3 Studies That Will Convince You To Follow A Ph-Balanced Diet To Heal Your Bones - Save Our Bones

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:

  • Slowing the process of aging and increasing lifespan4
  • Improved cognitive function and lower rates of cognitive decline5
  • Reduced systemic inflammation6
  • Prevents disease and early death7
  • Synopsis

    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.


    1 https://www.cambridge.org/core/services/aop-cambridge-core/content/view/1459469356D2351B805C716FD140C92C/S0029665103000673a.pdf/regulation-of-bone-cell-function-by-acid-base-balance.pdf

    2 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18203913/

    3 https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16075362/

    4 https://www.bmj.com/content/349/bmj.g6674

    5 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23680940

    6 https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23679924

    7 https://www.thelancet.com/article/S0140-6736(19)30041-8/fulltext

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    Comments on this article are closed.

    1. Catherine Twomey

      Hello: I am a member and have been following your exercise and dietary recommendations for a while now. PLEASE advise your members to be VERY careful about any fish they ingest.

      I have a strong medical background as an Emeritus Medical Illustrator and Fellow. I had no idea the damage I was doing to myself. I wrote the following article and am making it my mission to get the word out to help others. Our environment is changing, not for the good, and what used to be true no longer holds.

      I have great hopes of being OK after the next seven months of treatment. There is no question this affected my physiology and therefore bones, along with a host of other things. Read it and weep – then become an environmental activist. The earth needs your help.

      “The following is a personal Public Service Announcement – my first, and I hope the last:

      Mercury: Dangerously Fishy by Catherine Twomey, FAMI, Emeritus

      Thinking about ordering that lovely swordfish or sea bass, steaming and covered in capers? Or, how about that sushi? About to pop open a can of “sustainable, thoughtfully harvested” Albacore tuna to eat on a salad or for a delicious tuna fish sandwich? Think again; hard.

      I’ve just been diagnosed with mercury toxicity. For the last two months, I’ve worked with an integrative, functional medicine doctor while she supervised and interpreted over 10 tests, ranging from blood to hair and lots in between.

      What kind of harm is done by an excess of mercury? Without getting overly scientific, the overall scope is that it’s prevented my body from functioning properly for a long time. Mercury toxicity can be a root cause of a host of maladies that are otherwise attributed to things like aging or chronic disease.

      I have stepped out of traditional medicine because it failed me once again. My general practitioner refused to do annual blood tests for me since 2020 – even though I asked him to repeatedly, telling me: “You’re doing just fine, you don’t need them.” Funny, he had no problem doing them for my husband. I found a traditionally trained physician whose specialty, functional integrative medicine, isn’t recognized by Medicare, yet who is one of the most intelligent, thorough and life-changing people I’ve met.

      The mercury toxicity diagnosis has been pretty exhausting and frightening. Sure, I’d heard about fish and mercury – but it really can’t be that bad, otherwise I would have heard more about it, right? Wrong. I can no longer eat any fish or shellfish except a limited amount of salmon. As a small species fish with lower mercury, salmon is loaded with antioxidants; a good thing. At this point in the earth’s environmental destruction, every species of fish or shellfish has mercury in it. It’s just a question of which species does the most harm.

      What’s being dumped into the oceans is much worse than it was just a couple of decades ago. I had been experiencing subtle, weird symptoms of various things and at least now have an explanation for them. My body is slowly healing and balancing, and I’m going to have what’s called chelation therapy to “liquify” what mercury is in my body with hopes of a full recovery. It’s going to take thousands of dollars and up to seven months.

      Our medical system is broken; this story is just one tiny example. When I tell doctors about my mercury toxicity, their typical first response is: “that’s rare.” I suspect the opposite is true. How can you know if something is rare if it’s not even tested for routinely? Unfortunately, most physicians have had little nutritional education and we’re paying a steep price for that deficiency.

      The amount of mercury and other industrial waste being freely released into the oceans has increased by about 30% just in the last 20 years – ah, those pesky environmental regulations – and is increasing exponentially. Yet there are no standard tests done to measure changing nutritional needs or toxic exposure. The tests are affordable, do-able remotely and could significantly alter the grossly mismanaged, unregulated supplement industry profoundly – and please, don’t even get me started on the pharmaceutical industry. Illnesses could be re-diagnosed, correctly; lives saved, improved and millions of dollars redirected towards better health outcomes rather than chronic diseases.

      I loved to eat fish. I’d read, been told and thought I was doing the “right” thing and following a great diet full of everything you’re supposed to eat with very little of the bad stuff. Not anymore. At least for the foreseeable future, I’m all plant based. I’m actually learning to cook because at least I know what’s going into and can control each meal. I want to keep outdoor mountain painting, thinking clearly, horseback riding and being disease free as long as possible.

      Lately I’ve mused on how ironic it is that, as an emeritus medical illustrator and fine art painter, I’ve focused on the complexity and beauty of nature and fragility of the earth’s environment. My brain calling out for help? Maybe. Or maybe the earth’s problems are now hitting home and I can no longer be in denial. It’s not fun being the canary in a coal mine.”

      • Clara

        Hi Catherine,

        I too have heavy metal toxicity and was about to get chelation when I came across this. It’s something serious to consider before doing chelation. It is entitled: Chelation therapy risks by Dr. Datis Kharrazian


        I wish you well in your search for clearing this out of your body. My body is not letting it go even after 6 years of special detoxing. If you have any suggestions besides chelation that work, I would be interested in knowing it.

        Thanks, Clara

    2. Ann OToole

      Thank you Vivian. You must be an angel. Happiness comes from giving. Ann

      • Monica Sukowski

        Sweet Comment – We appreciate Vivian 🙂

        • mirella

          Yes, that is my question also? The ph urine is different from the ph blood, and you mention the ph in stomac?

    3. Stephanie

      How can we test to see what the PH is? Blood test? Urine test?

    4. Twigs

      Thank you, very informative articles.
      I have been on Prolia/Denosumab for 5 or so years and would like to stop. If I ate your 80/30% diet would this be equivalent to what the medical profession want to do: replace it with another pharmaceutical?

      Second question: can you recommend a pH friendly recipe book to ease me in. I am already on an almost completely vegetable diet.
      Thank you

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        You’re welcome!

        To answer your first question, replacing an osteoporosis medication with a pH-balanced diet is a natural way to improve your bone health without taking dangerous drugs.

        And you can check out our bone-healthy recipe book, Bone Appetit, here:


    5. Cat Albers

      How about some lots of what to eat and what to avoid? It’s too difficult to read a decipher all this. Get to the point!

      • Catherine Gordon

        Yes! Too much filling & padding – it’s frustrating- just list the foods which are beneficial.

      • Carol

        I agree with Cat. Get to the point. What foods improve the density of the bones?

    6. Ita

      Thank you, Ita.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        My pleasure, Ita!


      I really appreciate it very much receiving information about bone formation an d
      bone loss,

      My doctor is not lecturing me about the harmful effects of taking drugs for my
      osteoporosis ever since. I have taken alendronate acid for 4 years and only this
      year 2023 I have a drug holliday. On my next visit to my doctor I will suggest
      to stop this medication. She suggest also that this year, she will inject drug
      on me. This time I will tell her that I do not aggree to this anymore.

      Instead, I will have to do it on a natural home remedy. Diet, exercise.

      Thank you so much for the very informative articles. Only this time I have a
      grasp of such information about osteoporosis that this is not a disease rather
      an imbalance in my body.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        You’re on the right track, Eunice! And you’re very welcome 🙂

    8. carleton H carlson

      You are the best!

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA

        I appreciate your kind words 🙂

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