Monday, December 20, 2010

2010.12.20 — Acid Wit Begone, to Wit, An Alkaline I'll Become

Now for something completely different in this blog. 

I've decided to take a private-ish issue into this blog. I suffer from a chronic ailment. It has a wide range of negative health effects, but it is a medical condition ignored almost completely, as far as I can tell, by the 'official' medical community. I suffer from chronic 'acidosis' of the body. Severe acidosis — which I don't have — can be deadly. Naturopathic and other 'natural' health practitioners argue that mild chronic acidosis is associated with, or even the cause of, a whole range of ailments including cancer.

I do not have cancer — or if I do, I am unaware of it at this time. But I have known that there has been something since I was a young man, although I didn't make the association until recently. I have worn glasses since grade six but it wasn't until my late teens that I noticed that metal frames of my eye glasses corroded where they touched my skin. In the space of a few months, the thin protective coating on a new metal frame would have disappeared and I would be turning green where the metal was being dissolved into my body. Only once did an optometrist comment on my skin being acidic. But the observation was without context. It meant nothing to me from an overall health perspective. Instead it became one of those things that had to be dealt with when buying eye glasses.
To avoid the problem I bought plastic frames.

As of a few days ago, I now know that what I experienced with metal frames was just one of several other bodily symptoms of my body's pH level.

For a typical listing of possible symptoms of acidosis, click

One of my adult-life characteristics — which I think now was a symptom of acidosis, has been tiredness. For about twenty years I have experienced chronic tiredness, and that I have ascribed to having been given, via rhinoplasty to correct a deviated septum, a fungal/yeast infection in my sinuses. But I didn't know that for the better part of ten years following the surgery because the official doctoring wrote my symptoms off as allergies, despite my repeated arguments that the sniveling, post nasal drip, vile smelling stuff stuffing my nose and filling boxes worth of tissue paper did not seem to follow an allergy pattern. During the worst of this time I often was so tired that it felt like my arms were going to fall off. Keeping my eyes open was extremely difficult in the evening, and pissed off my wife when I fell asleep while she was talking.

Picture from Wikepedia
Also, about twenty years ago, I had the joy of discovering that gout is alive and well in the world — because it was alive in well in me. After I understood what I was experiencing I ascribed it to eating too much beef. I am not a big fan of beef, never have been. But my wife, who until relatively recently did all the cooking, is and so I ate what she put in front of me. At least until the gout developed. Subsequently we were much more careful about my beef intake, including making separate proteins for our suppers.

Now here is where things get acerbically interesting.

Gout: the needle shape
of crystalline uric acid
Gout is an inflammation of the joints as a result of crystalline uric acid being deposited in them, often in the feet or lower limbs. These deposits happen because of an excess build-up of uric acid (hyperuricemea) in the blood. The reasons for that are unknown, but the shape of the crystals is well known: they are needle shaped!

So, for twenty plus years, I've kept this under control, most of the time, through diet. Once or twice a year it would flare up a bit, but the magic of pills and a change in diet normally did the trick to clear it up in a day or two. Every once and I while I would discover some new purine rich food, such as when I ate home made caesar salad! It so happens that anchovies are extremely purine rich, and purine rich foods are those mostly associated with gout. That attack was slow to heal. 

Curiously, even with too much uric acid in the blood, the official doctor did not talk about a diet to reduce my overall level of body acidity. Instead the discussion was about what pills to take when I get an attack, avoid eating those foods you know are problematic. He said that if I have chronic attacks then a 'permanent' diet of pills could be prescribed to suppress the formation of uric acid. And over time I began to be aware that before I felt it my right foot I would feel precursors to it between the bones in my left hand and increase fluid intake, reduce proteins, etc. That was that.

So with being mostly careful in what I ate and coping with the odd attack, life carried on.

Oh! It is interesting to note that one of the symptoms of gout is tiredness.

Back to my sinuses.
My wife saw a health news clip on the topic of chronic allergy symptoms being a misdiagnosed fungal/yeast infection. She immediately recognized that I was suffering from that kind of infection, and not an allergy. And that made sense to me, too! 

I spent some time trying various home remedies, but to little effect. I had left it so long that the infection was not going to respond to my little bit of good intentioned tinkering, if it ever would have.

With the help of a little fushigi*, I found myself being needled by an acupuncturist and one-time MD. He recognized immediately that my symptoms were most likely associated with a fungal infection. He asked to see my tongue, and felt my wrist pulse. He said he could help me, but did not guarantee he could eliminate it. 'I will boost your body's immune system to fight it. And that, with a change of diet will bring the infection under control.' He commented about acidic foods, but did not talk about measuring my body's overall acidity, nor that the body's pH is best to be slightly alkaline. He prescribed some herbal medicines, in caplet form as well.

I agreed to eliminate wheat, beer, coffee and alcohol from my diet. 

An example of a short needle
And so he laid me out to be pricked. For most of the needles  I didn't feel a thing — the two just below the outside of my nostrils were a little prickly, like having a beard hair pulled out. As he is putting the needles in me, he is talking about health — I've forgotten exactly what because I began to laugh uncontrollably. I felt utterly euphoric. After the needles were set the way he wanted them, he turned off the lights and left the room. My laughter subsided to chuckling. At the end of the hour, I got up and felt better than I'd felt in ten or more years. As I'm paying the receptionist, I comment about my starting to laugh. "Oh yes!" she said."That is very common. Most people either laugh or cry on their first visit."

I ingested the herbal caplets and received acupuncture for about two months. Wow! I cannot describe to you how wonderful I felt! I also followed the diet for about three years, quite religiously. However, as the pressures of living with another person began to wear down my resolve, now that I was feeling great, I slowly fell off what now I know as an alkaline enhancing diet, and returned to my old diet. We eat very healthily, overall! Very little processed foods, almost no 'junk' food, and as much as possible the food we it is fresh. In general we eat good quality fats — olive oil and the like, along with butter for baking and spreading on bread. We do eat red and white meats, but low fat and not huge amounts. About the only 'junk' food we eat with any regularity is sugar in home baking. And I began to enjoy a beer with dinner several times a week.

Slowly the fungal infection began to reassert itself. Nowhere near like what it was when I didn't know what was happening. I eased up on the bread, a little, and the beer, but did not eliminate them from my diet with the diligence I had done before.

Fast forward four years. Sinuses are getting bad again, still not horrible.

In the beginning of 2010 I develop an itchiness in my ear canals. I associate that with an allergic reaction to my having recently purchased Bose ear buds and listening to my iPod at work whenever I could. At first I don't pay attention to it at all, thinking it will go away. It doesn't. One morning I wake up with the one ear canal partially sealed by swelling and by a peculiar moisture in the ear. I stop using the buds, and visit my doctor. He takes a quick look, doesn't see anything wrong, and prescribes a cortisone-based fluid to drop in my ears. That helps for the swelling, which subsides, but the itching continues to grow more and more annoying. By that I mean the skin in my ear canals are now pealing and scabbing, so now they are painful to touch and itchy!

I begin to attend carefully the symptoms and how they are changing. It seems to me that I have developed some kind of fungal infection there too!

In the summer of 2010 I return to the acupuncturist and he gives me the treatment, and I feel a lot better. The inflammation of the sinuses subsides a bit, and my energy improves a lot. However, the fungal infection(s?) do not significantly improve.

Fall 2010. Now my ears are going crazy! I buy anti-fungal cream from the pharmacy. This seems to help a little. In December I get a gout attack, which along with the fungal business and a new manager at work who has been talking about body toxicity and pH levels, triggers something in my head: all these symptoms are supported by an acidic body, which has not only eaten away the metal in eye glasses, but is now in the process of dissolving the pearl earrings I wear in my left ear.

That brings us to why I began this fungal fun fest! After I made the associations, I did a bit of Goolge research, and decided that it was time to actively change the pH of my body.

So, my history is to set so that I can chart in this blog the denouement of my bodily pH balancing experiment. Because I have already two measure of my acidic pH — melting earrings and dissolving metal — I began to follow the dietary suggestions from the various web sites I'd visited four days ago.

Chemical structure of 7-hydroxyphenoxazone,
the chromophore of litmus components
In reading the alkaline-producing versus acid-producing foods, there are some surprising things! Such as lemon being extremely alkaline producing when ingested.But what was a kind of confirmation of my speculation was that beer and beef are two of the most acidic forming foods. See for an example.

On Saturday I purchased some alkaline enhancing drops and soluble mixes, and some litmus paper test strips.

And there was no surprise: my strip, which did not go lower than 6 — see chart above — was fully a six. According to most web sites, the pH level of the human body needs to float just above 7. Per, the 'ideal' pH is 7.365.

So, every week I will proceed regaling you with the compelling melodrama of my pH rebalancing experiment. I have fully stopped all beer and alcohol, coffee and beef. I have stopped eating peanut butter — a favourite food of mine, and same with bananas. I have been drinking about half again as much water as I used to, and am drinking green tea at least three times a day. I supplement my tea and water with "Body Rescue:pH Protector Drops"; in my tea and lemon water that I've started drinking too, I add "Greens+" 'superfood.

We'll see. Although, subjectively, I have already felt a boost in energy, and, even a certain clarity of mind. I think that this will be interesting, as I try this and that, and measure how my pH changes and how I subjectively feel in the process. And! There is the non-subjective measure — removal from my system of all fungal infections.


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