Thursday, 1 January 2009

TCM and alkalinity

Two people have talked to me about alkalinity and the way we eat affecting our health, energy levels and outlook. This is one perspective from Danny, is a naturopathic viewpoint and are guidelines only.

Traditional Chinese Medicine(TCM) does not look at disease the same way, Cancer doesn't exist. It's simply a name given to a set of symptoms and ignores the organic factors which underly it, an imbalance between yin and yang. In TCM we look at disease from patterns of hot and cold, deficiency and excess, wind and damp and use herbs accordingly. They are tailor made to the individual taking into account their uniqueness.

If you take an imaginary microscope down to cellular level where a group of cells make up a tissue and a group of tissues make up an organ, everything in the end comes down to the cell, what goes on inside and what goes on outside.

Since each of us has constitutional strengths and weaknesses, one organ system of the body the cells may be weaker than elsewhere and this is where we can have a problem. The other factor influencing cells is how we live and what we do and don't put into our bodies. How we think is also a major factor.

At a reductionist biochemical level, our cells operate at optimum when they are in an alkaline environment. Our blood, which caries nourishment to the cells, maintains a rigid pH balance of around 7.4 (very alkaline). Now when the diet is poor, when there is exposure to drugs or chemicals over the long term and when the thought pattern is negative this increases the acidity of the blood. If the pH of the blood dips below 7.4 this would result in death. The blood has no choice but to dump the acidity into the tissues and thus into an organ system.

What is acidity? When food is broken down into components at a mineral level we have alkaline minerals such as magnesium and calcium and acid minerals such as phosphorus and sulphur. The alkaline and acid minerals are like a set of scales that need balanced. Bear in mind also that human beings are acid by function as well. A good example of this is the build up of lactic acid during exercise.

If the body becomes over-acidified, it dumps the acid minerals into the organ system. The cell membrane is semi-permeable which means it allows nutrients into the cell for energy and allows waste products out of the cell to be excreted by the system. Inside the cell we have intercellular fluid and ouside the cell we have extracellular fluid. If the acidity is building up it will affect the pH of the extracellular fluid. The cell wall will then thicken as a reaction to this. Over time what happens is nutrients do not enter the cell and waste does not exit. The cell then becomes toxic and potentially malignant.

From research it has been shown that cancer cells cannot metastatise if the environment at an extracellular level is alkaline, therefore alkalinity is the key. We know from nutrition that certain foodstuffs are either alkaline or acid when broken down. We do need some acid minerals in our body, we just need to maintain the correct levels.

Fruit and vegetables are almost exclusively alkaline in nature therefore 80% of diet should come from these sources - fresh, local and preferably organic and prepared with a minimum of processing. Cooking depletes alkaline minerals such as magnesium. Light steaming of vegetables is best. Juicing vegetables is an excellent method for increasing alkalinity. All meat and dairy products are acid-forming, but goat derivatives are better than cow.

Fish and white meats are better than the others and it's best to prepare them in very small pieces and in conjunction with vegetables. Flesh foods have other problems such as uric acid, cholesterol, heavy metals, saturated fats etc but at this juncture suffice to say limit their intake.

Protein is widely available in much more assimilable forms throughout the vegetable kingdom - beans, lentils, leafy greens, nuts and especially seeds like pumpkin which contains all 8 essential amino acids.

Other acidic forming foods include alcohol, caffeine, recreational and over the counter drugs. 80/20 alkaline/acid foods is about right. In my case it would be an idea to tip further into the alkalinity and flood your tissues.

Use sprouted seeds and nuts. As an example a handful of sprouted brocolli seeds has the nutritional equivalent of 6 heads of Calabrese Broccoli! Finally water - 2.5 litres filtered (reverse osmosis or distilled water is best) is essential for ALL bodily functions at optimum levels.

Supplementation: Short term use of supplements derived from natural products is useful but it needs to be individualised. In your case hepato-function would be primary (actually it is in all cases but especially so for you). Milk thistle is a good herb but will work far better in conjunction with other herbs (Taraxacum officinalis radix - Dandelion root (not leaf) and Cyanara (Artichoke leaf). The three herbs are hepato-protective and will also encourage regeneration at cellular levels. It is vital that proper supplies of protein are used as the amino acids are important in cellular construction. Arginine, carnatine, glutamine etc are all important so use quality protein sources such as soya bean and pumpkin seed even if you are eating meat too. For general health a multi mineral/vitamin complex would be useful especially if you plan to undergo chemotherapy.

Chemo carries its own risks - along with killing off cancer cells it can also wipe out the immune system. hence the use of the multi and high dose vitamin C - 3 grams plus. I'd also suggest probiotics to re-establish the bacterial balance in the bowel. There is only one herb to deal with the nausea of chemo and that unfortunately is illegal - herbal cannabis (not hash nor skunk) is of great benefit.

Alan Baker from Atlanta contacted me to see if i was interested in some info on Alkalizing Diets. He has been doing this for a while and it has really been beneficial to me. This is a good site for info on it..
He use a lot of the recipes from their cook books and uses one of the alkaline water filters. He does A LOT of juicing which is one of the best thinks I have ever done to better my health. Usually I juice every morning and try to only have juice up to lunch, this keeps my internal energy levels high and free to cleanse of heal the body (the body's natural cleansing cycle is from 4 am to 12 the next day). A good book on this is....,. He also does a cleanse/Fast 4 times a year to get toxins out of the body.

Two different sources pointing the same direction.

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