disturbed acid-base balance may contribute to the symptoms of low back pain. The simple and safe addition of an alkaline multimineral preparate was able to reduce the pain symptoms in these patients with chronic low back pain.
Alkaline Diet Improves Bone Strength, Acid Diet Leads to Bone Mineral Loss
An acidic diet leads to weaker bones, but consuming alkaline minerals (sodium bicarbonate) and increasing the alkali content of the diet can slow bone loss and lead to stronger bones in older adults
Article Title: Treatment with Potassium Bicarbonate Lowers Calcium Excretion and Bone Resorption in Older Men and Women
Article Published: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & MetabolismJanuary 1, 2009 vol. 94 no. 196-102
Authors: Bess Dawson-Hughes, Susan S. Harris, Nancy J. Palermo, Carmen Castaneda-Sceppa,Helen M. Rasmussen and Gerard E. Dallal
“Bicarbonate has been implicated in bone health in older subjects on acid-producing diets in short-term studies. Bicarbonate…had a favorable effect on bone resorption and calcium excretion. This suggests that increasing the alkali content of the diet may attenuate bone loss in healthy older adults.
Alkaline Diet Supports Lean Muscle & Reduces Muscle Loss
An acidic diet creates metabolic acidosis, leading to muscle wasting and a reduction in lean muscle tissue. This can be corrected with a high intake of foods containing alkaline minerals such as potassium (alkaline foods).
Article Title: Alkaline diets favor lean tissue mass in older adults
Article Published: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition March 2008 vol. 87 no. 3 662-665
Authors: Bess Dawson-Hughes, Susan S Harris, and Lisa Ceglia
“Metabolic acidosis promotes muscle wasting, and the net acid load from diets that are rich in net acid–producing protein and cereal grains relative to their content of net alkali–producing fruit and vegetables may therefore contribute to a reduction in lean tissue mass in older adults. Higher intake of foods rich in potassium, such as fruit and vegetables, may favor the preservation of muscle mass in older men and women.”
Proof: The Alkaline Diet Works!
An overly-acidic diet (dietary-induced acidosis) is real, has a devestating effect and should be corrected with diet (alkaline).
Article Title: Diet-induced acidosis: is it real and clinically relevant?
Article Published: British Journal of Nutrition. 2010 Apr;103(8):1185-94. doi: 10.1017/S0007114509993047. Epub 2009 Dec 15.
Authors: Pizzorno, Frassetta and Katzinger
“The available research makes a compelling case that diet-induced acidosis, not diet-induced acidaemia, is a real phenomenon, and has a significant, clinical, long-term pathophysiological effect that should be recognised and potentially counterbalanced by dietary means.”
Alkaline Minerals Increase Acid Buffering Capacity & Can Improve Sports Performance
Consuming Alkaline Minerals (Sodium Bicarbonate) Increases the Buffering Capacity of the Body & Provides Sports Performance Enhancement
Article Title: Sodium bicarbonate improves swimming performance.
Article Published: Int Journal Sports Medicine. 2008 Jun;29(6):519-23. Epub 2007 Nov 14.
Authors: Lindh AM, Peyrebrune MC, Ingham SA, Bailey DM, Folland JP.
“Sodium bicarbonate ingestion has been shown to improve performance in single-bout, high intensity events, probably due to an increase in buffering capacity, but its influence on single-bout swimming performance has not been investigated. The effects of sodium bicarbonate supplementation on 200 m freestyle swimming performance were investigated in elite male competitors…It was concluded that SB supplementation can improve 200 m freestyle performance time in elite male competitors, most likely by increasing buffering capacity.”
This is just a handful of the research that exists out there. It is available in abundance. Of course, I will keep adding to this section of my site each few weeks, but for now, this is certainly enough to be going on to prove to yourself and others that the alkaline diet is REAL, it WORKS and it’s PROVEN to be beneficial to human health!
Next Steps to Get Alkaline!
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PLUS – I strongly recommend you check out my Alkaline Diet Recipe Book!
If you have any research you’ve found for yourself, feel free to let me know in the comments section below this article!
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