A pH-balanced diet is the foundation of the Osteoporosis Reversal Program and the cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle.
The foods you eat can support or hinder your body's continuous maintenance of its pH. Blood and other bodily fluids must maintain a very narrow pH range– which is the level of the acidity or basicity of an aqueous solution.
Today we'll look at three studies that confirm the importance of maintaining an alkaline pH to prevent and reverse osteoporosis and osteopenia and what can happen if your diet is acidifying.
Acid-Base Balance Influences Bone Creation And Destruction
A report published in 2003 in Proceedings of the Nutrition Society provides an in-depth look at exactly how acidification impacts bone. The report, titled “Regulation of bone cell function by acid-base balance” clarifies the role that the serum pH plays in the health and strength of the cellular matrix that comprises bone.1
It has been known for more than a hundred years that systemic acidosis— the condition wherein the body's pH is below the healthy average– causes bone loss. However, it wasn't until more technologically advanced research and observation over the past few decades that scientists identified the mechanism behind this result.
The author found ample evidence from previous studies that when the extracellular fluid that surrounds bone became more acidic, osteoclasts became more active.
Osteoclasts are the cells responsible for removing old bone— they excavate little pits into bones called resorption pits. Under acidic conditions, overstimulated osteoclasts riddled bones with resorption pits, reducing their strength and quality.1
Acidification has the inverse effect on osteoblasts, the cells responsible for creating new bone mass. They became less active– reducing collagen synthesis and mineralization, as acidity increased.
The author concluded the report as follows:
“Given the great sensitivity of osteoclasts to ambient pH, it seems likely that even slight chronic acidosis could be sufficient to cause appreciable bone loss over time. Conversely, dietary or hormonal manipulations that result in a small extent of alkalosis might be expected to have a bone-sparing effect.”1
A 2003 report found that when the acid-base balance of the extracellular fluid surrounding bones becomes too acidic, that acidity stimulates the activity of osteoclasts, which dig “resorption pits” into bone. They concluded that even slight chronic acidosis can cause appreciable bone loss, and dietary changes can have a “bone-sparing” effect.
Acidification And Bone Loss
In 2008 the Journal of Nutrition published a study titled “Extracellular pH regulates bone cell function.” It addressed the phenomenon of bone loss resulting from serum acidification.
The body attempts to maintain an alkaline pH system-wide, with slightly different levels in different areas as needed. This study examined the exact levels of acidification which triggered increased bone loss and studied the mechanism by which bone loss occurs.
The researchers found that acid directly stimulated bone resorption by osteoclasts. However, at a pH of 7.4 or higher, the resorption “is switched off.”2 On the pH scale, lower numbers are more acidic, and higher numbers are less acidic.
The researchers concluded their report by notating that diets that “shift acid-base balance in the alkaline direction may provide useful treatments for bone loss disorders.”2
A 2008 study found that at a pH of 7.4 bone resorption caused by acidification ceased. Researchers concluded that diets that shift the acid-base balance in the alkaline direction could treat bone loss disorders.
Acidosis Keeps Your Bones From Getting Stronger
A study titled “Acidosis inhibits bone formation by osteoblasts in vitro by preventing mineralization” was published in the medical journal Calcified Tissue International in 2005. Its title quite succinctly sums up the findings of the study's authors.
Osteoblasts, the cells involved in bone deposition, harvested from neonatal rat calvariae were cultured for up to 21 days, suspended in a serum. The pH levels of the serum were adjusted and the effect on osteoblast behavior was observed.
“Our results show that acidosis exerts a selective, inhibitory action on matrix mineralization that is reciprocal with the osteoclast activation response. Thus, in uncorrected acidosis, the deposition of alkaline mineral in bone by osteoblasts is reduced, and osteoclast resorptive activity is increased”3
This third study once again independently confirms a basic rule of bone health: acidification weakens bone quality and strength. Furthermore, it does it from every direction: not only does acidification cause bone loss, but it prevents the creation of new bone.
A 2005 study found that acidosis prevents osteoblasts from forming new bone. Again, we observe that acidification drives bone loss, while a balanced pH supports the healthy regeneration of bone.
How To Maintain A Healthy, Balanced pH
Now that you have clear data about this major threat to bone health, you can take decisive action to counteract the threat and protect your bones. As the researchers noted, an alkalizing diet can prevent acidification.
The Save Institute has founded its approach to building stronger, healthier bones on this exact principle. Preventing acidification is a primary function of the 80/20 pH-balanced diet. Unlike some complex dietary plans, this one is simple– just make sure that every plate of food contains about 80 percent alkalizing foods and 20 percent acidifying foods.
Almost all fruits and vegetables are alkalizing. Most other foods are acidifying, although there are exceptions. But even this simple rule of thumb makes it possible to start roughly balancing your meals today. And it's important to note that acidifying foods are not bad. Some of the most densely nutritious foods are acidifying– like many seeds, most varieties of beans, and even mineral-rich organ meats. It's all about balancing those foods with alkalizing ones.
The benefits of eating a pH-balanced diet go well beyond avoiding acidosis– diets that align with the 80/20 pH-balanced diet have been shown to have benefits such as:
Avoid acidification to prevent bone loss, as observed in today's studies. The Save Institute's 80/20 pH-balanced diet provides a simple plan for maintaining a properly balanced pH that supports healthy bone remodeling. The same diet has additional benefits like slowing the process of aging, protecting cognitive function, reducing systemic inflammation, and preventing disease.
What This Means To You
Make every meal pH-balanced. When you help your body maintain its ideal pH, you give your bones the chance to gain mass instead of losing it.
The Osteoporosis Reversal Program makes it easy to learn which foods are acidifying and which are alkalizing– so you can turn those foods into delicious meals. The program even includes more than 90 bone-healthy recipes, plus quick and easy bone-building snacks. And because it's not a denial-based diet, you can eat your favorite foods. It's all about proportion.
The ORP doesn't stop there though. A pH-balanced diet alone isn't enough to build stronger bones. That's where bone-targeted, weight-bearing exercise comes in. You'll learn about the sorts of physical activities you should be doing regularly to stimulate the growth of new bone mass.
One by one, the simple steps in the Osteoporosis Reversal Program provides will lead you to a healthier life with stronger, more resilient bones.
Enjoy your pH-balanced meals– not just because they're delicious, but because every bite brings you peace of mind knowing that you’re doing the right thing for your bones and your overall health.