Are There Gangsters in Your Gut?

I’ve decided to continue talking a bit about my favorite topics. Last week Pandora brought you H.O.P.E. (High fiber, Omega oils, Probiotics and digestive Enzymes). This week it occurs to me that you might like to hear a bit about pH. (It’s a bit of a fishy story.)

You may be thinking, “You’ve got the wrong person here, I don’t care about pH!” Hang on a minute and let’s just take a quick look – I promise I’ll be quick – and you’ll find out that you do! pH describes whether a fluid is acidic or basic (can be water, blood, anything at all viscous). Acid and base are at opposite ends of a spectrum, like hot and cold, or black and white, or soft and hard.

Pure water has a pH of 7 and is neutral, in the middle. Lemonade is acidic, with a pH of about 3, and then glass cleaner, one with ammonia, is basic with a pH of 11. “Extreme” pH is usually toxic (and can have that skull and crossbones picture on the label). And then again, a “toxic extreme” depends on what liquid you’re measuring, and where that liquid happens to be. Now for the fish.

Most of us have had, or have been around, an aquarium. Aquariums often start off beautifully, however, without proper maintenance, green stuff can grow on the glass, the grasses become brownish, the tank starts to smell funky and the fish begin to tilt. Much of that happens because the pH of the water becomes too acidic or too alkaline. Fish die. And weird stuff continues to grow – stuff we don’t want around! We get frustrated. The aquarium ends up at a garage sale. Sad fish tale.

Another example, the pH of blood must remain within a very narrow pH range. Much below 6.8 or above 7.8, the cells stop functioning and the patient dies. More serious stuff.

I’m sure you’re wondering where I, the Detox Diva, could be going with this. Well, pH is incredibly important in your gut too, and in this case I’m thinking about your stool (oh my, you can’t leave now!). The range there is a little bit more forgiving, however. “Normal” is considered between 6 – 7.8. Outside of that, you’re having difficulties – too acid and you’re back and forth to the bathroom; too alkaline and you may not go for days! Two ends of a spectrum again.

What I find really interesting is this – guess what keeps that stool pH balanced? Here’s a definitive quote from a Comprehensive Stool Analysis: “Fecal pH is largely dependent on the fermentation of fiber by the beneficial flora of the gut."

Got it yet? P = probiotics (beneficial flora) and H = High fiber! Probiotics work hand in hand with fiber to maintain the “p-H” – not too acid, not too alkaline – just right! In fact, the soluble portion of fiber is many times called a prebiotic because they’re such great friends. Together they help to create a “beneficial aquarium environment” maintaining a pH in the gut that supports good bacteria and helpful microbes (which we want). Bad gangsters like Candida yeasts and nasty bacteria (which we don’t want in our neighborhood) grow best in a different pH – too bad for them when probiotics and High fiber are in control!

So pH (probiotics and High fiber) can help you overcome constipation, diarrhea, and so many other issues too! What you’ll notice are successful bathroom experiences - click here for my definition of success. Believe me, I’m speaking from experience – mine and multitudes of other people’s too! Personally, I wouldn’t forget about the rest of H.O.P.E. either – Omega oils and Enzymes – which actually complete your easy recipe for great digestive health always.

Yours in Great Health,

Healthy Recipes

Brenda Watson, C.N.C.