Pour l’été : avec l’hydratation, pensez à votre équilibre acido-basique

Few people are aware that hydration is not only the first factor in good brain and cardiovascular health, but also the first condition for extending life.

Water loss (dehydration), equivalent to 2% of body weight, profoundly disrupts the functioning of the organism. Undesirable effects (including mood disorders) on the body can be seen as early as 0.5 to 0.7% of body water content[2].

Stay hydrated and live longer

According to the NIH (National Institutes of Health), good hydration is linked to healthy aging. According to a study published in 2023[3], adults who stay well hydrated develop fewer chronic diseases, such as heart and lung disease, and live longer than those who don't get enough fluids.

This study (based on health data from 11,255 adults over a 30-year period) also showed that adults with higher levels of sodium (and therefore lower levels of water) die younger[4].

Good hydration is a source of good acid-base balance

For many years now, researchers have been working on a possible explanation for the rise of certain "modern" diet-related diseases: the acid-base balance[5].

The menu of our prehistoric ancestors (known as the Paleolithic menu), with its emphasis on plants, provided them with many alkalizing (or basifying) elements, such as le calcium, le magnesium et potassium.

Cro-Magnon ate two or three times as much potassium than we are, and we're still programmed for this moderately alkaline diet. Unfortunately, over the last 10,000 years (and even more so over the last one or two centuries), the body has been in a state of metabolic acidosis, due to overconsumption of cereals, meats, cheeses and salt (sodium chloride), as well as a reduction in good-quality vegetables and fruit.

This diet has one major drawback: it is acidifying and upsets the major metabolic balances.

What is acid-base balance and pH?

To function properly, the body must be in a pH balance zone that is neither too low nor too high - i.e. neither too acidic nor too basic (or alkaline).

The pH (Hydrogen Potential) measures the activity of thehydrogen ion in a solution. This chemical unit measures the acidity or alkalinity of an aqueous solution. The pH scale is graduated from 0 to 14. The more acidic the solution, the lower the pH value (<7). Conversely, the less acidic the solution - said to be alkaline or basic - the higher the pH (>7).

On the whole, the body prefers to be too basic rather than too acidic. Blood is normally slightly basic, with a pH between 7.35 and 7.45.

How to measure body acidity[6] ?

Dr Thomas Remer[7] has developed an index for assessing acidity resulting from diet: the PRAL index (for Potential Renal Acid Load), also known as potential renal acid load. Measured in milliequivalents (mEq), this index assesses the acidity of urine - and therefore of the body - based on the quantity of acidic and basic minerals provided by the diet.

Minerals can be classified into 2 categories according to their effect on the body's pH :

  • Acidifying" minerals chlorine, sulfur and phosphorus.
  • The "basifying" minerals magnesium, calcium, sodium and potassium.

Bicarbonate salts and citrate salts are alkalinizing.

It's important to combat the preconceived notion that what tastes acidic is acidifying for the body.

The body's acidic character is a reflection of its diet, but it cannot be detected by taste, since acidic tasting foods are often alkalinizing, while neutral tasting foods can be highly acidifying.

Lemon is an alkalizing agent (it provides minerals and helps maintain an ideal pH). It stimulates and facilitates fat breakdown and evacuation, fights gastric acidity and reduces uric acid. If you're worried about your teeth (because it's locally acidic), consume lemon juice through a straw.

The same applies to cider vinegar[8],[9] which I recommend you take diluted in a glass of water before a meal to alkalinize your body and help regulate blood sugar levels[10].


Acid-base balance depends largely on diet

Acidic foods Acidic foods: cereals, proteins (especially animal proteins such as meat, deli meats, cheese, fish and shellfish), salt, sugar and processed foods.

Basic foods Basic foods: fruits and vegetables, green leafy vegetables, fruiting vegetables (such as tomatoes), roots and tubers provide alkaline potassium salts.

The body's acidity also increases with :

- consumption of methanol, an alcohol found in certain beverages (bourbon, whisky, cognac, red wine), to be consumed in moderation!

- aspirin in excess;

- diabetes and chronic kidney disease;

- with age, as the kidneys gradually lose their ability to eliminate acids.

What are the health consequences of a poor acid/base balance?

Researchers suspect that chronic acidosis promotes muscle wasting, kidney disorders and high blood pressure. But above all, it is a very serious lead to explain, at least in part,osteoporosis[11].

If the diet is too acidifying, this is not too much of a problem in the first years of life. But with age, the body tends to draw alkalizing substances from the bones to neutralize this acid load. Bones contain citrates and bicarbonates, which are known for their buffering effect, i.e. they reduce the body's acidity. By drawing on these basifying elements, the body "pumps" calcium from the bones. The result: reduced bone density, brittle bones and osteoporosis.

However, this hypothesis is currently being challenged[12] and should not lead to a reduction in animal protein intake, which is important in the elderly.

How to combat acidosis?

Limit salt (bread, cheese, cold meats, etc.), a source of chloride that acidifies the body;

Limit your intake of animal proteins (meat, eggs, cheese, etc.) to no less than 15/20 grams of protein per meal[13] and, as you age, try to partially replace them with vegetable proteins[14].

Increase your intake of fresh or dried vegetables, rich in potassium and magnesium (which are alkalinizing).


Please understand that sodium bicarbonate poses no risk to blood pressure. It's when sodium is combined with chloride (salt) that the risk increases.

If you think your soil is too acidic, you can (in addition to modifying your diet) take two Basic Vitall tablets a day[15] at mealtimes[16].

Sodium and salt... not to be confused!

Salt, whether in the salt shaker or in pre-prepared foods, is sodium chloride, a molecule composed of 40% sodium and 60% chloride. It is the latter that is highly acidifying for the body.

Sodium bicarbonate provides not only sodium, but also bicarbonate ions, with alkalizing properties that counterbalance the acidifying effect of certain foods.

A well-balanced electrolyte hydration solution must act effectively on the two main balances: hydroelectrolytic balance and acid-base balance, and most often requires the addition of antioxidants.

A constant supply of natural antioxidants to improve electrolyte balance

Turn to organically grown " antioxidant superfruits ":

  • cerise griotte,
  • blueberry
  • and cranberry, naturally rich in polyphenols[19].

Natural beverages should not be confused with the over-sweetened syrups found, unfortunately, in many commercial hydrating sports drinks. These superfruits are antioxidants, have prebiotic effects and are rich in SOD (superoxide dismutase), an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant.

What foods to limit in hot weather[20],[21] ?

Red meat Avoid fats, which require extra effort on the part of the body to digest them.

Coffee Morning coffee is still acceptable, but in hot weather, it's best to moderate your caffeine intake throughout the day. Excess coffee (like strong teas) has a diuretic effect, removing water from the body and dehydrating it, especially when it speeds up intestinal transit.

Alcohol: Alcohol can be dangerous in hot weather, drying out the body at a time when it needs water to keep its temperature down. Red wine and strong spirits should therefore be limited. Beers or refreshing drinks such as "Hard Seltzer"[22] are less aggressive.

Sodas: They are too high in sugar and have a deceptive effect. They quench thirst, but in reality they don't hydrate the body properly. What's more, the presence of gas can lead to stomach cramps.

Dishes too cold Crunching on ice cubes during a heatwave is not a good idea. At the time, you feel a sensation of great freshness, but it's short-lived. Your body will need a lot of energy to raise its temperature. A flush of heat will follow this cool moment.

Spicy foods: Strong spices like chilli, pepper or curry increase the sensation of body heat, stimulate perspiration and can make the body more sensitive to heat.

Foods rich in salt, which can contribute to dehydration, as it promotes water retention in the body. As a result, excessive salt consumption can increase the sensation of thirst and lead to more rapid dehydration.

By avoiding these foods, you can help your body better regulate its temperature and stay hydrated during heatwaves. Don't forget to drink enough water and eat a light, well-balanced diet to promote your well-being on hot days, and even more so in the evening to improve your sleep.

Si vous souhaitez des conseils, n'hésitez pas à contacter le laboratoire Perfect Health Solutions par téléphone au +33 (0) 1 76 38 20 18 ou en cliquant ici. Découvrez également notre site internet ici

Sources d'information

[1] https://servicealimentairess.com/tendances/les-besoins-en-proteines/

[2] Cousins AL, Young HA, Thomas AG, Benton D. The Effect of Hypo-Hydration on Mood and Cognition Is Influenced by Electrolyte in a Drink and Its Colour: A Randomised Trial. Nutrients. 2019 Aug 24;11(9):2002

[3] https://www.lesechos.fr/weekend/perso/des-bienfaits-de-lhydratation-1901041

[4] Dmitrieva NI, Gagarin A, Liu D, Wu CO, Boehm M. Middle-age high normal serum sodium as a risk factor for accelerated biological aging, chronic diseases, and premature mortality. EBioMedicine. 2023 Jan;87:104404.

[5] https://www.nicolas-aubineau.com/equilibre-acido-basique-sport

[6] See also note 9

[7] The PRAL index was developed by Dr. Thomas Remer, a specialist in acid-base balance at the Research Institute for Child Nutrition in Dortmund, Germany. This index, expressed in milliequivalents (mEq), evaluates the acid (or alkaline) load generated in the body by 100 g of food.

[8] https://lettre-docteur-rueff.fr/connaissez-vous-la-medecine-populaire-du-vermont/

[9] https://actinutrition.fr/nutrition/le-vinaigre-de-cidre-pratique-pour-alcalinisation/

[10] Blood sugar levels

[11] This is what I develop in detail (pages 113 to 122) in my latest book: "Mieux que guérir" (Better than curing), still available from Editions Josette Lyon (1913).

[12] https://homnes.com/equilibre-acido-basique-un-trompe-loeil-pour-la-sante-de-notre-squelette/

[13] https://servicealimentairess.com/tendances/les-besoins-en-proteines/

[14] https://www.inrae.fr/actualites/plus-proteines-vegetales-lassiette-seniors

[15] https://www.nutrition-conseil.com/produit/basic-vital-60-comprimes/

[16] Many food supplement laboratories have similar formulas.

[17] https://www.kousmine.fr/dr-kousmine/

[18] 1 to 3 level teaspoons a day, diluted in water or added to food, depending on the pH of the urine measured by urine dipstick (available in all pharmacies) two or three times a day (in the morning, after lunch, at bedtime), without any physical exertion. The pH should ideally be between 5 and 7.5, averaged over the three measurements. After a few days, one measurement a day will suffice.

[19] In the case of the "natural" electrolyte drink that Vitall+ will soon be marketing

[20] I'm fascinated to see tourists enjoying their pizzas or precious burgers, with wine, beer or soft drinks, on hot terraces.

[21] https://www.sudouest.fr/economie/conso-distribution/qu-est-ce-que-les-hard-seltzer-les-eaux-alcoolisees-americaines-qui-cherchent-a-conquerir-les-francais

[22] https://servicealimentairess.com/tendances/les-besoins-en-proteines/



Dr Schmitz 7 August, 2023
Végétariens et végétaliens : comment prévenir les carences ?