Dr. Linus Pauling, winner of two Nobel Prizes, stated, “You can trace every sickness, every disease, and every ailment, to a mineral deficiency.” While this may be an oversimplification of the cause of disease, it is a considerable underlying factor at the very least, just like both pH imbalances and inflammation in the body which go hand and hand. The difference is that pH encompasses everything with minerals being primordial in the big equation.
While our pH levels cannot remain in balance without adequate minerals, there are many additional factors that are involved like vitamins, macronutrient balance, water, stressors, hormones, enzymes, microbiome balance, stomach acid, etc., that need to be considered and are all collectively invaluable!
Linus Pauling was WELL aware of these other factors as well but needed to stress the critical importance of minerals. Nothing works without minerals; vitamins have no function, and pH balance is impossible. Overtime, a mineral deficiency of any kind, will eventually result in the malfunction of one or more of the body’s organ systems. Being that all these organ systems work together in unity, the whole system will eventually breakdown if deficiencies are not addressed and imbalances are not corrected.
When our pH levels are out of balance for a period of time, our tissues are deprived of oxygen, our metabolic cellular furnace burns slowly, inflammation becomes chronic especially in weak areas; the enzymes that are involved in every bodily function are compromised, toxic waste builds up, and nutrient deficiencies are present. Eventually our body breaks down, and any number of diseases can materialize.
What I’m trying to get across here is that many and ALL factors need to be considered for the body to function optimally and prevent the onset of disease. Yes, minerals happen to be on the top of the list if we were to put them in order of importance, and the life preserving pH buffers can’t function without those invaluable minerals. The difference is, in order to achieve pH balance, as I stated earlier, minerals alone, while being primordial for life, are not going to keep us alive and disease free all by themselves. There are certainly other nutritional requirements and lifestyle habits involved.
Some practitioners and educators focus primarily on gut health, some on minerals, some focus primarily on enzymes, others on hormones, others on blood sugar balance, some on inflammation, and some on detoxification, all of which are undeniably important, and ALL of which involve pH in some way or another. All of these factors mentioned involve stressing the body in some fashion when imbalanced. Whether mental or physical, stress can also be considered the cause and underlying factor in most all disease initiation and promotion!
When we strive to keep our pH levels in balance and inflammation in check, which on the highest therapeutic disease preventing levels is not an easy task in today’s world, we will promote the OPTIMAL environment for our cells to thrive in to maintain homeostasis, thus preventing the initiation of disease.
PROBLEMATIC IMBALANCES INVOLVING FOUR MACRO MINERALS
Mineral balance is of EXTREME importance to maintain healthy pH levels as you have learned. Now let’s take a look at a few very common imbalances with deadly consequences!
A lot of Westerners in particular are either too low in calcium or too high in “bad” calcium, and very low in magnesium in either case. Low magnesium to calcium ratio, accompanied most often by excessive acidic conditions, not only prevents calcium from getting to the bones, but will also cause a gradual deficit in bone density and calcification in soft tissues. Even if you may be getting plenty of calcium from your food, acidic diets can eat up all your dietary calcium, as well as the smaller amounts of magnesium that may be available, just to do the work of buffering the blood and keeping you alive. If this situation is allowed to continue, the body will then be forced to grab its alkaline minerals from the skeleton.
Most people get their calcium from acidic sources like fortified cereals or commercial dairy which is pasteurized, homogenized, processed, and highly acidic. Big corporate food giants add cheap non-absorbable calcium to these products and what does get absorbed is used to buffer the acidic foods anyway. Often times you’re at a net loss and more calcium is stripped from your bones depending on how acidic and inflamed your body is, and some of that calcium gets deposited throughout the body in all the WRONG places. The other way calcium gets deposited in soft tissues, joints and arteries is from the use of inorganic rock form calcium supplements. In this rock form, even if it is manufactured to be absorbable, most inorganic calcium is not as recognizable to the body, so in excessive amounts it isn’t eliminated effectively through the kidneys like it is in organic form. In addition, and more importantly, the calcium very often LACKS adequate magnesium, and other nutrient co-factors like vitamin D, K2, silica, and many others, preventing the calcium from reaching the bones where most of it belongs!
The ratio of calcium: magnesium, including diet and supplementation should be around 1:1, and at most 2:1 or even the other way around, depending on your school of thought. However, most people have calcium: magnesium imbalances of 4-5:1 which can lead to an enormous menu of health conditions overtime. The RDA of calcium for the average adult is 1000 mg (a little higher for women), and for magnesium is 400 mg. Not knowing the real reasons behind it, RDA calcium recommendations may be set higher in an attempt to deflect the adverse effects of the standard American diet high in ACID FORMING conventional animal protein, table salt, caffeine, along with high stress lifestyles which promote excessive calcium loss in the urine from your own bones.
MOST experts don’t know this, but in most cases, not even half of the RDA for calcium would be required if the average person’s diet wasn’t so overly acidic to begin with. The same goes for magnesium as most Americans are deficient in this extremely important mineral, and any excess besides what is needed to stay alive is burned up by emotional, chemical, and physical stressors!
Excessive “bad” calcium supplementation, especially in the absence of proportionate amounts of magnesium and Vitamin D, along with other vital supportive nutrients like vitamin K, prevents calcium from getting to the bones, and allows calcium to accumulate in vulnerable soft tissues and joints, and arteries instead. A lack of dietary and supplemental calcium will cause the same issues, but the calcium will be coming from your bones. Taking calcium supplements in plant form is the safest choice.
This VERY interesting study performed by the department of orthopedic surgical sciences at Uppsala University in Sweden, compiled data on more than 61,000 women enrolled in a study on mammograms. Following-up over 19 years the researchers found nearly 12,000 women died with about 4,000 dying from cardiovascular disease, about 1,900 from heart disease, and 1,100 from stroke. Researchers noted that the highest rates of DEATH were seen among women whose calcium intake was higher than 1,400 milligrams a day, and women taking 1,400 milligrams of calcium a day plus a supplement had an even higher risk of dying than women not using supplements. On the other hand, women who took less than 600 milligrams of calcium a day were also at an increased risk of death. In the end, women getting more than 1,400 milligrams of calcium a day were TWO times more likely to die than women getting 600 to 999 milligrams a day! This study at least indirectly shows that too little, and even worse, too much of a good thing is NOT a good thing at all, especially when disproportionate to integral complimentary nutrients like magnesium.
- SODIUM/POTASSIUM IMBALANCE
Westerners especially have a propensity to follow a diet that is high in acidic sodium chloride (Iodized table salt) and low in potassium. This refined highly processed sodium is very toxic and acid forming to the body. It not only contains unnaturally imbalanced levels of sodium chloride as it’s heated up to 1200 degrees, it also contains synthetic chemicals like ferrocyanide, talc, silica aluminate, fluoride, high amounts of potassium iodide, and toxic anti-caking agents, and often contaminated with glass and sand, which increase table salts acidic, vascular damaging effects exponentially, especially in high amounts.
According to an article published in The New England Journal of Medicine, our ancient ancestors took in about 11,000 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day, and about 700 mg of sodium which equates to 16:1 potassium to sodium. American diets today average about 2,500 mg of potassium, with less than 2% of Americans getting the RDA of 4,700 mg a day!
The average sodium intake is 3400-3600 mg a day with an RDA of 2300 at the very most. Heavily salted processed and fast foods in addition to toxic table salt on our dinner tables, combined with a low intake of fruits and vegetables which are high in potassium rich compounds, flips that ratio to 2:1 in favor of sodium! That backwards ratio not only raises blood pressure directly, but gradually veers the body towards a disease promoting acidic pH. More important than the individual levels of these two minerals is the balance between them. In many cases, increasing potassium alone can lower blood pressure to normal levels.
Dr. Elena Kuklina, one of the researchers of a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, discovered that people who consume a lot of sodium and very little potassium were more than twice as likely to die from a heart attack as those who ate about equal amounts of both nutrients. In other words, sodium: potassium imbalances pose a much greater risk than simply eating too much salt alone when adequate potassium was present.
Refined sodium chloride, or table salt, is added to the vast majority of processed foods, like those sold in boxes, bottles, jars, and cans, as well as foods served in most restaurants, especially non-organic products. Greatly reducing your consumption of processed refined salt-containing foods is an important step toward reducing an acidic pH.
- CALCIUM/MAGNESIUM IMBALANCE AND CALCIFICATION
According to Dr. H. Ray Evers, leading practitioner of chelation, “The power plant of human cell is called the “mitochondrion.” The mitochondrion is what generates energy for the cell to use. What everyone refers to as “energy” is derived from the oxidative reduction of the cellular respiration. This is done through the mitochondria. But the problem arises when the cell is low in magnesium, relative to calcium. Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the “energy currency” of the cell, is magnesium dependent. This means it is obvious that the calcium pump at the cell membrane is also magnesium dependent. Without enough “biologically available” magnesium, the cellular calcium pump slows down. Thus a vicious cycle is established. The low levels of available magnesium inhibit the generation of energy, and the low levels of energy inhibit the calcium pump. What’s the end result? The mitochondrion, the powerhouse of the cell and the entire body, can become CALCIFIED.
This is the beginning of aging. It all starts in the cell. First the cells age. This leads to organ aging. And after the organs age, individual aging occurs. This is one of the reasons older people can become “stiff”, losing flexibility and mobility. Since calcium is readily accumulated by mitochondria, this ion is potentially capable of antagonizing the activating influence of magnesium on many intra-mitochondrial enzyme reactions. This means that every function of your body can be inhibited when the mitochondria calcify. It’s like going through life with the emergency brakes on. Calcium is the brake. Magnesium is the accelerator. To be in optimal health, there must be a balance between the two.”
The higher the protein you consume, the more magnesium is needed. When large amounts of calcium are consumed, you need more magnesium. A diet which is high in calcium increases the body’s need for magnesium. -Dr. H. Ray Evers
The higher the calcium level and the lower the magnesium level in the extra-cellular fluid, the harder it is for cells to pump the calcium out. Mitochondria produce the energy our cells and organs need. This is vitally important for the heart because heart muscle cells have a never ending need for energy. Mitochondria are also important for proper neurotransmission and are HIGHLY concentrated in cells of the brain and central nervous system. A healthy cell has high magnesium and lower calcium levels.
When certain cells are stressed or dying, they take up calcium, which not only excites the cells but also disrupts their energy production and increases stress. A cramp or a seizure is an example of uncontrolled cellular excitation. Prolonged excitation and stress result from and contribute to increased acidity, tissue inflammation, and fibrosis.
- CALCIUM/MAGNESIUM BALANCE AND THE PARATHYROID
The parathyroid glands are located at the front and base of the neck around the thyroid gland. They produce parathyroid hormone (PTH), which regulates calcium, phosphorus, and magnesium levels within the blood and bone. A deficiency of calcium and/or magnesium, and vitamin D throws off pH balance and can stimulate the parathyroid glands to produce more PTH to increase calcium absorption, known as “Secondary Hyperparathyroidism.” This condition FORCES calcium from the bones so the body can access the mineral when acid conditions are present and the mineral is not available from diet.
Hyperparathyroidism, or producing too much PTH, can cause cells to take up too much calcium, and its excess is associated with many inflammatory and degenerative diseases. In a lot of cases the parathyroid hormone is overly produced without regard to the calcium levels, which is recognized as “primary hyperparathyroidism.” This common disorder is caused by the enlargement of one or more of the parathyroid glands in acidic, inflammatory, toxic conditions and affects about 1 in 1,000 people.
“The parathyroid hormone (PTH) is an important regulator of calcium metabolism. If dietary calcium isn’t sufficient, causing blood calcium to decrease, the PTH increases, and removes calcium from bones to maintain a normal amount in the blood. PTH has many other effects, contributing to inflammation, calcification of soft tissues, and decreased respiratory energy production.” Ray Peat, PhD.
PTH inhibits cellular respiration, activating glycolysis, thus lowering the ATP level and shifting the cells metabolism toward anaerobic lactic acid production rather than carbon dioxide. Increased PTH also causes bicarbonate to be lost in the urine creating more acidic inflammatory conditions.
BRIEF OVERVIEW OF SOME OF THESE VITAL ELECTROLYTES:
- Magnesium is essential for all energy conversion, muscle function, and nerve conduction. There are MORE than 300 different enzyme reactions, bone and tooth formation and pH balance that require magnesium.
- Magnesium is essential for the production of ATP energy, insulin production and insulin uptake.
Magnesium is a positively charged cation, co-factor of many enzymes and is need for both sodium-potassium pump and calcium ion channel function. A deficiency of this mineral causes an increase in intracellular sodium, allowing potassium to leak out of cells, which can lead to hypokalaemia requiring immediate magnesium replacement.
- Magnesium is predominant in muscle cells and tends to control and balance other mineral electrolytes including calcium, potassium and sodium, acting like the MASTER mineral.
- Nerve cells rely on this pump for responding to stimuli and transmitting impulses.
- Physical and emotional stress will deplete magnesium from the body rapidly creating a more acidic internal environment.
- Sodium is needed for muscle contractions, nerve transmissions, maintaining pH balance, and regulating hydration with hormones like ADH and aldosterone.
- Sodium regulates the fluid outside of the cells and is needed to pump fluid into the cells as potassium carries by-products out. (sodium/potassium pump)
- Sodium/potassium pump maintains an excess of sodium in ECF or outside the cell
- Organic sodium is a very important part of the bicarbonate buffer system
- Sodium becomes a positive ion as it loses an electron when dissolved
- Potassium is the chief intracellular cation
- Potassium/sodium pump keeps excess K+ inside the cell, and can only exceed a very small percentage in extracellular fluids so that it doesn’t disturb the electrical potential differences of the system.
- Relative intra-cellular-extracellular potassium concentrations directly affects a cell’s resting membrane potential, therefore a slight change on either side of the membrane has profound effects on neurons and muscle fibers.
- Potassium is part of the body’s buffer system, which resists changes in pH of body fluids; ECF potassium levels rise with acidosis as potassium leave cells and fall with alkalosis as potassium moves into cells.
- Potassium and sodium becomes a positive ion as it loses an electron when dissolved.
- Potassium output is usually equal to potassium input as the body does not store excess.
- Potassium balance is maintained primarily by renal mechanisms (i.e. influenced by Aldosterone)
- This is why death row inmates are killed by injection of potassium intravenously, and it doesn’t require large amounts to kill people.
Sodium is needed by extracellular fluids and potassium is needed by intra-cellular fluids to maintain electrical potential differences. In dying people the electrical potential differences are small and that’s why extracellular fluids have to be slightly more alkaline then intra-cellular fluids to keep electrical potential differences.
- Calcium is a major component of bones and teeth, as much as 99%.
- It also is required for the clotting of blood to stop bleeding and for normal functioning of the nerves, muscles, and heart.
- Calcium regulates membrane activity, it assists nerve impulse transfer and hormone release, stabilizes the pH of the body, and is an essential part of conception.
- Calcium regulates cell membrane activity and hormone release.
- Calcium is the #1 MOST alkaline forming mineral in the body, which is why the body will pull it from the bones when conditions become overly acidic!
- Calcium helps transport oxygen into the cell. Calcium: acid, is like water: fire. The right form of calcium in proper balance increases cellular oxygen capacity, which in turn decreases acidic conditions that cancer cells thrive in! Thus cancerous cells have considerably less calcium than a normal cell has.
- Chloride is a prominent negatively charged ion of the blood, where it represents 70 percent of the body’s total negative ion content
- Chloride is the major anion of the extracellular fluids, where it occurs mostly in association with sodium
- The negative charge of chloride balances against the positive charges of sodium and potassium ions in order to maintain serum osmolarity.
- Chloride becomes a negative ion as it gains an electron when dissolved.
- In the stomach, the chloride ion is one of the constituents of hydrochloric acid, which helps maintain the powerful acidity of the gastric juices. One of the most dangerous ramifications of vomiting is too much acid lost from the stomach, which alters acid-base balance and can lead to metabolic alkalosis.